Plant based feed additives (phytogenic) as a primary solution to an antibiotic free nutritional program and feeding strategy in rabbit production


  • Never Assan Department of Agriculture Management, Faculty of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe Open University, Zimbabwe


Phytogenic, Growth, Health, Carcass, Rabbits


Previously, before their restriction and/or ban, sub-therapeutic antibiotic growth promoters had been extensively used to improve growth rate and efficiency of feed utilization, in addition to curtailing morbidity and mortality in rabbit production. Due to the public health risk associated with the irrational and irresponsible use of low and sub-therapeutic prescription of antibiotics in food animals have raised great concern. For the last few years the focal point of various nutritional studies has aimed at searching for safe, natural and ecological products to eliminate the use of antibiotics in rabbit nutrition. The argument is that the use of sub-therapeutic antimicrobial drugs in food animals has increased the transmission and the proliferation of resistant bacteria via the food chain hence their adverse effect on human health and environment. The aftermath is the heightened advancement of resistance of diversified pathogenic microbial populations, especially bacteria against more antibiotics that are ultimately missing for the therapy in human medicine. In response to the elimination of antibiotics as growth promoters’ rabbit nutritional studies have refocused on finding alternative organic compounds (natural) feed additives to replace the sub-therapeutic antimicrobial drugs. Testing of herbs, spices and other extracts (botanicals) as alternative feed additives have shown their effectiveness as appetizers, digestive and physiological stimulants, colorants, antioxidants, and for the prevention and treatment of certain pathological conditions. In this regard, use of a wide range of phytogenic feed additives in rabbit nutrition has recently become a common management practice, since plant based feed additives have demonstrated to productively enhance rabbit growth performance, improve animal oxidative status, prevention and treatment of certain pathological conditions and acting as rabbit product quality enhancers. This has confirmed that plant based feed additives can be bestowed as a conceivable option to enhance a variety of critical processes in food animal physiology without adverse effects on human health and environment. Plant based feed additives may comprise among supplements that could positively influence feed quality, improve animal health besides animal products decidedly of their categorically efficacious elements. This is on the backdrop that food safety and identifiable high quality animal products are recommended to sustain consumer confidence and consumption. The present review attempt to assess the prospects of phytogenic feed additives as a major solution to an antibiotic free nutritional programs and feeding patterns in rabbit production.



How to Cite

Never Assan. (2018). Plant based feed additives (phytogenic) as a primary solution to an antibiotic free nutritional program and feeding strategy in rabbit production. Scientific Journal of Animal Science, 7(3), 493-503. Retrieved from



Review Article