Overuse of antibiotics becoming a problem
Essential oils may be a way to reduce the amount of antibiotics given to chicken. Antibotics have been shown to boost growth and gut health when given with feed. But fear of antibiotic-resistant pathogens has everyone looking to reduce their use. This is where essential oils come in. They have been shown to also improve growth and gut health.
Global animal nutrition business, Cargill, performed studies on a variety of different feed additives, including essential oils, probiotics, yeast derivatives and medium chain fatty acids (MCFA).
A combined total of 77 comprehensive in vitro and in vivo trials have been conducted since 2009, at facilities in the Netherlands, Jordan, France, Poland, India and the US.
For consistent performance improvement, essential oils turned out to be a major solution.
Thyme, cinnamon, and oregano
Thyme, cinnamon, and oregano seem to be the essential oils that have the most postitive effect on gut health, including increased antimicrobial activity and improved enzyme production.
Essential oil compounds derived from thyme, cinnamon and oregano had the most comprehensive effect on overall gut health.
In particular, the studies showed that poultry fed these essential oils benefited from improved antimicrobial activity in the gut.
The essential oils also stimulated enzyme production, which helps birds to digest feed and improves body weight gain.