The advantageous effect that the addition of natural oregano essential oil offers to lactating sows and the beneficial outcomes when included in piglet creep diets pre- and post-weaning is shown in new research. The paper was presented by Dr Melanie Le Bon, of Nottingham Trent University, at the 75th annual British Society of Animal Science conference.
Oregano essential oil is well documented to offer support to animal health and performance as a result of the active compounds within it. Carvacrol and thymol are two such compounds and these have been shown to demonstrate both antimicrobial and anti-oxidant functions in the animal.
Paper co-author Heidi Hall, also Anpario’s Swine Global Technical manager, said, “There is increasing pressure on the pig industry to reduce antimicrobial usage whilst maximising animal health and performance. Therefore, identifying sustainable alternatives is of growing interest”.
The study presented by Dr Le Bon, Senior Lecturer in the school of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences at Nottingham Trent University, was undertaken on a commercial pig unit in the UK and involved 62 multiparous sows. Performance parameters assessed throughout the study included sow feed intake and body condition score, alongside piglet weekly weight, mortality, medication usage and creep feed intake.
The research concluded that the inclusion of oregano essential oil helped maintain the body condition score of lactating sows, improved piglet weight gain throughout the first week of life, reduced piglet pre-weaning mortality and significantly lowered incidence of medication usage.
“In order to reduce the reliance upon antimicrobials at weaning, such as zinc oxide, pig farmers need to be able to produce more robust piglets. The weaning and nursery period is a critical time for developing and enhancing piglet health to ensure long term optimal performance” said Heidi Hall.