Feeding oregano essential oil (OEO) to pullets during rearing can help to improve flock uniformity, reproductive fitness and feed efficiency, according to research undertaken at North Carolina State University on behalf of feed additive manufacturer Anpario, according to an announcement from the company.
Rearing healthy, high-quality pullets with a diverse and well-populated gut microbiome is important for lifetime performance, the announcement said. The complex gut microbiome of poultry species plays a crucial role in digestion, nutrient absorption and immune function. Early establishment of a diverse microbiome population assists with intestinal crypt and villi development, two important intestinal structures associated with feed digestion and nutrient absorption.
North Carolina State University researcher Dr. Ken Anderson undertook a trial at the Piedmont Research Station, in conjunction with Anpario, to determine how supplementing OEO (Orego-Stim Powder) in pullet feed throughout rearing affected pullet performance and body confirmation.
Dekalb White chicks from day-old were allocated to one of two groups: either a control group with no additive in the feed, or a treatment group offered feed supplemented with 300 g of the OEO per metric ton of feed, the announcement said.
“The results of the trial showed that OEO supplementation had a positive effect on pullet reproductive fitness, specifically in body development with increased shank length and a higher rear quarter percentage,” Anderson explained. “Additionally, while bodyweight did not differ between treatment groups as birds were grown to breed guidelines, flock bodyweight uniformity was less variable in pullets supplemented with OEO.”
The trial also demonstrated optimized feed efficiency in pullets offered OEO in the diet, Anpario said.
Improved flock uniformity and reproductive fitness at the start of lay in pullets fed OEO is expected to result in more consistent egg sizes and improved lifetime performance, the company reported.
“North Carolina State University is currently undertaking a trial working in conjunction with Anpario to determine to what extent managing early gut health with [OEO] has on laying performance,” Anderson added.
“High-quality pullets are those which are both robust and resilient, and a high-quality flock is one in which all the pullets are uniform in weight and achieve breed targets for bodyweight,” Anpario technical support coordinator Dr. Emma Lund explained.
“Meeting breed standards for bodyweight supports optimum skeletal and muscular development, which is associated with improved performance during early lay. Issues that arise during the rearing phase can impact a bird's overall lifetime performance and, ultimately, producer profitability,” Lund added.