A Natural Alternative to Farming Without Antibiotics


By Emma Wall, "Nature’s Answer to Antibiotics,"March/April 2012

Find out how farmers are using essential oils instead of antibiotics on livestock.

Steve Reid of Fat Toad Goat Farm in Brookfield, Vermont, uses essential oils—plant-based extracts—on his goats. It may sound wacky, but Reid is at the forefront of new research that's helping satisfy the growing demand for meat, poultry and milk from animals raised without antibiotics. Many essential oils present in cinnamon, cloves, garlic and other plants have antibacterial properties. Emerging research shows that adding essential oils to the feed of cows, chickens and goats can be as effective as antibiotics in increasing production of milk or meat and minimizing disease. The oils bolster immunity, says Hyun Lillehoj, Ph.D., USDA immunologist.

Photo Credit: Emma Wall