Productive and Physiological Response of Male Rabbits to Dietary Supplementation with Thyme Essential Oil
The present study aimed at assessing the efficiency of thyme essential oil (TEO) as an alternative to antibiotics for improving the productive performance and serum metabolic profile of male rabbits. A total of one hundred and fifty 70-day-old male Californian rabbits were assigned to five dietary treatments, including a basal diet as a negative control (NC), a basal diet supplemented with an antibiotic as a positive control (PC), and a basal diet supplemented with 60, 120, or 180 mg/kg of TEO.
... r 180 mg/kg of TEO. The experiment period lasted for 60 days. Supplementation of TEO levels significantly (P < 0.01) increased daily body weight gain and improved feed conversion ratio of male Californian rabbits compared to NC and PC groups. Similarly, the TEO remarkably enhanced the semen characteristics of rabbits compared to NC and PC groups. Supplementation of TEO significantly decreased aspartate transaminase, alanine transaminase, urea, and creatinine compared with NC and PC groups. Supplementation with TEO increased serum testosterone concentration compared to NC and PC treatments. Our data demonstrate that TEO levels up to 180 mg/kg can play a major role as an alternative to dietary antibiotics, in improving the productive performance, semen quality, testosterone levels, and the kidney and liver functions in California male rabbits.