Oregano essential oil demonstrates antimicrobial action when included in the diets of various poultry species and has been found to be particularly effective in supporting birds during disease challenges, such as coccidiosis.
Global economic losses due to coccidiosis, a protozoal parasitic disease which results in extensive damage to the lining of the birds’ gastrointestinal tract, is estimated to be around US$3 billion per year in broilers alone. Sub-clinical coccidiosis can result in depressed productivity, thereby hampering growth rates and resulting in inefficient performance. Clinical signs include elevated mortality and lower meat or egg production.
Findings from trials conducted by Greg Mathis’ team at Southern Poultry Research in the US show that oregano essential oil can complement anticoccidial vaccination programmes by helping to reduce the severity of negative implications associated with vaccination on bird performance, whilst still enabling birds to build immunity against the disease. The trials used Orego-Stim, Anpario’s 100% natural feed technology based on a single unique variety of oregano plant, suitable for both organic and non-organic systems.
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“Vaccination programmes are commonly used to help prevent coccidiosis outbreak in poultry enterprises. And, as a live vaccine its administration can be associated with a short period of depressed performance,” explained Dr Helen Houghton MRCVS, a veterinarian and Anpario director. “Oregano essential oil has been found to help reduce the negative implications of vaccination on productivity,” she added.
In vaccinated birds challenged with coccidia the addition of dietary oregano essential oil was found, in the trials, to improve overall body weight gain, feed conversion ratio and reduce lesions within the gastrointestinal tract compared with birds receiving the anticoccidial vaccine alone.
The presence of numerous compounds within natural oregano essential oil offer benefits to poultry including anti-parasitic and antioxidant functions, as well as having positive immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties