13 commentsupdate:Sep 26, 2012

Herbs and spices work

The discussion on how to produce poultry without the use of antibiotics will not stop until proven alternatives have been found. In some parts of the world producers still may wonder why on earth this is an issue, but in the western world where researchers may still fight about whether there is a valid scientific reason for a ban, producers simply have no choice.


True or not the preventive use of antibiotics in livestock production is seen to be a threat for human health. Consequently producers have to grow their birds antibiotic free. Field results show that this is not a mission impossible, but it is not an easy task. For that reason poultry health specialists keep on searching for alternatives which may have the same disease and or infection suppressing characteristics as antibiotics have.

Recently I had the privilege to attend a meeting where a young and entrepreneurial German company presented their experiences with a number of herbal products. The input of a few independent veterinarians and poultry specialists from several western European poultry companies made me quickly change my first reaction of: “Here we have one more company with a new fairytale on how successful herbs and spices can replace antibiotics”.

My doubts slowly faded away when the pharmacologist of the company explained that they use new technologies to purify extracts of the organic compounds, which makes their products different from most other herbal products. My curiosity grew when a present vet told that he successfully made use of some of the products and that one of Germany’s largest poultry companies replaced its antibiotic program for the herbal product presented. Unfortunately, the herbs company could not yet present official trial figures, which are essential in today’s business.

Since the meeting was about exchanging information and thoughts about how the company could enter the international market, the absence of scientific documentation, was noted and put on the to-do list of the company. It probably will take another year before these documents become available, but the first experiences and field results received from important players in the poultry industry indicates that soon there may be a possibility for poultry growers to use an organic substitute for antibiotics in their production process.


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    DVM Waseem Amer Al-shible

    Dear Sir,
    If we want applying the ban of the antibiotics in the avian stock , we must prohibit the use of live vaccine firstly; especially live vaccine of infection bronchitis. Because the live vaccine lead to reaction in the chicken body and the reaction is out of contorl at mostly. So we had to apply the Antibiotics. We wish to get red of the usage of antibiotics in the avian stocks.
    Thank you and Best Regards

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    Dr. Bachmeier

    I am interested to know the company and their products to run own trials. Please give me the contact address�.

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    Pamela Antonioli

    I�m interested on the company. Could you send more info?


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    Ivan Milin

    One does not have to be rocket scientist to know that natural food is the best for any creature. However, herbs are not necessarily natural food for chickens and let us not forget that Tabaco, Marihuana, Poppy and other similar plants could also be considered herbs.
    Back to the rocket scientists: Researches working on the problems of long space travels, found that chickens fed by food containing live or dry Fly Larvae, do not need antibiotics to keep them healthy. Fly Larvae are known to contain substance that act similar to antibiotics. Larvae are also natural food for many birds, including chickens, and it would be reasonable to assume that the future research should be concentrated in that direction.
    University of Guelph in Canada is presently evaluating environmentally friendly technology which uses Fly Larvae for recycling of Chicken Manure. Prototype would soon be operational and there would be plenty of Fly Larvae available for testing it as a protein supplement for chicken feed. Since I am a member of the research team, I am hoping that there would be funding available for trials in that direction. Anybody interested in collaborating or helping trials of that nature should visit the website <>

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    Robert Gauthier

    I am surprised, from a man so close to the poultry industry, that all this comes to you as a revelation. A few serious companies have worked on this subject for years and have generated plenty of serious data. On the other hand, we see newcomers in that field, almost every month... but they come empty handed, without any serious experimental data.

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    Organic eggs and organic chicken,just to quote, are produced without use of antibiotics. Similarly, herbal medicines involving basil (ocimum) are acclaimed to control common cold and cough and even recommended to be of some benefit in avian flu. Murreya koenigii is widely used for controlling blood sugar in experiments on dogs, while Liv.52 tablets help in Liver cirrhosis in fowls. Hence it is no wonder if herbal products are used as replacements for antibiotics in specific diseases in large numbers.

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    Ivan Milin

    Pamela Antonioli and Dr. Bachmeier; Please clarify which comment are you referring to. Thanks

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    Joost ter Heerdt

    the company HatchTech in Holland has introduced the product HatchBrood in April '10. Since the introduction, many dutch farmers have purchased HatchBrood chicks. Currently, Hollands largest poultry hatchery has invested in another 3 units of 39.600 birds, making the total of 6 units in their facility. Big benefit: zero use of antibiotics!

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    Prafull Kumar

    Definitely there is no doubt about the efficacy of these herbs and spices. India which has knowledge of Ayurveda deep in its culture and root has been practicing it for more than 5000 Years. There are many herbs which has immunomodulatory effect and help bird or animal to lower down the cortisol level and initiate immune response. Synergistic combination of these kind of herb are amazing for enhancing productivity and protection. One such company is Ayurvet Limited having many kind of herbal speciality products like Antistress, Liver Tonic, Anti-mycotoxin, Anti- Diarrhea, Anti-coccidial etc. Beauty of these products are that these are purely herbal without any sideeffect and with more than 300+ scientific Publications and studies worldwide. For more information visit <> or write to

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    Dr. Rupesh

    its very intresting that herbs will change their active compunds seasonaly so in which season they are going to harvest is important when using herbs

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    Yes, there are some substance which could take place of antibiotics such as mentioned herbs and spices, others as probiotics, prebiotics, acidifier et al. I agree with prebiotic because it proliferate the internal beneficial bacteria rather than adding external, and also some studies have proved the effect of prebiotics.

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    here in the Philippines we have a feed pre-mix powder made of vitamins and minerals applicable to all levels of animal. We called it ATOVI. It is an additive that produces micro-potential energy that enhances the immune system and antibodies of livestock. It induces natural detoxification or expulsion of harmful chemicals or xenobiotics such as synthetic drugs, natural poisons and antibiotics on the cellular level making the products like meat, eggs and others free from antibiotic, chemical and medication residues. With metabolism performing properly, the genetic potentials and performance like that of the immune system are strengthened. the animals have greater stamina. They don't easily contract diseases caused by bacteria and viruses ensuring faster recovery. Mortality is significantly lessened. Also has low cholesterol, lean meat and less fats. Atovi correct and maintain the digestive system properly thru this all nutrients; protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, etc., were absorbed and utilized properly and effeciently. The result is the almost total absence of undigested proteins in the manure and the very low ammonia fumes which produce foul odors ending up into an instant non-pathogenic and organic fecal waste and further decomposition is not needed.

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    Dr.M.Asif raza

    The excessive use of antibiotics in poultry is practiced at farm level as well in feed sector.The replacement of antibiotics by herbs is a difficult challenge. There are so many factors to be considered regarding the use of herbs.Diseases like Mycoplasma, Samonella, Ecoli,are very common, they are difficult to be controll without antibiotics.The use of products like organic acid, Probiotics, are used upto certain level.

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