Supplementing broiler feeds with essential oils and organic acids have shown potential for managing broilers and supporting performance through a necrotic enteritis (NE) challenge window, according to Charles Hofacre, DVM, PhD, and president of Southern Poultry Research Group.
“Necrotic enteritis is commonly seen in broilers from 14 to 28 days and is caused by over-population of Clostridium perfringens, with coccidia infection acting as a predisposing factor”, he reported at the International Poultry Scientific Forum.
Hofacre noted that the most common form of NE is subclinical, which can lead to negative effects on growth rate and feed efficiency due to intestinal damage and impairment of nutrient absorption.
In the trial, 1,800 Ross x Ross chicks were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups — challenge control, essential oil (Orego-Stim) at 1,000 g/t, essential oil at 500 g/t and essential oil + an organic acid (pHorce) at 300 g/t + 500 g/t).
On day 0, all groups received a live coccidiosis vaccine, and on day 14 were challenged with Clostridium perfringens via the drinking water. Mortality, feed intake and FCR were recorded until 42 days of age.
Broilers fed diets supplemented with the essential oil and organic acid had a significantly lower mortality as a result of necrotic enteritis infection, lower overall mortality and improved feed intakes. Supplementing with the essential oil resulted in a numerically improved FCR compared to the group of NE challenged broilers in the control group, he reported.
Hofacre noted that birds fed the essential oil also showed in the diet of broilers also reduced NE lesion scores compared to the challenge control group. Overall, the trial results demonstrated that the essential oil had a significant impact on preventing clinical NE and helped to minimize the negative effects of Clostridium perfringens on broiler body weight and FCR.
Natural oregano oil sources have many well-documented properties, including antimicrobial, antioxidant and immunomodulatory functions. For more information on the products used in the study, visit www.anpario.com/oregostim.
Editor’s note: This report is based on a news release submitted by Anpario, the maker of the two products used in the study.