1. bookVolume 21 (2021): Issue 4 (October 2021)
Journal Details
First Published
25 Nov 2011
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
access type Open Access

The Effect of Adding Herbal Extracts to Drinking Water on Body Temperature, Level of Thyroid Hormones and H:L Ratio in the Blood of Broiler Chickens Exposed to Elevated Ambient Temperature

Published Online: 28 Oct 2021
Page range: 1511 - 1522
Received: 04 Nov 2020
Accepted: 17 Feb 2021
Journal Details
First Published
25 Nov 2011
Publication timeframe
4 times per year

The aim of the study was to determine the effect of supplementing drinking water with extracts from lemon balm, sage and nettle on body temperature, level of thyroid hormones and the heterophil to lymphocyte (H:L) ratio in the blood of broiler chickens exposed to elevated rearing temperature. One-day-old Ross 308 chicks were divided into four groups: group I (CON) and experimental groups II (LB), II (S) and IV (N), in which, from 22 to 42 days of rearing, drinkers were supplemented with lemon balm extract, sage extract or nettle extract (2 ml/l water), respectively. In addition, at 5 weeks of growth, all the groups were exposed to elevated ambient temperature (up to 30°C) for 5 days, after which the recommended thermal conditions were reinstated. During the study, mortality, rectal temperature and radiated temperature of the broilers were monitored. Blood was collected from 10 birds per group to determine the concentration of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) and to make blood smears. The H:L ratio was determined based on the percentage of heterophils (H) and lymphocytes (L). The herbal extracts from lemon balm, sage and nettle, added to drinking water at 2 ml/l, reduced the blood level of the thyroid hormone (triiodothyronine) and rectal temperature in the experimental broilers during the initial period of thermal stress. Chickens receiving the nettle extract were also characterised by lower radiated temperature of the unfeathered body, a lower H:L ratio in the blood during the increase in ambient temperature, and the lowest mortality percentage. It can therefore be considered that the dietary supplementation of nettle, in the form and concentration used in this study, had the most favourable effect on the physiological status of the birds (body temperature, level of thyroid hormones and H:L ratio) exposed to elevated ambient temperatures (30°C), and thus on their welfare.


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