Turkey eggs are one of the rare delicacies you will find at your local hotel. These birds are good for meat rather than they are for eggs.
They are not prolific layers and will only lay a few of them at a particular laying season. These will be only enough for hatching and not for food.
Ben Franklin had suggested that turkeys be crowned the national bird in America. This is because of their popularity especially being the top on all thanksgiving delicacies.
Turkeys are very popular with the Americans even dating back to history years ago; you will learn that this native bird was still domesticated. But why do we raise turkeys? The answer could be meat, eggs or as pets.
In this article, I will indulge more on turkey eggs so don’t go away. Let’s roll!
Turkey hens lay large eggs almost twice the size of an average chicken egg. On a good year, a hen will lay 100 eggs translating this to 2 eggs per week. Most of these eggs will be laid in the spring as this is their mating and breeding season.
Due to the fact that turkeys will lay a few eggs each year compared to chickens that can lay an egg daily, turkey eggs are rare to find in grocery stores.
Additionally, because of the rarity factor, turkey eggs are very expensive to buy making many egg consumers go for chicken eggs.
Most turkey farmers will use the few eggs laid for hatching rather than for food. This is because these birds are prized and fetch good prices when butchered for meat. However, these eggs are good to eat and are used as a delicacy by some.
Can turkeys lay without a male?
Turkey hens are capable of laying eggs without being mated by toms. However, these kinds of eggs laid without males are not fertile and cannot be incubated because they will not hatch into poults.
Unfertile turkey eggs will only be good for eating but not hatching. If you have hens without toms be ready to get eggs when the right time comes but be sure they will never hatch.
Female turkeys will start to lay when they are sexually mature even without mating. Their bodies will produce and develop the eggs that are infertile because they have not mated with male turkeys.
This trait is common in all birds unlike mammals that will not give birth without mating. For fertilization to take place, female cells must meet with mature male cells (sperms).
If you want to know whether the eggs are fertile, crack them open and you will see a small white spot on the yolk. This white spot is called the germinal disc.
What do turkey eggs look like?
Turkey eggs are creamy white in color and large than chicken eggs. Additionally, they have yellow or brown speckles and a pointed edge.
Female Midget white turkeys will mostly lay in nesting boxes in the turkey coop. However, a clever hen will make her nesting area in the bushes where they cannot be easily seen.
The egg shell is hard to crack due to a thicker shell membrane but the interior looks similar to that of chicken eggs. Compared to chicken eggs, these eggs have a thicker yolk and are much creamier.
Since Black Spanish turkey eggs are large in size, they are expensive than chicken or duck eggs. However, you will rarely get them in grocery stores because there is no specific turkey breed kept for egg production.
Are they edible?
The answer is yes. These eggs are edible and I love them for breakfast especially during the laying season as they are available.
My Black Spanish turkeys often lay but sometimes become cunning and decide to nest in the bush only to emerge with baby turkeys after hatching.
The reason why some think turkey eggs are not eaten is because they are not available in grocery stores like other poultry eggs.
Some eggs laid by breeds like the broad breasted turkeys have a very high hatch rate. This makes them preferred for hatching rather than eating.
The cost of producing turkey eggs is higher than you can imagine and this makes them very expensive to buy. A single turkey egg will cost you $3 or more making them not affordable to many.
Also comparing this, a farmer will prefer to raise his turkeys for meat because they will be ready for slaughter at 14 weeks compared to 32 weeks it will take for a hen to lay her first egg.
A farmer keeping turkey breeds for eggs will have an additional of 16 weeks to provide food and other basic needs to his flock.
This means an extra cost will be incurred compared to a farmer who kept them for meat. By the time the hens start laying, the meat farmer will be slaughtering his second batch.
Nutritional value of turkey eggs
Because of their size, turkey eggs double chicken eggs in almost everything. Study the comparison below and see the difference.
Turkey egg Chicken egg
- 135 calories 75 calories
- 11 grams of protein 6 grams of
- 9 grams of fat 5 grams of fat
- 737 milligrams cholesterol 207 milligrams cholesterol
The recommended daily amount of cholesterol intake is 300 milligrams. This tells how much cholesterol ends up in your body when you eat a single turkey egg.
Where can you buy turkey eggs?
Since these eggs are not common in grocery stores, you can get them from farmers who keep turkeys.
Another easy way for me I would advise that if you have some space available, start raising turkeys and this way you will be able to get eggs.
Raising turkeys will not only give you eggs but also meat and a source of income. Additionally, these birds will enrich your garden with their manure and help collect insects, weeds and leftover grain after harvesting.
Letting your Narragansett turkeys out to forage will help being down the cost of feeding them. They will also help add color on your backyard and make good pets for you and your kids.
In most cases, turkeys are not kept for eggs because they are not prolific layers. These birds are commonly housed in large barns where they are fattened with rich feeds for meat.
Although some people keep heritage turkeys, their primary aim is not eggs. A household will just have a few of these birds as pets or just for prestige.