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Annals of Animal Science

The Journal of National Research Institute of Animal Production

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Effect of Water Supplementation with Herbal Extracts on Broiler Chicken Welfare / Wpływ Dodatku Do Wody Ekstraktów Ziołowych Na Dobrostan Kurcząt Brojlerów

Iwona Skomorucha
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Technology, Ecology and Economics of Animal Production, National Research Institute of Animal Production, 32-083 Balice n. Kraków, Poland
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  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Ewa Sosnówka-Czajka
  • Department of Technology, Ecology and Economics of Animal Production, National Research Institute of Animal Production, 32-083 Balice n. Kraków, Poland
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2013-10-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/aoas-2013-0057


This study investigated the effect of adding extracts from selected herbs to water on alleviation of broiler stress associated with intensive production, and thus on improvement of welfare. In experimental groups (II, III and IV), alcoholic extracts from chamomile inflorescence (Matricaria

chamomilla L.), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.) or from St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum L.), respectively, were added to water drinkers (2 ml ∙ l-1 water) from 21 to 35 days of rearing for 5 h/day. Throughout the experiment, body weight, feed and water intake and number of dead birds were recorded once a week. At 21, 28, 35 and 42 days of rearing, blood was collected from 7 birds in each group to determine the levels of corticosterone, cholesterol, glucose, and the immunoglobulin complex. The response of birds to the herbal additives was positive. The herb extracts contributed to a decrease in cholesterol level and an increase in the level of the immunoglobulin complex in the blood. Supplementation of water with chamomile and St John’s wort extracts contributed to an increase in body weight, while the extracts from lemon balm and St John’s wort also had a positive effect on broiler survival. The results obtained indicate that out of the three herbs chosen for the experiment, St John’s wort extract proved the most efficient in relieving the body’s physiological response to stress, and thus in improving welfare.


Badano wpływ dodatku ekstraktów z wybranych ziół do wody na złagodzenie stresu kurcząt brojlerów związanego z intensywnym chowem, a w konsekwencji na poprawę dobrostanu. W grupach doświadczalnych (II, III i IV) kurczęta brojlery otrzymywały do poideł z wodą od 21. do 35. dnia odchowu przez 5 h/dobę ekstrakt spirytusowy odpowiednio z: kwiatostanu rumianku pospolitego (Matricaria chamomilla L.), ziela melisy lekarskiej (Melisa offcinalis L.) lub ziela dziurawca zwyczajnego (Hypericum perforatum L.) w ilości 2 ml∙l-1 wody. W czasie doświadczenia co tydzień kontrolowano masę ciała kurcząt brojlerów, zużycie paszy i wody oraz liczbę kurcząt padłych. W 21., 28., 35. oraz 42. dniu odchowu pobrano krew od 7 ptaków z grupy w celu oznaczenia poziomu: kortykosteronu, cholesterolu, glukozy oraz kompleksu immunoglobulinowego. Obserwowano pozytywną reakcję organizmów ptaków na czynniki doświadczalne. Ekstrakty z ziół wpłynęły na obniżenie poziomu cholesterolu oraz wzrost poziomu kompleksu immunoglobulinowego we krwi ptaków. Dodatek ekstraktu z rumianku pospolitego i dziurawca zwyczajnego wpłynął na wzrost masy ciała ptaków, a ekstrakt z melisy lekarskiej i dziurawca zwyczajnego miał także pozytywny wpływ na przeżywalność kurcząt brojlerów.

Wyniki z przeprowadzonych badań wskazują, że z trzech wybranych do doświadczenia ziół najbardziej skuteczny w łagodzeniu fizjologicznej reakcji organizmu kurcząt brojlerów na stres, a tym samym na poprawę dobrostanu, okazał się ekstrakt z dziurawca zwyczajnego

Keywords: broiler chickens; herb extracts; productivity; corticosterone; blood biochemical parameters

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About the article

Published Online: 2013-10-20

Published in Print: 2013-09-01

Citation Information: Annals of Animal Science, Volume 13, Issue 4, Pages 849–857, ISSN (Print) 1642-3402, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/aoas-2013-0057.

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