One day you’re driving along and have to stop for some turkeys crossing the road. They aren’t in a big hurry so you have some time to admire these strange-looking gamebirds.
We prize the turkey for its delicious meat and…well, that’s about it. They aren’t the prettiest birds out there, and they taste great on Thanksgiving. But then it occurs to you…you’ve never eaten a turkey egg.
Wait, why don’t we eat turkey eggs?
Let’s dig in and figure this one out together.
Yes, Virginia, Turkeys Do Lay Eggs
While turkey eggs may seem elusive to us, they do exist. In fact, turkeys can lay up to 100 eggs a year!
Turkey hens lay their eggs in the springtime, on the ground, in a nest that she has lovingly prepared. She’ll scratch about and look for the safest place to settle in and brood over her eggs.
Hens collect their eggs, so-to-speak. They lay about 3 eggs a week but don’t start sitting on their nest until they about around 10 eggs. So some eggs end up waiting for about two weeks before momma hen starts incubating them with her warmth.
A turkey hen has a longer wait than chickens do, however, she will sit on her eggs for approximately 28 days before a poult will hatch.
What Do Turkey Eggs Look Like?
Turkey eggs are larger than chicken eggs and are a little bit pointier. They are usually off-white with speckles.
A turkey eggshell is thicker than a chicken’s, and much more difficult to crack open.
Are Turkey Eggs Safe to Eat?
Yes! In fact, most bird or poultry eggs are safe to eat…and delicious to boot!
Turkey eggs don’t taste much different than a chicken egg. Some people prefer them and eat them on a regular basis.
The only difference between a chicken and a turkey egg, when it comes to flavor, is that turkey eggs have a slightly stronger flavor, and the texture is a tad creamier.
Some compare them to duck eggs, stating they are extremely similar in flavor and texture.
Why Don’t More People Eat Turkey Eggs?
Americans eat a lot of turkeys, especially around turkey day. We eat turkey on Thanksgiving, as a deli meat, dehydrated, and in soups. So why don’t we eat the eggs more often?
Well, there are a few different ways to look at it.
1. Turkey Eggs Are Unfamiliar
People tend to get squeamish about eating something that’s new to them. More and more people are aware of where their food comes from and anything foreign makes them uncomfortable.
The truth is, turkey eggs are safe to eat, and quite delicious, so it’s a shame more people aren’t willing to try them.
2. Selling Eggs is a Waste of Time
That depends upon who you ask, right? But many turkey farmers don’t want to waste the time to produce and sell turkey eggs. In a way, it’s not very efficient because of the time it takes turkeys to produce and hatch eggs. A lot of this ties in with the fact that the market just isn’t there for turkey eggs.
3. Turkeys are Expensive
Turkeys are bigger than chickens, and take more time and effort to raise. They mature slowly and don’t start laying until they are older. Time is money in the food industry, and many farmers don’t want to waste time on turkey eggs.
While chickens can start laying at 5 months, if conditions are right, turkeys can take about 7, so you can see that egg production would be much slower.
Where Can I Get Turkey Eggs?
That’s a tough nut to crack, but if you’re willing to do the legwork, you’ll be able to get your hands on some turkey eggs.
Check with local farmers, farmers markets, or start stalking your wild turkey population…just kidding on that last one. You never know how long eggs have been sitting, especially since hens collect their eggs.
In conclusion, turkeys do lay eggs, they’re safe to eat, and they taste delicious. Here’s hoping you get to try your own turkey eggs for breakfast someday!