Using Essential Oils to Control Coccidia
The objective of a Polish study was to assess the effectiveness of dietary supplementation with oils extracted from Origanum vulgare (Lamiaceae) and Citrus spp. (Citraceae) against coccidia and to determine the impact on lamb growth in an indoor housing system. A total of 222 ewes and 276 lambs of the Polish Lowland breed, maintained indoors under the same environmental conditions, were used in the study.
Ewes (n=74) and lambs (n=87) in group 1 were fed a control diet, with no supplementation. In group 2, ewes (n=74) were fed a diet supplemented with essential oils from the 4th month of pregnancy through lambing. After lambing, ewes and lambs (n=105) were fed the control diet. In group 3, ewes (n=74) were fed a diet supplemented with essential oils from the 4th month of pregnancy through lambing, and lambs (n=84) were fed the supplemented diet until slaughter.
Parasitic invasion intensity and prevalence were similarly low in all experimental groups, with no clinical manifestations. Lambs in group 3 had the highest prevalence and intensity of coccidia infection at day 42 of age, but showed significant declines at day 56 and 70, as compared to lambs in groups 1 and 2. Lambs in group 3 had the highest average daily gains. They also had greater eye-muscle depth and less fat depth, as determined by ultrasound.