The aim was to evaluate the use of oregano extract in Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) diet, challenged with Escherichia coli strains, on performance, incidence of avian cellulitis and of antibody specific antigens against E. coli. Three hundred sixty Japanese quails with 90 days of age were distributed into galvanized wire cages in a conventional shed. The experimental design was completely randomized in factorial 5x2 design (oregano extract x challenged or not with E. coli), totaling ten treatments with six replicates of six birds per cage. Oregano extract levels were 0.00, 0.025, 0.050, 0.100 and 0.150%. Performance productive characteristics were evaluated, macroscopic lesions of cellulitis were measured after post-inoculation of the strains, and serum samples were collected for antibodies during experiment. The data were subjected to analysis of variance and averages compared by T test. Effect of E. coli was observed on all productive characteristics, regardless of the EO level evaluated, where challenged groups showed worse performance results. The macroscopic lesions, characteristic of cellulitis, observed only in birds of groups challenged with E. coli, were classified as mild and without bleeding. For specific antibodies, there was a higher number of birds challenged with E. coli strains in relation to unchallenged birds. It can be concluded that oregano extract supplemented in the diet was not effective against the challenge with E. coli in laying quails, and challenged birds with E. coli showed higher humoral and cellular immune response, compared with unchallenged birds, characterized by increased antibody titer and pectoral macroscopic lesion, regardless of the oregano extract levels evaluated.
Cellulitis; Japanese quails; oregano extract; diet; Escherichia coli; antibody titer; phytotherapy