Colostrum in a Bottle

San Miguel Animal Health Care Corner

Saving Pigs with Colostrum in a Bottle


Eugene P. Mende DVM MSc

Veterinary Services Manager

San Miguel Foods Inc., Feeds and Animal Health Care Business


What do you do with your poor viable, disadvantaged, the starved, weak and undersized piglets at birth?


“You kill them?” In an average litter, 15% - 25% are born disadvantaged and weak and die before they are weaned. It is equivalent to killing 3 or 4 piglets in every litter at birth. You are therefore, also, killing your profit!

“You just let them hang in there helpless for survival?” You are definitely also keeping through them an oasis of infection waiting to explode and infect the other “normal-borne” pigs in the litter. Weak, starved, sick pigs are the sources of microbial infection. Keeping them in close proximity, slowly dying is making your other healthy pigs sleep with the enemy. Keeping them close is inviting an epidemic in your farrowing building.

“I give them supplements.”  Are they effective?

 You need to save every pig born alive if you want to ensure maximum profit. In this generation of modern technology breeding programs where premium is placed on litter size, it is inevitable to have a couple of piglets born underweight or weak. In our current intensive system of pig production where emerging and endemic diseases thrive in the breeding herd, piglets are born with weak immunity and are bound to be part of the pre-weaning mortality statistics before they even get to start eating your premium formula feeds.


We need to respond to the need. Poor viable piglets at birth are inevitable facts. We need to understand why they happen to be. Most importantly, we need to manage them when they happen to be.


It has been identified that failure to achieve a regular and adequate intake of colostrum is likely to be a direct underlying cause of the majority of piglet deaths. It has also been shown that with increased genetic markers for litter size, only 60%-80% of sows produce enough colostrum to support adequately a litter of 12-13 piglets. Furthermore, sick pigs (PRRS-positive) do not produce adequate amounts of colostrum and milk. Primiparous sows also produce 30% less colostrum.


COLOSTRUM is the single most important factor to a pig’s survival and long term health. It is the key for every pig to grow faster and have better response to disease challenge. Suckling piglets normally double their weight in just 10 days at birth if colostrum intake is maximized.


But what if they are born weak and poorly viable to suckle colostrum? What if they are born disadvantaged, underweight, splay-legged, starved and cold to even compete for milk teats for colostrum? What if the sows don’t have enough? What if sows died after farrowing?


First Pulse D- Colostrum in a Bottle ( 2 ml oral drench per pig at birth)


First Pulse D is a colostrum-based oral drench designed specifically for poor viable, disadvantaged, weak pigs, those weighing less than 6 kg at birth. An adequate amount of colostrum from First Pulse D must be ingested for weak piglets to survive and develop a robust and protective immune system. The colostrum in First Pulse D is most effective because the immune (lactoferrin, lysozyme, polyproline peptide and nucleotides) and growth factors (IGF 1, epidermal growth factors and others) it contains have been concentrated.


First Pulse D Provides a Boost for Poor Viable Pigs


Early intervention is the key to reducing variability. First Pulse D is a powerful tool that swine producers administer right after farrowing to help turn disadvantaged pigs into full-value pigs.  The colostrum-based oral drench has been proven to significantly improve gain, weaning weight and average daily gain of opportunity pigs.

At birth, the piglet’s gut is sterile but within minutes, it is colonized with bacteria from the sow and pen environment. It is crucial to establish a proper and beneficial gut microflora during the first days of life. First Pulse D has the Acti-Fibe™ technology, a blend of exclusive prebiotic fibers designed specifically for younger pigs. These patented blend of prebiotic fibers serve as excellent food source for good bacteria (Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus) making the gut microflora shift in a beneficial direction leading to improved health resulting in increased feed efficiency and weight gain. These beneficial and good bacteria help develop a balanced microflora which signal the maturation of the immune system. If piglets lack an optimal level of beneficial bacteria in the gut, they are more likely to suffer from health challenges and experience scours.


First Pulse D Increases Gain and Weaning Weight of Poor Viable Pigs


First Pulse D is a unique product that improves the survivability and performance of the lightest pigs in the litter. Capitalizing on the bottom 30% of pigs in the litter and giving them a boost with First Pulse D is a great way to wean more full-value pigs.

First Pulse D has been used around the world to naturally supplement the immune system, restoring appetite and provide an immediate energy source for opportunity piglets. The medium chain triglycerides in First Pulse D provide highly absorbable energy sources that will increase the activity levels of piglets especially suckling.


First Pulse D Provides Consistent Results that Improve Profitability


Research demonstrates birth weight has a major influence on survivability. First Pulse D causes more low birth weights to thrive which reduces pre-wean mortality. It has Oregano Essential Oil which is high in carvacrol and thymol, potent natural antimicrobial agents against E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Clostridia as well as fungi and protozoa (coccidia) making it effective against all agents of scouring . Oregano essential oils are also potent antioxidants that protect the villi allowing the baby’s pig gut to develop properly for optimal growth.


First Pulse D Helps Piglets Maintain A Healthy Immune System


First Pulse D can provide weak pigs with a comparable immune system to larger pigs in the litter. Haptoglobin is an acute phase protein and an indicator of a piglet’s ability to respond to a health challenge.  During a research trial, weak piglets that were administered First Pulse D maintained a typical level of haptoglobin and a mature immune system at 18 days while control opportunity pigs has low levels of the acute phase protein and an under-developed immune system.

During the first days of life, piglets obtain antibodies from sow’s colostrum. However, after 7 days, the amount of antibodies in the sow’s milk decreases and piglets without a healthy and stimulated immune system are unable to maintain a robust immune response.