1Department of Basic Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran
2Graduated from School of Veterinary Medicine, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran
3Ph.D. Student in Pharmacology, Department of Basic Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran
4BSc for Veterinary Organization, Fars Province, Shiraz, Iran
Satureja hortensis is a popular herb in most regions of the world with leaves used as seasoning. Evidence shows that this plant contains phenolic components such as thymol and carvacrol with a relatively wide spectrum of antimicrobial activity. This study aimed at evaluating the efficacy of S. hortensis plant powder as an alternative to antimicrobial growth promoters in broiler diets. The plant was bought in sufficient quantity from the district of Yasouj, Iran and was dried and ground into powder. A total of 140 unsexed 1-day-old Arbor Acers breed broiler chicks were housed and fed a starter diet up to 18 days of age. The birds were then randomly divided into two groups and reared under similar conditions. Chickens received either normal grower (from 18 to 35 days of age) and finisher (from 36 to 50 days of age) diets without S. hortensis (group I) or a similar diet containing one percent plant powder (group II). Statistical comparison of average body weights at various time intervals showed that chickens in group II (1930 ± 29 g, n=63) were significantly (P<0.05) heavier than the birds in the control group (1837 ± 25 g, n=62). The average body weight of males in each group (2075 ± 42 g, n=20 and 2143 ± 40 g, n=22 for groups I and II, respectively) was also greater than those of the females (1724 ± 34 g, n=42 and 1808 ± 30 g, n=41 for groups I and II, respectively). Although feed conversion ratio was slightly less in group II (1.95), it was not substantially different from that in group I (2.02). It is concluded that S. hortensis might be a potential growth promoter in poultry.