Due to an increasing demand for natural products to control coccidiosis in broilers, we investigated the effects of supplementing a combination of ethanolic extracts of Artemisia annua and Curcuma longa in drinking water. Three different dosages of this herbal mixture were compared with a negative control (uninfected), a positive control (infected and untreated), chemical coccidiostats (nicarbazin+narazin and, later, salinomycin), vaccination, and a product based on oregano. Differences in performance (weight gain, feed intake, and feed conversion rate), mortality, gross intestinal lesions and oocyst excretion were investigated. Broilers given chemical coccidiostats performed better than all other groups. Broilers given the two highest dosages of the herbal mixture had intermediate lesion scores caused by Eimeria acervulina, which was higher than in broilers given coccidiostats, but less than in broilers given vaccination, oregano and in negative controls. There was a trend for lower mortality (P = 0·08) in the later stage of the growing period (23–43 days) in broilers given the highest dosage of herbal mixture compared with broilers given chemical coccidiostats. In conclusion, the delivery strategy of the herbal extracts is easy to implement at farm level, but further studies on dose levels and modes of action are needed.
Parasitology (cambridge), 2014, Vol 141, Issue 3, p. 347-355