The Tremendous Turkey by Dr. Karl Nestor
These two egg stacks show the results of 43 generations of selection for egg production. The production period is 250 days. The average hen in the unselected line (left stack) lays about 80 eggs and the average hen in the line selected for high egg production lays about 198 eggs.
This photo shows some variations in turkey egg pigmentation and size, the 3 smaller eggs are from a line selected for high egg production for 43 generations. Note these eggs also have less pigmentation.
All You Wanted to Know About Turkey Eggs and Were Afraid to Ask
Turkey eggs, although edible, are used primarily for reproduction. Turkey eggs are excellent for baking if a turkey egg is substituted for a chicken egg in the recipe. This is because the turkey egg is larger, has a larger yolk, and a larger percentage yolk than a chicken egg. If a similar composition of eggs is desired, two turkey eggs can be substituted for three chicken eggs. However, turkey eggs are rarely used for eating and cooking for two main reasons. The first is that they are too valuable for human consumption. The turkey hen is larger and requires more time to come into egg production than the chicken hen. After production starts, the turkey hen does not lay as many eggs as chickens so most are needed for reproduction. Also, because certain feed ingredients can be transferred by the hen to the egg, these ingredients must be cleared as safe by government agencies. Although many of the ingredients have been cleared for use in laying chicken hen feeds, these same ingredients have not been cleared for turkey hens, therefore these eggs can not be legally sold for human consumption. The turkey egg has thicker and tougher shell membranes and thicker shells than chicken eggs, making them more difficult to break than chicken eggs.
The weight of a turkey egg varies greatly, depending on the strain of bird. The average weight of a turkey hen’s egg can vary from 66 grams to over 110 grams. Genetic increases in body weight are associated with increases in egg weight and genetic increases in egg production are associated with decreases in egg weight. Egg weight increases with age of the hen and is influenced by several environmental factors. The average egg weight for a turkey hen is highly heritable and the weight can be changed rapidly, if desired, by selective breeding.