What Does a Wild Turkey Egg Look Like? A Comprehensive Guide

Since springtime for hunters signifies the start of the “turkey year,” let’s follow turkey activity from spring to fall.

By the time the spring turkey hunting season begins on April 15, the breeding season’s peak has already passed. Toms will breed in the spring and early summer with several hens. When the eggs hatch, the hen will construct a ground nest near an excellent brood habitat—typically, an opening in the forest canopy—and in an area with adequate cover.

A hen will begin laying when she is about 24 to 32 hours old, and it will take her two weeks to lay a full clutch of nine to thirteen eggs. The hen will concentrate on eating and gaining weight in order to survive the impending incubation period in between laying eggs.

After all of the eggs are laid, the hen will spend roughly 28 days incubating them day and night. Only an occasional midday snack of protein-rich insects interrupts incubation.

Poults, or newly hatched chicks, can walk shortly after hatching and typically depart the nest in 12 to 24 hours. Young poults can fly short distances after eight to fourteen days and begin to roost in trees.

A hen doesn’t need to rebreed if she loses a clutch soon after laying because the sperm from the first mating can survive for up to 30 days. When a newly hatched brood of turkeys appears in late August or early September, hunters may assume that this is the hen’s second or third clutch. Actually, it’s more likely that the hen has just renested after losing a brood.

The first ten days of a young turkey’s life pose the greatest threat to its survival. If their down gets wet from rain, hypothermia is likely. Additionally, bobcats, coyotes, skunks, raccoons, ravens, crows, hawks, and even stray cats can prey on them.

Wild turkeys are iconic birds found throughout North America, renowned for their impressive size and distinctive gobbles. But what about their eggs? What do these vital components of the wild turkey lifecycle look like? Let’s delve into the fascinating world of wild turkey eggs, exploring their appearance, size, color, and other intriguing details.


Wild turkey eggs are remarkably smooth, lacking the glossy sheen often seen in chicken eggs. Their surface boasts a matte finish, providing a subtle yet elegant touch.


These eggs are no small feat, measuring approximately 59 x 45 mm to 68.5 x 46 mm. However, occasional variations in size do occur, with some eggs falling outside this typical range.


The color palette of wild turkey eggs encompasses a range of hues, from pale to buffy-white. These subtle shades are often adorned with delicate markings, typically reddish-brown or light pink dots. These dots add a touch of natural artistry to the eggs, making each one unique.

Number of Eggs:

A typical wild turkey clutch consists of 10-12 eggs, with the hen laying one egg per day. Interestingly, there’s usually a one-day break between the first and second egg, adding a curious rhythm to the laying process.


The incubation period for wild turkey eggs lasts approximately 28 days. During this time, the dedicated mother turkey diligently sits on the eggs, providing warmth and protection until the tiny poults emerge.

Nesting Location:

Wild turkeys exhibit a strong preference for nesting on the ground, typically choosing secluded spots at the base of trees or within dense undergrowth. These locations offer camouflage and protection for the vulnerable eggs.

Parental Care:

After hatching, the mother turkey continues to play a crucial role in the lives of her young. She guides and protects her poults, teaching them essential survival skills and ensuring their well-being.


Wild turkey eggs and poults face a range of predators, including raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and even domestic cats. These threats highlight the importance of the mother turkey’s protective instincts and the resilience of these remarkable birds.

Wild turkey eggs are fascinating marvels of nature, playing a vital role in the continuation of this iconic species. Their unique appearance, size, and color add to the intrigue of these birds, reminding us of the wonders of the natural world.

Winter flocks and migration

Hens and their developing poults will join other hens and poults as summer goes on. Simultaneously, adult toms create solitary groups, frequently with similar age groups. Turkey flocks can reach 200 birds or more by the winter.

Turkeys in low elevation habitats, like valley floors, don’t need to migrate when winter weather arrives because the winters there are generally mild. Turkeys will, however, migrate between lower and higher elevations as the weather varies in the spring and fall, especially at higher elevations where severe weather can endanger birds. In certain areas of central and eastern Oregon, this is particularly true.

Prolonged winter storms are the leading cause of mortality for adult turkeys, as the crusted ice prevents them from finding food. However, turkeys are resilient animals that can spend several days in a tree, losing a significant amount of body fat while still surviving.

Toms can live up to five years under ideal circumstances (though they usually live two or three), and hens can live six to eight years. Nonetheless, an eight-year-old hen is uncommon and is equivalent to a person who is 100 years old.

What does wild turkey nesting cover look like?


Where do wild turkey lay their eggs?

They are a large-bodied bird; they stay up high because they’re a big source of protein. However, the female lays her eggs on the ground, typically in low vegetation that provides some concealment from predators. Regardless, the female is very susceptible to predation while nesting, and her nest is susceptible, too.

What time of year do turkeys lay eggs?

Most hens, regardless of age, will breed with a gobbler each spring. Egg laying begins in April, and each hen will lay a clutch of 11 to 12 eggs over a two-week period. She usually chooses the base of a large, mature tree or stump, such as an oak or beech, in fairly open, isolated woods.

What color are wild turkey eggs?

Clutch Size:
4-17 eggs
Incubation Period:
25-31 days
Nestling Period:
1 day
Egg Description:
Pale yellowish tan, evenly marked with reddish brown or pinkish spots.
Condition at Hatching:
Well-developed and covered with tawny, brown, pinkish, and gray down.

Do wild turkeys sit on their eggs at night?

Hens lay 9 to 13 eggs over a period of two weeks and incubate the eggs by sitting on the nest night and day for about 28 days. All the eggs in the nest hatch on the same day, so that the young turkeys can immediately follow their mother to food, water and safety. Humans are the primary predator of adult wild turkeys.

What do wild turkey eggs look like?

Wild turkey eggs range in size from 59 x 45 mm to 68.5 x 46 mm. Abnormalities do occur, such as smaller than average egg size. The eggshell is smooth with a matte finish. Colors range from pale to tan, marked with reddish-brown or pale pink dots.

What does a wild turkey look like?

Wild turkeys are large birds with long legs, long necks and large fan-shaped tails. They have short, rounded wings. Male wild turkeys have dark, metallic feathers.

How long do wild turkeys lay eggs?

Wild turkeys nest for about 28 days, from the time the last egg is laid to when the poults hatch. Once hatched, the female remains on the nest for another two weeks, until her young can fly. After this period, hens and chicks roost in trees at night. What month do Wild Turkeys lay eggs? The timing of egg laying largely depends on the region.

What is the difference between a chicken and a Turkey?

First of all, while a chicken usually lays one egg every day, a turkey only lays about two eggs per week. Turkeys also require more food and more space than chickens (because they’re usually bigger than chickens). And while chickens start laying eggs when they are 5 months old, turkeys don’t start laying until they hit about 7 months.

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