Document Type : Original Article


1 Animal Production Research Institute, Agricultural Research Center, Dokki, Giza, Egypt

2 Poultry Production Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Ain Shams University, Egypt.

3 Poultry Production Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Ain Shams University, Egypt


This study aimed to evaluate the individual and combined effects of commercially available natural essential oils, including garlic oil (Allium sativum L.), basil oil (Ocimumbasilicum), thyme oil (Thymus vulgaris), and their mixtures, on the growth performance, digestibility coefficients, blood lipid profiles, and economic efficiency in growing rabbits. One hundred and twenty male New Zealand White (NZW) rabbits, six weeks old and with an average initial body weight of 636.5±7.21g, were evenly distributed into eight groups (15 rabbits per group). Each group was further divided into three replicates. The first group (T1), which served as the control, received a basal diet (16.74% CP and 2504 Kcal/Kg DM) without additives. The second group (T2) was given a basal diet with 1 mg of propylene glycol/kg of diet. The third (T3), fourth (T4), and fifth (T5) groups received the basal diet supplemented with garlic oil (GO), basil oil (BO), and thyme oil (TO) respectively, each at a concentration of 400 mg/kg diet. The sixth group (T6) received a basal diet supplemented with a mix of GO and BO, each at 200 mg/kg diet. The seventh group (T7) received a basal diet with a combination of GO and TO, each at 200 mg/kg diet, and the eighth group (T8) was supplemented with GO at 200 mg/kg diet, and both BO and TO at 100 mg/kg diet. The GO, BO, and TO were applied by spraying 400 ml/kg diet v/w on the daily pelleted feed intake to prevent the loss of volatile components and ensure the effectiveness of the essential oils in the rabbit diets. The experiment lasted for 8 weeks. Results indicated that rabbits fed with essential oils and their combinations significantly outperformed the control group in terms of body weight gain and daily weight gain (P<0.05). The T4 group showed a notable increase in feed consumption compared to the control. All experimental groups, except T2, significantly improved feed conversion ratio compared to the control group (P<0.05). The supplementation of essential oils and their combinations did not influence the digestibility of DM, OM, and NFE against the control group. However, the digestibility coefficients for CP, CF, and EE, along with the nutritive values, were significantly enhanced in the T3, T4, and T6 groups compared to the control. Additionally, all experimental groups except for T2 demonstrated a significant reduction in triglycerides, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (p<0.01), while high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) levels significantly increased compared to the control group. The treatment groups also showed higher economic efficiency and relative economic efficiency than the control group. Overall, this study's findings suggest that the dietary inclusion of essential oils and their combinations leads to increased body weight, improved feed conversion ratios, and better economic returns compared to the control group.


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