Turkeys are large and majestic birds native to North America but found across the world. These birds can be found out in the wild but are nowadays domesticated. Turkeys reproduce by laying eggs that hatch after a certain period.

Usually, a female turkey will lay a clutch of 5-15 eggs in each production cycle. But, the size of the clutch depends on the turkey breed. Some breeds like the wild turkey can lay a clutch of 10 to 14 eggs, while the ocellated turkey can lay 8 to 15 eggs.

In this article, you will learn more about turkeys, their eggs, and the poults.

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How Many Eggs Do Turkeys Lay in a Year?

Many people keep turkeys as domestic birds. These majestic creatures are quite a sight and can make fantastic pets. One female turkey can lay 100 eggs in a year.

The moment a female turkey is old enough to lay eggs, she starts preparing a nest. Turkeys love laying eggs on the ground in a lovingly made nest with straw and dry grass. When the female completes laying the eggs, she goes broody and sits on them.

If there’s no male around to fertilize the eggs, you can pick them for breakfast. Frankly, these eggs are nutritious and safe for people to eat.

turkey eggs
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How Many Turkey Eggs Survive?

Like many other birds, the survival rate of turkey eggs varies. Turkeys out in the wild are more exposed to predators out to raid their nests. Predators like snakes, skunks, foxes, weasels, raccoons, and coyotes love eggs. These animals wouldn’t think twice about whipping clean a turkey nest when they come across one full of eggs.

In the wild, only around 10% to 40% of turkey eggs will survive. Remember, turkeys prefer making their nests on the ground. It’s not easy to protect a nest in such a setting when so many predators are around.

However, domesticated turkeys have it better since their nests are safe. Mostly, they lay their eggs in safe enclosures and can hatch up to 17 eggs per a clutch of 18 eggs.

How Often Do Turkeys Lay Eggs?

Turkeys take time to lay a clutch of eggs before they can incubate them. A female turkey will lay 1 egg per day. It means she will require 14 days or 2 weeks to complete laying her clutch. Only then will the turkey go broody and sit on her eggs.

Turkey eggs are large, but the female turkey is big enough to incubate her clutch completely. At this point, she will stay away from the rest of the flock and isolate herself. Her routine, once she goes broody, is sitting on the eggs.

Occasionally, the female turkey will stand up to stretch her legs, excrete, eat and drink before resuming her position. Only after the eggs hatch will she get up from the nest to start moving about frequently. Turkeys want to stay near the nest when eating, especially in the wild.

In case of any sign of danger, the female turkey will make lots of loud noises. All this is to scare away the predator and keep her eggs safe. Also, she doesn’t want to go too far away because the eggs can get cold, which is bad for proper incubation.

female turkey in long grass
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Do Turkeys Lay Eggs Without a Male?

Like most birds, a mature female turkey (5 or 6 months old) will lay an egg each day. This happens whether there is a male turkey around or not.

The main purpose of a male turkey is fertilization. Without a male fertilizing the egg, it won’t hatch into a chick when the female turkey incubates it. Therefore, you can still get turkey eggs to eat even if you don’t want a male around.

Male turkeys tend to be a handful which is why some people prefer raising females only. Because of their size, they tend to have a bad temperament and can even attack you.

Can a Turkey Lay Two Eggs in a Day?

Turkeys lay large eggs. It may take a female turkey more than 24 hours to make one egg. So, there’s no chance of her laying more than one egg in a day. This is most evident in domestic turkeys that have a much better environment.

Out in the wild, things are much more different. A wild female turkey can lay only 3 eggs per week. It means she will take much longer to complete laying a clutch of eggs. She can’t lay an egg a day and still be healthy while she still has to search for food.

white turley eggs in a nest
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What Months Do Turkeys Lay Eggs?

Turkeys are originally from North America, where the seasons include long winter months. This is why female turkeys wait until spring to start laying their eggs. By this time, the days are getting longer, and the weather is more favorable.

You’ll notice your female turkeys laying eggs from early March to late April. At this time, mating activities are high and the male turkeys put on splendid displays and fights. Once a female turkey finishes laying her clutch, she will incubate the eggs for 28 days before welcoming poults.

What Breed of Turkeys Lay the Most Eggs?

There are many breeds of turkeys you can come across. Each breed lays a certain number of eggs. Among them, the Bourbon Red comes out as the one that lays the most eggs. The female of this breed can lay 90 to 120 eggs a year.

Domesticated Bourbon Red is known to have a much higher production rate of 160 to 180 eggs. Adding to that are the Beltsville White turkeys that lay 150 to 180 eggs in a year. Other breeds like Bronze and Royal Palm lay between 100 to 155 eggs in a year.

Knowing the egg-laying rate is crucial if you want to keep the birds for eggs or chicks.

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How Many Babies Do Turkeys Have?

From a clutch of eggs, a female turkey will incubate and hatch poults after 28 days. It’s not easy to predict how many eggs will hatch. But, it’s worth pointing out that the environment and experience matter.

Young female turkeys sitting on their first clutch might have a lower hatching rate than older ones. The older turkeys have much more experience. Not to mention, they know where to set the best nest to keep the eggs safe.

Another factor is the environment. Out in the wild, things are quite unpredictable. A female can abandon a nest early because of imminent danger in the area. It means no eggs will hatch from that clutch.

How Long Do Baby Turkeys Stay with their Mother?

Turkeys mature at around 5 to 6 months which is when the females start to lay eggs. The female will raise her chicks from a day old to 4 or 5 months. By this time, they’re old enough to fend for themselves. Once they leave her side, she can resume laying another clutch in March and April.

turkey chicks on a log
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Turkey Lifespan (The 3 Factors)

Every animal dies at some point. The same is true for turkeys. However, it’s worth pointing out that wild and domesticated turkeys vary in terms of life expectancy. Wild turkeys only get to live between 4 to 5 years while their domesticated counterparts can live up to 10 years.

There are so many factors that contribute to the lower life expectancy of a wild turkey. These include:

1. Predators

Out in the wild, it’s survival for the fittest. Turkeys have very many natural predators that wouldn’t hesitate to kill even a mature male turkey. These include bobcats, foxes, snakes, coyotes, hawks, crows, eagles, and many more.

These predators eat everything from the egg of the turkey to an adult bird. Nesting females are more vulnerable since they’re on the ground and might not have time to escape an attack. The same is true when she has small chicks that cannot fly away or fight off smaller predators like raccoons.

2. Loss of Habitat

Human-animal conflicts have existed for centuries. As the human population grows, the number of wild turkeys drops. Loss of habitat to create settlement leaves the wild bird with no place to call home.

3. Hunting

Hunting turkeys takes place from early spring when mating season starts. The birds are more exposed to hunters during this time. Though they must adhere to hunting laws, it’s not illegal to hunt wild turkeys.

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There are different breeds of turkeys. However, all of them lay one clutch of eggs in a year. The number of eggs in a clutch depends on the breed. A mature female turkey can lay from 8 to 15 eggs in a single clutch.

Today, there are wild and domesticated turkeys. Wild ones tend to take longer to lay eggs than domesticated turkeys that lay an egg a day. The incubation period lasts 28 days, after which the eggs hatch into chicks that stay with their mother for about 4 to 5 months.

Featured Image Credit: Nurlan Mammadzada, Shutterstock