Thursday, November 25, 2010

Speckly eggs

I hope my fellow Americans had an enjoyable Thanksgiving feast. I got off to several false starts on the blog today trying to tie in the holiday theme, but the question that piqued my Mom's and my interest was, "Why don't we eat turkey eggs?" The answers are several, and interrelated:
  • Most turkeys are raised for their meat and have been bred to maximize its production. Male turkeys now have such large breasts that it is impossible to breed turkeys naturally.
  • Turkeys are commercially slaughtered between 12 and 26 weeks of age, which is several weeks shy of egg-laying age.
  • The cost of raising turkeys for their eggs would be prohibitive. Besides taking up twice the space of a chicken and still having a desire to brood their eggs which has been bred out of the white leghorn chicken, turkeys require twice as much feed to produce one third the number of eggs (100-120 per year).
  • On smaller ranches, the farmers explain that they eat the unfertilized eggs laid before breeding season, but they hope the fertilized eggs will mature into poults.
  • Being of a different size (they are the large speckled ones in the image above), turkey eggs wouldn't fit the modern apparatus for getting eggs to market, nor would they equate to chicken eggs in recipes once they reach the kitchen.
  • It is also apparently illegal to eat wild turkey eggs.
For all these reasons, turkey eggs for consumption are a novelty. What do they taste like? Why, chicken of course!


  1. Quigley - you slay me. I love the curiosity of your mind! Now that you've pointed it out, it is of course an obvious question but one I'm ashamed to say I never pondered before! Another problem that occurs to me, now I'm thinking about it a lot, is: should the Turkey egg be brought to commercial market it will create the need for massive culinary revisions regarding quantity conversions for recipes. (e.g. "beat 8 (chicken) or 2 (turkey) eggs until blended...") Although I wouldn't mind being able to make a quiche with only a single ova to hand....

  2. Love your blog and thanks for the link...

    Liked the joke in the last line, but personally I think they are more like duck eggs. Hope you get to try one some time. They are delicious!


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