How to Improve Sow and Litter Performance Using Orego-Stim

Research from the University of Minnesota showed that sows receiving a natural phytobiotic feed additive (Orego-Stim from Meriden Animal Health) had larger litters in total and born alive, and the sows had superior breeding scores to the controls. The results are published by Meriden as Technical Bulletin No. 14.
calendar icon 21 July 2009
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The reproductive efficiency of a sow depends on various intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The single factor which can most affect a sow's productivity that is within the control of a pig producer is a proven and established feeding strategy that meets both her short and long-term nutritional requirements.

Orego-Stim is the world renowned natural phytobiotic feed additive that is an appetite stimulant as well as a digestive enhancer. It has been proven to positively influence daily feed intake, daily weight gain and feed utilisation in growing pigs5, 6 and improve farrowing rates in sows4. Recently, it has also been shown to enhance growth and reproductive performance in sows1, 7, 8, 9.

The Study

The objective of the following trial was to evaluate the effect of Orego-Stim on sow and litter performance during a complete gestation-lactation cycle.

An experiment was carried out at the University of Minnesota in 2005, where a total of 150 sows of the breed English Belle were used during a 29-week experimental period2, 3. On alternating weeks, approximately 20 sows were placed on test and within 24 hours after service the sows were randomly allotted into two groups and giving the following diets during gestation:

  • Group 1: Control (corn-soybean meal diet)
  • Group 2: Orego-Stim (control plus essential oil-based phytobiotic at 250 ppm).

Sows were put on a restricted feeding programme and fed once a day according to their body weight.

Subsequently, within each gestation group, the sows were randomly allotted into a further two treatment groups that were monitored during lactation: control (corn-soybean meal diet) and Orego-Stim (control plus essential oil-based phytobiotic at 250 ppm).

Experimental treatments

Sows were fed ad libitum during lactation. The dietary treatments were added to the sows’ feeders twice a day, and each sow's feed consumption was measured and recorded daily on a feed intake card. Any feed removed at weaning was recorded, along with the number of piglets weaned and the weaning weight of each litter. Both litter weight gain and average weight at weaning were also calculated.

Trial Results

Effects of Orego-Stim on sow and litter performance
Parameter Control Orego-Stim Difference
Number of piglets born 10.7 b 11.8 a +1.1
Number of piglets born alive 9.9 b 11.0 a +1.1
Litter birth weight, kg 14.6 15.7 +1.1
Litter weaning weight, kg 57.3 60.0 +2.7
Litter weight gain, kg 42.0 45.3 +3.3
Breeding Value Sow Productivity (BVSP) 98.1 b 103.9 a +5.8
Sow Productivity Index (SPI) 96.5 b 114.1 a +17.6
Wean to First Service Interval (WSI), days 8.0 5.0 -3.0
Means followed by different letters in the same row differ significantly (P<0.05)

The total number of piglets born, and piglets born alive, were positively affected by the Orego- Stim treatment (P<0.05). The sows that were fed the Orego-Stim diet farrowed on average 1.1 more piglets per litter compared to those in the control group. There was a trend in the numbers of piglets born to increase as the sows grew older.

Litter birth weight and average birth weight showed a trend (P<0.1) between treatment groups. Litter birth weight was heavier when sows were supplemented with the diet containing Orego- Stim during gestation by 7.53 per cent compared to the control group.

Sows fed the diet containing Orego-Stim during both gestation and lactation showed improved piglet performance. Litter weight gain and litter weaning weight were 3.3 kg and 2.7 kg higher (P<0.1) respectively, for the sows fed Orego-Stim versus the control diet.

The Breeding Value Sow Productivity (BVSP) and Sow Productivity Index (SPI) parameters were also higher (P<0.01) for sows fed the Orego-Stim diet. The Wean-to-Service Interval (WSI) among sows fed Orego-Stim during lactation was reduced by three days.


Kovac and Bilkei (2003), and Mauch and Bilkei (2004) reported that dietary supplementation of certain essential oils of plants increased live born piglets per litter. In this study, sows fed Orego-Stim farrowed on average 1.1 more total pigs and pigs born alive than the control group sows. There was a tendency of increased numbers of piglets born with increasing parity. Litter birth weight was 7.53 per cent heavier when sows were supplemented with Orego-Stim during gestation.


The sows fed Orego-Stim during the gestation stage were better prepared for the lactation and post-weaning stages and as a consequence the litter birth weight and foetal development was improved.

July 2009

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