Many farmers will recall using antibiotics like Virginiamycin and Chloramphenicol for calves as routine practice. The response was less disease and better growth. The government decided to ban the routine use of antibiotics to reduce the build-up of resistance to the drugs and to reduce residual effects in the animals.
Since the ban, there has been a focus on good practice like colostrum management and good hygiene, and the use of better calf milks like Britannia ECM and routine use of electrolytes like OsmoFit®. But… when you look at what an antibiotic's mode of action is; all of these management techniques whilst effective, are not the same!
Orego-Stim® is not an antibiotic but it is made using oregano essential oil, a eubiotic which is a natural herb extract.
Oregano is a common herb, one variety of which, after extract of the oil, has been shown in trials to have good antimicrobial properties and in another trials, antioxidant properties.
All varieties of oregano contain these essential oils but the one used is particularly potent.
Orego-Stim® is based on pure oregano essential oil extract. The type of Oregano is similar to the herb that we use in cooking but much, much, stronger! I was told that if you were to chew a leaf of this variety your tongue would go numb and you wouldn't be able to speak for a few hours.
Mmmmm. Note to self, could be useful!
We are not claiming that Orego-Stim® is a veterinary medicine but it is a powerful aid to support health and performance.
Orego-Stim® is used as a liquid (calves) or a powder.
Supported by several peer-reviewed trials.
Essential oil extract from oregano has been shown to be a powerful natural eubiotic.
Has a similar mode of action to vitamin E & C.
Trials support better growth in calves & increased milk production for fresh calved cows.
Feed Supplements and some health products should not be described or recognised as medicines and whilst they may have health benefits they may not be generally approved by the veterinary profession.
This means that whilst they may show some beneficial effects on improving immune responses and reduction of interventions for some metabolic related issues with transition cows and calves, we cannot claim any medicinal effects.
I have included some of the key trial data below. Other trial data has not been included because (rather frustratingly) it is for internal use.
This product has been quietly developing some impressive trial results for calves and transition cows.
Reduce the environmental loading of viable Cryptosporidium spores with Orego-Stim®.
This product has become a lot more than some sort of herbalist's concoction used by some of our "off the grid population".
Now the proofs are without question and the published trials and adoption across the species is gaining pace. Orego-Stim® is now exported all over the world and was the reason for a £1 million investment in a manufacturing site in the UK.
Extensive research has shown that oregano oil essential oil can be used to great benefit to help support and maintain immune function, but there is also evidence to show that it may help to reduce Cryptosporidias' viable spore shedding by around 60%!
Using 10ml per calf per day for the first 10 days of life followed by a "holding" amount of 2ml per calf per day until weaning is recommended. The first 10 days is the key period and some farmers are reporting good results without using the extra holding 2ml!
When applied over a series of batches of calves, followed by routine cleaning of pens and equipment, the use of Orego-Stim® may help to reduce viable spores to a minimum, effectively eliminating any significant challenge, provided cleaning routines are maintained.
The monogastric nature of the baby calf also means that it is suitable to use whilst it is developing a viable rumen. There are other benefits to using Orego-Stim®, one is improvement of appetite and that property has multiple benefits. (See trial data below)
Studies have shown that ruminants are attracted to the grazing of natural herbs, and where these occur in permanent pastures they are often selected as a priority. Human beings are aware of the strong aromas from many of these herbs when they are added to our food. The perception of cows and calves is that these herbs are very palatable.
Cryptosporidia is the major cause of calf scour (57% of cases) in early life with significant cost to the dairy industry (£32-£154/calf (Gunn, 1997)).
Orego-Stim® Liquid, when included in milk at 10ml per calf per day for 10 days, significantly reduced Cryptosporidia shedding improved of dairy calves.
Cryptosporidia is a major cause of calf diarrhoea (scour) causing long term damage to the gut lining, depressed nutrient absorption, poor growth performance and can ultimately prove fatal, (Thomson, 2017).
Peak shedding of oocysts is in the first 2-3 weeks of life, so early intervention to prevent this significant protozoan from multiplying is essential.
Orego-Stim® is a high quality phytogenic eubiotic containing 100% natural oregano oil.
A pilot study was carried out at the University of Reading in the UK. 10 male Holstein dairy calves were assigned to one of two applications at 2 days of age; Control with no supplements in the milk, Orego-Stim® with 10ml/calf/day of Orego-Stim® Liquid added to the milk. The milk used was unsaleable, waste milk from the University dairy herd. Orego-Stim® was included in both the morning and evening feeding (5ml in 2.5 litres milk) for the first 10 days only. All calves then received the same milk and concentrates until weaning at day 60. Calves were individually housed until 21 days of age then housed together in a straw pen until the end of the trial at day 78. Faecal samples were taken on days 0, 3, 7, 10, 14, 21, 56 and 70 for analysis of Cryptosporidia shedding.
(a,b superscripts denote differences (p<0.02).
Fig 1. Effect of Orego-Stim® on Cryptosporidia shedding in dairy calves. (Adapted from Ray et al., 2019, unpublished)
Generally, the trials show benefits in antioxidant status by offering 10 grams of Orego-Stim® powder per day from 21 days pre-calving to 21 days post-calving.
This improved immune status and reduced somatic cell counts in one trial. In another analysis of the trial, they were able to show a significant milk yield response due primarily to earlier increased intakes over cows fed the same diet but without the addition of the Orego-Stim®. (See trial data below)
A trial was carried out at Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, in the hot season, from October 2015 to January 2016. 24 Jersey cows (approx. 400kg bodyweight, 2.7 lactations) were split into one of three groups. Control (standard diet with no additives), OS (10g per day of Orego-Stim® Powder) or GT (5g per day Green Tea extract), from 21 days pre-calving to 21 days post-calving. Bodyweight and body condition were measured weekly, with production and feeding behaviour assessed daily. Animal health and welfare was continually monitored.
Figure 1. Number of visits to the trough, number of visits without eating and number of aggressive interactions per day pre-calving. Different letters indicate significant difference (p<0.01).
Figure 2. Dry Matter Intake (DMI) (kg DM/day), milk yield (kg/day) and energy-corrected milk yield (ECM) (kg/day) post-calving. Different letters indicate significant difference (p<0.01).
A trial was carried out at Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, in the hot season, from October 2015 to January 2016. 24 Jersey cows (approx. 400kg bodyweight, 2.7 lactations) were split into one of three groups. Control (standard diet with no additives), OS (10g per day of Orego-Stim® Powder) or GT (5g per day Green Tea extract), from 21 days pre-calving to 21 days post-calving. Bodyweight and body condition were measured weekly. Blood samples were taken on days -28, 0, 2 and 28 relative to calving date in order to determine levels of the oxidative stress biomarker dichlorofluorescein diacetate (DCF) and the levels of antioxidant Glutathione (GSH) present. From days 5-21 of lactation, milk was analysed daily for markers of quality, such as SCC, as well as measuring total milk yield.
Figure 1. Somatic cell count (SCC) of milk (x10³ cell/ml). Different letters indicate significant difference (p<0.05).
Figure 2. Glutathione (GSH) levels present in blood samples (nmol/mg of protein).
Different letters indicate significant difference (p<0.05).
Figure 3. Dichlorofluorescein (DCF) diacetate red blood cell levels (nmol/mg of protein). Letters a-b, x-y indicate significant difference between applications (p<0.05).