- Acta Sci. Pol. Zootechnica, 17(2), 2018, 3‒14
- DOI: 10.21005/asp.2018.17.2.01
The use of herbs in animal nutrition
Aleksandra Paskudska, Dorota Kołodziejczyk, Stanisław Socha
Department of Breeding Methods and Poultry Breeding, University of Natural Sciences and Humanities, B. Prusa 12/14, 08-110 Siedlce, Poland
Abstract. The withdrawal of antibiotic growth promoters (AGP) from the list of allowed feed additives forced livestock producers to look for legal and safe substitutes. These included probiotics, synbiotics, enzymes and proenzymes, minerals, organic and inorganic acids, as well as phytobiotics, i.e. plant extracts and substances dervied from herbs. Medicinal plants contain a range of biologically active compounds in various combinations, thus they may have a varied effect on the animal body. Here we review the properties of a number of medicinal plants used in the feeding of livestock animals, such as cattle, poultry and swine. The research has confirmed the effectiveness of herbal substances as natural growth promoters and proved they represent an alternative for banned antibiotics. Phytobotics also prove to be a positive factor in relation to both animal health and productivity in terms of quality and quantity, in cattle (milk and beef), pigs (pork yield and reproductive performance) and poultry (egg laying yield in laying hens and broiler chickens). Health improvement is the most pronounced outcome of an application of herbs and herbal feed additives, which has been reflected in blood tests. The interest in phytobiotics as a natural food component will continue to grow, along with consumer awareness and the growing demand for healthy food products. To achieve the desired effects, it is not enough to replace the antibiotics with herbs or to add them to the feed. In the first place, it is a ballanced feed ration, animal welfare and appropriate veterinary prophylaxis that should be taken care of.
Keywords: herbs, medicinal plants, health, animal nutrition, farm animals