PECKStone - Behind the scenes
27. May 2024

Behind-the-scenes: VILOFOSS® PECKStone

Vilofoss® PECKStone is a unique poultry welfare product that has been available in the market for over a decade, aiding farmers worldwide in enhancing the well-being of their birds. By addressing their natural curiosity and instincts, Vilofoss® PECKStone alleviates boredom, stress, and harmful behaviours, promoting a calm and contented flock. In this article, we invite you to explore our product development process and behind-the-scenes insights to comprehend the scientific foundation of Vilofoss® enrichment materials, emphasizing the importance of quality in poultry welfare.


Product development process of Peckstones

In the following infographic, you can observe the process across various phases, beginning with setting goals, selecting different raw materials, and advancing to on-farm evaluation in trial farms prior to launching the new PECKStones to the market.


Product Development Process PECKstones


Defining the goals and features

Defining the goals and features of the final product involves identifying the desired outcomes and attributes that the Vilofoss® PECKStones should possess based on the needs of customers and the requirements of different poultry species and production systems.

Two examples of goals and features for a new PECKStones would include:

  • Enhanced Animal Welfare: Ensuring that the PeckStones contribute to improving the well-being and behavior of poultry birds by providing a stimulating and fulfilling environment. the selected material must be manipulable (changeable), consumable and peckable. Environmental enrichment must be constantly on offer and renewal if needed.
  • Durability: Developing PECKStones that are durable enough to withstand the natural behaviors and activities of poultry birds, considering factors such as beak strength (If the bird has been beak treated or has an intact beak), keeping time and housing systems. One of the main challenges is designing PECKStones with varying levels of hardness grades to suit different production methods and types of animals.


Defining clear goals and features helps guide the design, development, and evaluation process of Vilofoss® PECKStones to ensure they meet the expectations and requirements of customers and effectively enhance poultry welfare.


Raw material selection

After defining the goals, we proceed to choose high-quality raw materials based on the defined goals in Phase One. The raw material selection involves identifying and choosing high-quality ingredients that meet the specific requirements and goals defined for the product. This process typically includes considerations for factors like quality, safety, suitability for use, regulatory compliance, and adherence to standards, among others.


The raw materials used need to be of feed quality and premium quality and approved for organic farming. In our laboratory, we have more than 30 different raw materials with varying particle sizes and features. 

Variation in limestone particle sizes

Fig.1 Example of different limestones with varying particle sizes and solubility

Creating prototypes using selected raw materials in lab


All these raw materials need to guarantee complete quality control "from farm to fork,". Our certified quality management ensures the highest possible levels of product quality and safety. To guarantee safety, we perform an analysis of each raw material regarding fluorine hazard, heavy metals, dioxins, dl- and ndl-PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), and monitor salmonella contamination.


Salmonella monitoring and sampling protocol

Fig. 2: Salmonella monitoring and sampling protocol


Creating prototypes

Formulating the test PECKStonesFormulating the test PECKStones involves creating prototypes using selected raw materials and formulations. These prototypes are designed to simulate the final product on a smaller scale, allowing for testing and evaluation of their properties, performance, and suitability for the intended application. The formulation process may include adjusting ingre¬dient ratios, testing different materials, and optimizing manufacturing techniques to achieve the desired characteristics of the PECKStones. The varying hardness grades result from chemical reactions between the raw materials.


On-farm evaluation in trial farms

On-farm evaluation in trial farms involves testing and assessing the performance, effectiveness, and suitability of products or interventions directly within the operational environment of commercial farms. This process allows for the observation of real-world conditions and the collection of practical insights and data regarding the product's impact, efficacy, and compatibility with existing farming practices.






Manual monitoring of consumption on trial farms

Fig. 3: Manual monitoring of consumption on trial farms


Final approval

The final selection of the right formulation for production occurs after thorough evaluation and assessment of all trial results. This involves carefully analysing the performance, durability, and suitability of each formulation based on on-farm trials and observations. The formulation that demonstrates the best results and meets the desired criteria is ultimately chosen for production and introduction to the market.


Vilofoss PECKStonesVilofoss PECKStonesVilofoss PECKStones

The final products are packed safely and offered in certified and recyclable food-safe plastic bowls and transported all over the world. Vilofoss® PECKStones is the first choice for breeding companies worldwide due to its high standards, safety and quality. The farmer has the opportunity to individually choose the suitable PECKStone from various hardness grades for their farm.

PECKStones certified and recyclable food-safe plastic bowls


Deutsche Vilomix Tierernährung GmbH - Bahnhofstr. 30 - 49434 Neuenkirchen-Vörden

Faras Ansari

Author, Vilofoss Poultry Team: 
Dr. Faraz Ansari –

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Faras Ansari
Dr. Faraz Ansari
Poultry Nutritionist