Essential Oils For Chickens

The quest for a natural antibiotic alternative has earned many awards for a 16-year-old in Texas. Braden Lowe is a member of the Rudder FFA chapter in Brazos county. His family raises show chickens. His father works at a local co-op and had a product come in called Aqua X-Cell, which is a blend of essential oils that claim to replicate the effects of growth-promoting antibiotics. It’s administered through the chickens’ water rather than added to their feed.

Braden says they tried it on some of their birds and won county Grand Champion for the first time. He thought there must be something behind it, so he conducted a 6-week experiment to see if the product produced a significant increase in chicken growth and feed consumption.

"We purchased 50 chicks and divided them into two groups, one of them having just water, and one of them having the Aqua X-Cell. We measured their growth, as in like their body weight twice a week, and we weighed the feed added every day," says Braden. "We compared the two between the control and the Aqua X-Cell group to see if there was a significant increase."

And the results?

"We found out that there was an increase although it wasn’t quite the industry standard," he says. "When we use growth-promoting antibiotics they would have a 3%-5% increase, but we only found a 1.5% increase with the Aqua X-Cell product. It is an increase, but it’s not exactly what we had hypothesized."

Braden’s not done with essential oils. He found research that says they can lower cholesterol levels, so he wants to see if it will do the same in chickens which would benefit consumers of poultry meat.

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