The poultry industry’s search for alternative solutions to support poultry health and minimise disease challenges, such as coccidiosis, continues to intensify. As the number of “No Antibiotic Ever” (NAE) production systems increase, demand for natural and sustainable solutions to help produce healthier, more resilient birds is greater than ever before.
Poultry producers worldwide are united in their efforts to reduce the industry’s use of antimicrobials and chemicals, specifically in moving away from the historical use of antibiotic growth promoters to improve weight gain, boost feed conversion rates and control diseases.
Coccidiosis infection can create challenging conditions within the gut, leading to dysbiosis, damage of the gut wall lining and the development of intestinal lesions. Compromised gut health because of coccidiosis infection can lead to a number of subclinical and clinical symptoms, including poor feed conversion ratio, slower growth rates, blood in excreta, loss of appetite and elevated flock mortality of up to 100%.
Coccidiosis is estimated to result in global costs of US$2-3 billion annually, and it is also a predisposing infection to secondary diseases such as bacterial enteritis and necrotic enteritis (NE), the latter of which is estimated to result in losses of US$0.5 per broiler.
Conventional coccidiosis control programmes include the use of chemicals, ionophores and vaccines, each of which comes with its own challenges. However, research has now been conducted to determine how natural phytogenics, such as oregano essential oil (OEO), can support these programmes.
Extensively researched and trialled, Orego-Stim from Anpario provides a unique source of 100% natural OEO, which has been proven to provide gut health-supporting properties during coccidiosis challenge periods. A recent trial undertaken with the Southern Poultry Research Group (SPRG) in the US found that coccidiosis-infected broilers fed Orego-Stim supplemented diets had a greater body weight gain, reduced mortality and an improved FCR compared to control birds.
In addition, later cycling of coccidia in this study was lower in Orego-Stim supplemented broilers (Figure 1). “It is often this late cycling of coccidia that has the most negative impact on broiler performance,” explained Dr Matthew Jones, director of nutrition and veterinarian at the SPRG. “This is because there is not the opportunity for compensational growth, and mortality near the end of production is related to far greater losses for the producer due to the feed and energy costs associated with raising these birds.”
Figure 1 – Late cycling of coccidia in broiler faeces (25 and 28 days of age) (OS600; 600g/t, OS800; 800g/t, OS1000: 1000g/t)
Source: SPRG 2021
In an additional trial by SPRG, the effectiveness of Orego-Stim on broiler performance during a mild nectrotic enteritis challenge was investigated. Supplementation of broiler feed with Orego-Stim significantly lowered clinical mortality, improved feed intake, and resulted in the best feed efficiency. This indicates clearly that Orego-Stim can help minimise both total clinical mortality and mortality caused by necrotic enteritis in the absence of anticoccidials.
Providing support is particularly important within high stocking density and floor pen production systems, as coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis challenge may be higher and compensatory growth may not occur.
Figure 2 – Necrotic enteritis mortality of broilers (0-42 days of age). (OSP500; 500g/t, OSP1000; 1000g/t).
Source: SPRG 2022
Orego-Stim has long been used to support control programmes for coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis in poultry production worldwide. The active OEO compounds in Orego-Stim have been shown to have a direct effect on oocyst shedding. Controlling the replication of oocysts and reducing the population in the environment helps to minimise the challenge on the bird whilst enabling natural immunity to develop.
Supplementation of Orego-Stim has also been shown to result in the rapid replacement of epithelial cells lining the intestinal wall. Increasing gut cell turnover supports healing and repair of the gut lining, minimising the incidence and severity of lesions which are commonly associated with coccidiosis challenge.
The benefits associated with the improved health and performance of broilers offered OEO can result in substantial economic benefits in today’s modern production systems. Feed additives that deliver a consistent, high-quality source of OEO, such as the single source unique strain used in Orego-Stim, provide producers with a natural, sustainable solution to support health, maintain optimum performance and boost profitability.
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