Article ID: 0180095
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of tea tree oil (TTO) supplementation on the growth performance, cecal microflora composition, immunity, and antioxidant status of Partridge Shank chickens. A total of 144 one-day-old chicks were allocated into three treatments with six replicates of eight chicks each and fed with a basal diet supplemented with 0 (Control group), 500, and 1000 mg/kg TTO for 50 days. Compared with the control group, the broilers fed with the basal diet supplemented with 1000 mg/kg TTO exhibited an increase in average daily gain from 22 to 50 days (P = 0.035) and in both relative thymus weight (P < 0.001) and Lactobacillus colonies in the cecal contents (P = 0.045) at 50 days of age, but a reduction in the feed/gain ratio during 1 to 50 days (P = 0.048). Additionally, dietary TTO supplementation, irrespective of dosage, increased the relative spleen weight (P = 0.003) and total antioxidant capacity in the jejunum (P = 0.049) and ileum (P = 0.001) at 21 days, but decreased the malondialdehyde content in the ileum at both 21 (P = 0.003) and 50 days (P < 0.001) and in the jejunum at 50 days (P = 0.012). The results suggested that TTO supplementation could improve the growth performance, cecal microflora composition, immunity, and antioxidant capacity of Partridge Shank chickens.