Why Don’t We Eat Turkey Eggs?

With Christmas just around the corner, at BC Farm Fresh we got to wondering why we’ve never seen fresh turkey eggs offered for sale at our local farms or in the local grocery stores.

Statistics Canada estimates that the average Canadian eats 19.4 dozen eggs per year; that’s 233 eggs! There’s no doubt that Canadians love our eggs.

The answers come out….

Turkey eggs are totally edible. They taste remarkably similar to chicken eggs. They are slightly bigger, the shell slightly tougher, and the membrane between the shell and the egg slightly thicker, but otherwise, not too different.

BC produced more than 1.5 million kilos of turkey meat in 2015.  Turkey is the fourth-most-popular meat in the country, behind only chicken, beef, and pork. There are plenty of turkeys around, so why don’t we see turkey eggs on store shelves?

The answer turns out to be a combination of factors.

  • Turkeys lay eggs much less frequently than other poultry; a chicken or a duck lays about one egg per day, but a turkey lays at most about two eggs per week.
  • Turkeys are much bigger birds, so they are more expensive to raise than their smaller poultry cousins – they require much more space and food per bird than chickens.
  • Turkeys are slow to start laying. Turkeys take about 7 months before they start laying eggs as compared to about five months for chickens.  With current feed, housing and land prices, those extra few months are costly.

The bottom line; because of the cost of production and scarcity; turkey eggs are too valuable to be eaten as fresh table eggs. They are saved to breed more turkeys.

So enjoy your turkey this Christmas and don’t worry about turkey eggs anymore.