The effect of fenugreek cotyledons on farrowing sows’ performance

fotolia 113083062 s truie et ses petits2

Steroidal saponins, molecules contained in fenugreek cotyledons which enable to

Stimulate appetite

Nutritional management of sow from the gestation to the end of lactation is critical for achieving and maintaining optimal sow productivity, longevity and litter growth. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is an annual plant that belongs to the Fabaceae family which possess steroidal saponins. These secondary metabolites present in seeds are known for their therapeutic properties and their ability to stimulate appetite. Fenugreek seeds are therefore commonly used in feed to improve palatability and weight gain. Feeding gestating and lactating sows with fenugreek cotyledons, the saponin-rich part of the seed, could improve optimal sow productivity and consequently litter growth during these periods.

A key-factor for improving animal palatability:


Sotolon, is part of the lactones family, molecules which are omnipresent in the food aromas. Sotolon is a very powerful aromatic compound, efficient at a lower dose and a characteristic of fenugreek. This odorous molecule can be found in sake, sugar cane, coffee or even some types of wine! Its aromatic properties are especially expressed in the fenugreek seeds where the sotolon concentration is high and its efficacy is felt at a lower dose.

At the farmers’ level, sotolon generates a positive perception of the animal diet (essentially as far as chemical characteristics, smell and taste, are concerned). Eventually, the molecule does not leave any smell in the milk or in the meat and has the benefit of not being neither degraded nor absorbed by the digestive tract.

twig of fenugreek on white background
domestic pig eating from self feeder

Are fenugreek cotyledons useful to improve feed palatability?

Field trial

A trial was carried out in an experimental farm in France, involving 100 sows. The sows were divided in two groups:

· Control group; CTL (n=50): standard diet

· Test group; COTYL (n=50): control diet + 2000pm of fenugreek cotyledon extract (Norponin® Cotyl)

Each group were homogenized based on sow’s parity, weight and number of born piglets. The trial started at the arrival of sows in farrowing unit (9 days before farrowing) and during all lactation (21 days).

Results from this trial showed a higher feed intake in the COTYL group, and also a higher average daily weight gain per litter.

*More details about our trials are available on demand.

npcotyl produit

Our natural feed supplement to improve feed palatability

Norponin® Cotyl

Norponin® Cotyl is a natural extract made from fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) seed cotyledons, designed for use in mineral feeds, licking blocks and in the complete ration to enhance the feeding experience of animals.


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