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Why Can’t You Buy Turkey Eggs?

Why Can't We Buy Turkey Eggs

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Why Can’t You Buy Turkey Eggs?

Chicken eggs are incredibly common, they can be found at virtually every grocery store. Some ethnic and variety shops will offer even more exotic types of eggs, like quail and duck. The one kind of egg that you almost never see, however, is turkey eggs.

Turkey meat can be found at just about every grocery store. You can purchase turkey lunch meat from the deli, turkey breasts or even an entire turkey to roast for Thanksgiving meals. Is there a reason why we cannot readily buy turkey eggs? Are they bad for you, or do they simply not taste good?

It’s Economics

Turkey eggs won’t make you sick, they taste fine and are not anymore unhealthy than chicken eggs. The biggest factor keeping you from enjoying turkey eggs is simple economics – supply and demand.

Turkeys don’t lay nearly as many eggs as chickens. They actually produce very few eggs. So the ones that are produced are used by turkey farmers for creating more turkeys. The average chicken lays around 300 or so eggs per year, but the average turkey is lucky to clock in at around 100.

Time of production is also a large factor. Where chickens don’t start laying eggs until 19 weeks of age, turkeys don’t become mature enough to lay eggs until 32 weeks.Eggs

The size of the bird must also be taken into account. Turkeys are much larger than chickens, averaging a whopping 17 pounds compared to measly 3.5 pounds for chickens. A larger bird means you would need much more room for a turkey that would take longer to produce substantially fewer eggs.

Moody Birds

The domesticity of the turkey (or lack thereof) also plays a role in the economics. Turkeys can become ‘broody’ easily. This means that they want to sit on their eggs, protect and incubate them. Chickens on the other hand, have had the ‘broodiness’ bred out of them over the course of perhaps thousands of years. Chickens can lay eggs and then have absolutely no desire to incubate their offspring or otherwise be maternal or play mother.

You will be glad to know that there isn’t a conspiracy keeping you from enjoying turkey eggs, and there’s nothing wrong with them from a food standpoint – they just aren’t worth it for farmers to mass produce. Farmers would take a substantial loss trying to bring turkey eggs to your breakfast plate. That isn’t to say turkey eggs can’t be found; some organic farmers markets will occasionally offer them, as well as local food collectives.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Barb H

    July 10, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    I’d actually like to fry up a turkey egg omelet one of these days. They probably wouldn’t taste that much different from chicken eggs. They do look bigger though. I think it’s even possible to buy ostrich eggs. I wonder how expensive they are. It reminds me of that one skit on Chappelle show were he fries up some dinosaur eggs for breakfast. Anyone know where you can buy turkey eggs? Someone has to sell them I imagine. I’m always in the mood to try new and exotic things.

    • JF

      November 16, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      Turkey eggs taste very much like chicken eggs. The slight difference, to me, favors the turkey. The turkey egg, seems to be at least twice the size of a chicken egg. While fewer eggs are produced, the larger size should be considered when making an economic comparison. My knowledge of eating turkey eggs is strictly anecdotal. I can’t offer any information regarding nutritional value, however, I suspect it is much the same as chicken eggs.

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