Each American consumes hundreds of eggs a year. Although some of those eggs are duck and quail eggs, the overwhelming majority are chicken eggs. Knowing this, you may wonder why we don’t eat other varieties of eggs as often, such as turkey eggs. How many eggs do turkeys lay, anyway?
Turkeys lay about two to three eggs per week, about 100 eggs per year. For the most part, turkeys are seasonal egg layers, waiting until the weather starts to warm in the early spring.
How Many Eggs Do Turkeys Lay?
While the number of eggs that turkeys lay may vary based on the season, turkeys do lay their eggs year-round. They just don’t do so consistently. For the most part, turkeys can be considered seasonal layers. Wild female turkeys usually wait until the warmer months, around March or April, to start laying their eggs when mating season is at its height.
As soon as a female turkey is mature enough to lay eggs, she prepares a nest. Once the broody hen is done laying them, the eggs roost in the turkey nest for 28 days before they begin to hatch. If there is no male to fertilize the eggs, you can pick them up and consume them.
That said, the survival rate of turkey eggs is a crucial point to understand. The survival rate of turkey eggs varies, but domestic turkeys are safe from predators, so almost all turkey eggs will hatch a baby turkey. In contrast, wild turkey eggs have a much lower survival rate, at 10% to 40%.
Turkeys lay fewer eggs than chickens, who, on average, lay five to six eggs per week. They also have a longer roosting time, at 28 days, versus a chicken’s 21 days. However, turkey eggs are significantly larger than chicken eggs – sometimes up to twice as large.
Another difference between turkey and chicken eggs is when each bird begins laying eggs.
When Do Turkeys Start Laying Eggs?
Turkeys start laying eggs at around seven months, later than chickens, which begin laying eggs at approximately 18 to 22 weeks old.
Learning all of this new information about turkey eggs might have you wondering: why don’t we eat turkey eggs? Let’s find out.
Why Don’t We Eat Turkey Eggs?
People do, in fact, eat turkey eggs. They describe them as tasting similar to a chicken egg but creamier and heartier. You only need one turkey egg to get what you’d get from two or even three chicken eggs!
However, you won’t easily find turkey eggs in supermarkets. There are a few reasons why turkey eggs aren’t as common as chicken eggs, the main reason being economical.
Turkey eggs are not as profitable as chicken eggs for a few reasons. First, turkeys don’t produce eggs until about seven months, meaning you need to feed them during that time. Considering what large creatures turkeys are, it takes a lot to feed them over those seven months, especially considering that they don’t lay that many eggs.
This has a domino effect. If turkey eggs are more costly to produce, they’ll have to sell at a higher price. However, few people would be ready to purchase turkey eggs at a higher price, especially in comparison to chicken eggs.
One reason that people are less likely to purchase turkey eggs is another reason why they aren’t usually sold: unfamiliarity. People don’t commonly see turkey eggs as an option, and it’s questionable how many people would even switch from their chicken eggs to turkey eggs. It’s just more profitable to fertilize the turkey eggs to produce more turkey meat – which is heavily consumed.
Finally, turkeys just don’t lay enough eggs to sell at the supermarket. That said, if you are interested in getting your hand on some turkey eggs, your local farm would most likely be happy to sell some to you, ensuring that you get the freshest eggs.
Recap: How Many Eggs Do Turkeys Lay?
To recap, turkeys lay about 100 eggs per year, much less than chickens. Unlike chickens, turkeys aren’t bred for their eggs, and their eggs are less profitable than the turkey meat itself.
Hopefully, this article has answered more than “how many eggs turkeys lay” and piqued your curiosity about turkeys. Make sure to share your new turkey facts with the table for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner!