Why aren’t turkey eggs on our daily table?

The turkey is a festive meat often associated with celebrations and special occasions.

Despite the popularity of its meat, especially during festivities like Thanksgiving, many wonder why we don’t see turkey eggs in our supermarkets or include them in our daily diet as we do with chicken eggs. The answer is based on a combination of historical, economic, and biological factors.

Production and profitability:

The main reason is economic. Hens are more efficient in egg production than turkey hens (female turkeys). A hen lays an egg almost every day, while a turkey hen produces eggs less frequently, about twice a week. This makes chicken egg production much more profitable and consistent.

Clutch size and nesting habits:

Turkey hens have a stronger maternal instinct than hens. Instead of laying eggs daily and leaving them, they tend to make a nest and accumulate a number of eggs before incubating them. This can complicate the regular collection of eggs for consumption.

Size and price:

Turkey eggs are larger than chicken eggs. While this might seem like an advantage, it can actually complicate matters. Culinary recipes are designed around the standard size of a chicken egg. Additionally, the cost of producing turkey eggs is higher, which would raise their market price compared to chicken eggs.

History and tradition:

Historically, turkeys were raised for their meat, while chickens were valued for both their meat and their eggs. These traditional roles have influenced our modern farming practices and consumption habits.

Texture and taste:

While turkey eggs are edible and some gourmets claim they are even tastier than chicken eggs, they have a denser texture. This difference in taste and texture might not be to everyone’s liking.

Market and demand:

Most consumers are accustomed to chicken eggs and do not actively seek alternatives. Without significant demand, producers have little incentive to shift their focus and offer turkey eggs on a large scale.

Although it’s rare to find turkey eggs in stores, those interested in trying something different can look for them in local farmer’s markets or specialized farms. There are no nutritional or safety reasons not to eat them. However, due to economic, production, and tradition factors, chicken eggs continue to dominate our kitchens and supermarkets.