CRINA® Pigs was tested on pigs. The results for the first 21-day period showed that males grew faster, ate less, and exhibited superior FCR compared to females. Although female carcass weight was higher, males had a significantly lower carcass fat than females (Losa, 2001).
The addition of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and caraway (Carum carvi) oils was not found beneficial for weaned piglets. In feed choice conditions, fennel oil caused feed aversion (Schoene et al., 2006).
Oregano oil was found to be beneficial for piglets (Molnar and Bilkei, 2005).
In a preliminary investigation, the effects of low-level dietary inclusion of rosemary, garlic, and oregano oils on pig performance and pork quality were carried out. Unfortunately, no information on the species from which the oils were obtained and their composition existed in the paper. The pigs appeared to prefer the garlic-treated diet, and the feed intake and the average daily gain were significantly increased although no difference in the feed efficiency was observed. Carcass and meat quality attributes were unchanged, although a slight reduction of lipid oxidation was noted in oregano-fed pork. Since the composition of the oils is not clear, it is not possible to evaluate the results (Janz et al., 2007).
A study revealed that the inclusion of essential oil of oregano in pigs' diet significantly improved the average daily weight gain and FCR of the pigs. Pigs fed with the essential oils had higher carcass weight, dressing percentage, and carcass length than those fed with the basal and antibiotic-supplemented diet. The pigs that received the essential oil supplementation had a significantly lower fat thickness. Also lean meat and ham portions from these pigs were significantly higher. Therefore, the use of Origanum essential oil as feed additive improves the growth of pigs and has greater positive effects on carcass composition than antibiotics (Onibala et al., 2001).
Ropadiar®, an essential oil of the oregano plant, was supplemented in the diet of weaning pigs as alternative for antimicrobial growth promoters (AMGPs), observing its efficacy on the performance of the piglets. Ropadiar liquid contains 10% oregano oil and has been designed to be added to water. Compared to the negative control (without AMGP), Ropadiar® improved performance only during the first 14 days after weaning. Based on the results of this trial, it cannot be argued about the usefulness of Ropadiar® as an alternative for AMGP in diets of weanling pigs. However, its addition in prestarter diets could improve performance of these animals (Krimpen and Binnendijk, 2001).
The objective of another trial was to ascertain the effect on nutrient digestibilities and N-balance, as well as on parameters of microbial activity in the gastrointestinal tract of weaned pigs after adding oregano oil to the feed. The apparent digestibility of crude nutrients (except fiber) and the N-balance of the weaned piglets in this study were not influenced by feeding piglets restrictively with this feed additive. By direct microbiological methods, no influence of the additive on the gut flora could be found (Moller, 2001).
The inclusion of essential oil of spices in the pigs' diet significantly improved the average daily weight gain and FCR of the pigs in Groups 3, 4, and 5, as compared to Groups 1 and 2 (P < 0.01). Furthermore, pigs fed with the essential oils had higher carcass weight (P < 0.01), dressing percentage (P < 0.01), and carcass length (P < 0.01) than those fed with the basal and antibiotic-supplemented diet. In Groups 3, 4, and 5, backfat thickness was significantly lower than those in Groups 1 and 2. Moreover, lean meat and ham portions from pigs in Groups 3, 4, and 5 were significantly higher than those from pigs in Groups 1 and 2. In conclusion, the use of essential oils as feed additives improves the growth of pigs and has greater positive effects on carcass composition than antibiotics (Onibala et al., 2001).
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