When doing research for this piece, I found that articles explaining reasons why we don’t eat turkey eggs as we do chicken eggs are relatively old. The top-ranking article is from 2013 and the second one is from 2016 which brings me to the conclusion that it has lacked the spotlight despite being a popular topic.
Some old data from back in 2012 indicate that Americans eat 46 pounds of Turkey every thanksgiving and on average, an American eats about 16 pounds of turkey annually. But not turkey eggs. This article by Modern Farmer also states that an average American eats upwards of 250 chicken eggs per year. But almost zero turkey eggs.
However, there is something interesting to note in line with less turkey consumption.
According to the USDA database on Turkey sector background, the consumption of turkey by Americans has been falling since 2015 as shown by the data below;
- 2016: 5.38 billion pounds
- 2017: 5.35 billion pounds
- 2018: 5.29 billion pounds
- 2019: 5.26 billion pounds
- 2020: 5.20 billion pounds
- 2021: 5.10 billion pounds
About 5% less turkey was consumed in 2021 compared to 2016
About Turkey Eggs:
Unlike chicken eggs, turkey eggs are considerably larger and have a hard shell. When candling turkey eggs, you may also notice that the air cell is located at the blunt (large) end of the egg as opposed to the pointy (small) end.
The average turkey egg weighs between 3 and 5 ounces. A chicken egg typically weighs about 2 ounces.
The yolk of a turkey egg is also larger in proportion to the egg white than a chicken egg.
The large size and hard shell of turkey eggs make them difficult to eat.
Turkey eggs are also more difficult to incubate than chicken eggs, which is another reason why they are not commonly consumed.
Why Don’t We Eat Turkey Eggs?
They are cheaper to rear chicken layers than turkey layers:
A chicken lays around 300 eggs in its lifetime, whereas the average turkey just produces about 100. Turkeys not only lay fewer eggs but also take more time to develop into egg layers. Chickens begin producing eggs at 19 to 20 weeks old, whereas turkeys need 32 weeks to mature.
Difficult to incubate:
Turkey eggs are also more difficult to incubate than chicken eggs, which is another reason why they are not commonly consumed. Incubation in chickens takes about 21 days, but for turkeys, it is 28 days. The longer incubation time means that there is a greater chance of something going wrong during the process. It also takes longer for a turkey to start laying eggs after hatching, which further adds to the difficulty of commercially producing turkey eggs.
Some say that turkey eggs taste different from chicken eggs. This could be due to the fact that turkeys are typically raised on a diet of corn and soybeans, which can affect the flavor of the eggs. Additionally, the larger yolk-to-white ratio in turkey eggs may also contribute to a different taste.
If you were to make pumpkin pie with turkey eggs, the large yolks would make the filling too yellow. A turkey egg weighs 80 grams versus 50 grams for a large chicken egg. Such a disparity might result in disastrous consequences for one’s pumpkin pie. Also, the hard shells of turkey eggs can be difficult to crack and separate without ruining the egg whites.
The high cost of turkey eggs:
The price of turkey eggs is also much higher than chicken eggs. A dozen chicken eggs can cost as little as $2, while a dozen turkey eggs can cost upwards of $10. This is due to the fact that turkeys are less efficient layers than chickens and take longer to mature.
According to USDA data on Turkey sector background, the cost of turkey per pound has been going up since 2017 as shown by the data below;
- 2016 average: $1.17 per pound
- 2017 average: $0.96 per pound
- 2018 average: $0.80 per pound
- 2019 average: $0.89 per pound
- 2020 average: $1.07 per pound
- 2021 average: $1.23
Lays eggs less frequently:
Turkeys lay at most 2 eggs per week compared to chicken that lay at least an egg a day. This means that farmers have to rear more turkeys to get the same number of eggs as they would from chickens. The high cost of turkey eggs is due to the fact that turkeys are less efficient layers than chickens and take longer to mature.
Summary: why avoid turkey eggs?
The main reason why we don’t eat turkey eggs is that they are less efficient layers than chickens and take longer to mature. In terms of taste, some say that turkey eggs taste different from chicken eggs due to the fact that turkeys are typically raised on a diet of corn and soybeans. Additionally, the larger yolk-to-white ratio in turkey eggs may also contribute to a different taste. Finally, the price of turkey eggs is also much higher than chicken eggs. A dozen chicken eggs can cost as little as $2, while a dozen turkey eggs can cost upwards of $10.
When it comes to the culinary factors, the large yolks in turkey eggs would make the filling too yellow if used for pumpkin pie. Also, the hard shells of turkey eggs can be difficult to crack and separate without ruining the egg whites. As a result, these reasons make it impractical to use turkey eggs in cooking and baking.
Are turkey eggs good to eat?
While some people say that turkey eggs taste different from chicken eggs, there is no nutritional difference between the two. Turkey eggs are just as healthy as chicken eggs and can be used in any recipe that calls for chicken eggs.
According to this forum of people with turkeys in their backyards, turkey eggs are good to eat and are remarkably similar to chicken eggs. They are, however, a tiny bit bigger, the shell is somewhat more resistant, and the membrane that separates the shell from the egg is somewhat thicker.
Q: How often do turkey lay eggs?
A: Turkeys lay at most 2 eggs per week compared to chicken that lay at least an egg a day.
Q: What do turkey eggs look like?
A: Turkey eggs are tan or cream-colored with brown spots. The shells of turkey eggs are generally thicker and harder than chicken eggs.
The large size, hard shell, and unusual color of turkey eggs make them unappetizing to many people.
While it is true that turkey eggs are larger and have a harder shell, this does not make them impossible to eat. There are many people who enjoy eating turkey eggs and find them to be just as delicious as chicken eggs.
Q: what age do turkeys lay eggs?
A: Turkey hens start laying eggs from their 7th month (around 32 weeks) of age which is about 12 weeks longer than how long it takes for chicken to mature and start laying eggs.
Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.
Hi there! My name is Ben Domb, an owner of two pets and I am one of the co-founders of OurPets HQ. I have several years of experience as a pet care professional in the New England region having spent time in various roles including a stint at a veterinary hospital in Upstate New York, Syracuse area. I am a certified pet care professional and mostly spend my time researching pet nutrition and sharing my thoughts in various blogs and columns. With quarantine and COVID restrictions, I have been spending a lot of time a lot with my dogs and cat and loving it! I also run a small consulting business providing advice to parents on pet nutrition, and especially safe homemade options to try. You can reach me at email@example.com