Effects of cinnamaldehyde, garlic and juniper berry essential oils on rumen fermentation, blood metabolites, growth performance, and carcass characteristics of growing lambs.

Chaves, A.V., Stanford, K.I.M., Dugan, M.E.R, Gibson, L.L., McAllister, T.A., Van Herk, F.H., and Benchaar, C. (2008). "Effects of cinnamaldehyde, garlic and juniper berry essential oils on rumen fermentation, blood metabolites, growth performance, and carcass characteristics of growing lambs.", Livestock Science, 117(2-3), pp. 215-224. doi : 10.1016/j.livsci.2007.12.013  Access to full text

Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine the effects of cinnamaldehyde (CDH), garlic (GAR) and juniper berry (JUN) essential oils (200 mg/kg of DM) on performance and carcass characteristics of lambs fed a barley-based concentrate diet ad libitum. For this purpose, 40 ewes' lambs (23.5 ± 1.11 kg initial live weight, LW) were used in a random block design over a 13-week period. Feeding CDH, GAR or JUN did not affect dry matter intake (DMI) but the average daily gain (ADG) of lambs supplemented with CDH and JUN was higher (P = 0.002) as compared to lambs fed GAR or the control diet. Feed conversion (DMI/ADG) was numerically improved when lambs were fed CDH (4.8) and JUN (4.7) compared to those fed GAR (5.2) or the control diet (5.3). There were no effects of feed additives on ruminal pH and concentrations of ammonia and total VFA. Serum concentrations of glycerol and total glycerides were lower and higher (P ≤ 0.03) in lambs fed CDH or JUN respectively, as compared to lambs fed GAR or the control diet. Hot dressed carcass weight was similar among treatments (23.7 ± 0.75 kg; P = 0.18) whereas saleable meat tended (P = 0.13) to increase (+ 9%) in lambs fed CDH and JUN compared to those fed GAR or the control diet. Feeding CDH, GAR or JUN had little effect on the overall fatty acid composition of back fat and liver and only minor effects on meat flavour characteristics.