Maca plant contains rich nutrients and in addition, it has various bioactive substances (N-benzyl-palmitamide, benzyl isothiocyanate, glucosinolates and phenolics). It is used to improve reproductive properties and has antioxidant effects for both humans and animals. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of adding maca plant powder to the ration at different levels on growth, slaughter carcass, partial egg production and some reproductive characteristics in Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica). The experimental groups were formed by adding 0% (control), 0.05% and 0.1% maca powder to the diet, and a total of 300 birds were used. Growth (weekly body weights, parameters of Gompertz growth function), feed efficiency and carcass characteristics of quails in the 42-day fattening trial were determined. Reproductive characteristics were measured up to 22 weeks of age. Addition of maca powder to the diet increased the feed consumption (p < 0.05) but did not affect body weights at 35 and 42 days of age, β0 and β1 parameters or point of inflection weight of the Gompertz model, carcass traits, partial egg production or fertility. It may be advisable to add 0.1% maca powder to the diets of breeders. Besides, maca powder reduced embryonic deaths and improved chick quality (both p < 0.05). It is thought that different results for reproductive traits can be obtained if maca powder is used for a longer period in the diets of breeder quail flocks.
Keywords: chick quality; feed additives; gompertz growth curve; maca; quail.