Whether you are planning on entering One Loft, Sprints or Marathon races, focus is likely to be on ensuring the birds have the right feed and supplements for training and the race season ahead. In reality, looking after birds is a 365-day activity and good performance comes from maintaining health and resilience of the birds throughout. If they are struggling to stay healthy, regardless of how good the breeding or quality of the birds, you may be continuously stuck with poor results; from this paying attention to gut health is key.
Supporting gut health is fundamental to helping the bird achieve their genetic potential and maintain optimal lifetime performance, particularly in the absence of antibiotics. A healthy gut is one which is in a state of “eubiosis”. This is a gut in which the bacteria present, known as microbiota, are both diverse and well-populated. In addition, the development of robust and healthy gut structures is associated with an improved ability for the bird to deal with environmental challenges and support performance throughout the racing season.
Phytogenic (plant based) feed additives, such as oregano essential oil (OEO) are widely becoming a recognised tool to support bird performance in the absence of antibiotics. Reducing therapeutic antibiotic use and the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a key priority for both animal and human health globally. Finding natural solutions which support pigeon health and performance, thus preserving antibiotics for when they are really needed and helping to safeguard future efficacy of antibiotics is important for many fanciers.
With proven efficacy across numerous species, phytogenic feed additives such as OEO can provide a multitude of benefits in supporting pigeon health and performance.
OEO sources produced from the whole oil contain over 100 naturally occurring compounds which work in synergy to offer several well-documented properties and functions. These includes antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and antioxidant functions, all of which have a role in supporting optimal health and performance.
In addition, the aromatic and flavouring properties associated with oregano help to maintain voluntary feed intake, which is of particular importance during periods of stress, moulting, breeding, pre- and post-race.
Trials have found that OEO (in the form of Orego-Stim® from Anpario) helps to support development of the gut structure.
On the surface of the intestines, there are “folded” structures known as villus and crypts, the shape of the structure determines how efficiently nutrients are absorbed by the bird.
OEO supplementation increased villus height and also a deeper crypt depth, resulting in a larger surface area for nutrient absorption, enhancing digestive support and function.
“Irrespective of the breed or stock quality of your birds, the continued support and maintenance of bird health throughout their lifetime is key to peak race fitness”, says Sarah Osborne, Anpario plc. Anpario believe developing and maintaining a healthy gut is vital when it comes to producing race champions. Proven by science and backed by nature to provide the essential support for fanciers and their birds to achieve success.