Oregano essential oil has been found to be particularly effective in supporting birds during periods of disease challenge, such as coccidiosis.
The disease, universally present across all poultry production systems, results in global economic losses estimated to be around $3 billion per year in broilers alone.
It is a protozoal parasitic disease which results in extensive damage to the lining of the birds’ gastrointestinal tract and is caused by different species of Eimeria.
Sub-clinical coccidiosis can result in depressed productivity, leading to reduced growth rates and inefficient performance.
Clinical signs include elevated mortality and lower meat or egg production.
The findings from trials conducted by Greg Mathis’ team at Southern Poultry Research Inc, USA show that the oil can complement anticoccidial vaccination programs.
It can help 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.
Dr Helen Houghton MRCVS, a veterinarian and Anpario director, said: “Vaccination programs 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.
“Oregano essential oil has been found to help reduce the negative implications of vaccination on productivity.”
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 (FCR) and reduce lesions within the gastrointestinal tract compared with birds receiving anti-coccidial 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.