The turkey occupies a conspicuous and important role in American culture, most notably as the main entrée on millions of Thanksgiving tables each year. History tells us that, if Ben Franklin had his way, the turkey would have ousted the bald eagle as our national bird. People love to “talk turkey,” as so many seasonal articles just like this one will tell you. But no one loves to “talk turkey eggs.” Why is that? In grocery stores you can find pretty much any other kind: quail eggs, duck eggs, and even ostrich eggs are on offer. But though turkeys lays eggs that reportedly taste very similar to the standard chicken egg, turkey eggs are never in the grocery chiller aisle, not even at Whole Foods.
Turns out that it's for a simple reason: economics. Turkeys lay eggs at a far slower rate than your average chicken. We’re talking one or two eggs a week versus a standard hen’s one-per-day. The entire turkey egg-laying process costs way more in factories, since the birds require much larger amounts of food and living space than their hen counterparts. It’ll generally take about seven months for turkeys to start laying their first eggs, whereas chickens only take an average of five months to begin producing. All told, this means that a single turkey egg could end up costing shoppers around $3—the same price as nearly two dozen chicken eggs in most areas of the country.
Also, while turkey eggs are close to chicken eggs, a Modern Farmer article points out a crucial difference: “They [the eggs] are slightly bigger, the shell slightly tougher, and the membrane between the shell and the egg slightly thicker, but otherwise, not too different.” Not too different? That’s plenty different enough, thank you very much. The last thing America needs right now as we nurse our political hangovers is the thought of thick turkey membranes in our three-egg omelets.
So this week, while you gather around the table with friends and family, hoping no one brings up anything remotely associated with recent news headlines, take comfort in knowing that there are still ties that bind us all together. We may come from different political backgrounds, different faiths, and different lifestyles, but we can at least all agree on one thing: None of us eat turkey eggs.