What Is The Difference between Turkey and Chicken?

What is the difference between turkey and chicken? Turkeys do not have feathers on their necks and heads while chickens have feathers on their necks and heads.

Turkey and chicken have been liked and eaten by many people because of their delicious meat. They are both classified as poultry. They have many things in common although they are different from each other.

Both are delicious and highly rich in proteins. It can be baked, grilled, or roasted. Both are low in calorie content and fats as compared to beef. They both have lean meat.

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Difference Between Turkey and Chicken With Table

Characteristics Turkey Chicken
Size They are bigger in size with long tail feathers. They are small with a frill on top of their head.
Sound produced They make a gobbling sound. They make clucking sounds.
Color They are dark-colored birds. They are colorful and the males are brighter.
Necks and heads They do not have feathers on their necks and heads. They have feathers on their necks and heads.
Color of eggs They are buff-colored brown eggs. Their eggs are white in color.
Meat The meat is darker. The meat is mainly white in color.
Number of calories It contains fewer calories. It contains more calories.

What is Turkey?

Turkey, in the context you are referring to, is a type of poultry and a popular domesticated bird known scientifically as Meleagris gallopavo. Turkeys are widely raised for their meat, feathers, and eggs, and they have cultural and culinary significance in many parts of the world. Here’s a detailed definition and explanation for better understanding:

Physical Characteristics:

Size: Turkeys are large birds, with adult males (toms) typically being larger than females (hens). Toms can weigh anywhere from 16 to 30 pounds (7 to 13.6 kilograms), while hens generally weigh between 8 to 12 pounds (3.6 to 5.4 kilograms).

Plumage: Turkeys have a variety of plumage colors and patterns depending on their breed. Wild turkeys in North America have brownish or iridescent bronze plumage with characteristic wattles (fleshy protuberances on the head and neck) and a fan-shaped tail.

Habitat and Distribution:

Domestication: Turkeys are native to North America and were domesticated by indigenous peoples centuries ago. They have since been bred in many countries worldwide.

Wild Turkeys: In their natural habitat, wild turkeys are found in forests, grasslands, and wooded areas across North America.

Diet and Behavior:

Omnivorous: Turkeys are omnivorous birds with a diet that includes a variety of foods such as seeds, nuts, insects, and vegetation. Domesticated turkeys are often fed a diet of grains and commercial poultry feed.

Behavior: Turkeys are social birds that often form flocks, particularly during the non-breeding season. They are known for their vocalizations, including the famous gobbling call made by male turkeys during the breeding season.

Breeding and Reproduction:

Mating Rituals: During the breeding season, male turkeys display to attract females, puffing up their plumage, fanning their tails, and vocalizing.

Nesting: Hens build nests on the ground and lay a clutch of eggs, typically ranging from 10 to 15 eggs.

Incubation: The eggs are incubated by the hen for about 28 days until they hatch into poults (young turkeys).

Culinary Significance:

Roasting: Turkey is often roasted whole and served as the centerpiece of holiday meals, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Roast turkey is typically seasoned and cooked until the meat is tender and flavorful.

Versatility: Turkey meat is used in a wide range of dishes, from sandwiches and soups to ground turkey for burgers and meatballs.

Economic and Cultural Importance:

Economic Contribution: Turkey farming is a significant part of the poultry industry in many countries, contributing to the production of meat, feathers, and eggs.

Cultural Traditions: Turkeys have cultural significance in various traditions and celebrations, particularly in the United States, where Thanksgiving feasts often feature roast turkey as a symbol of gratitude and abundance.

What is Chicken?

Chicken refers to domesticated fowl belonging to the species Gallus gallus domesticus. Chickens are among the most widely raised and consumed poultry birds worldwide, prized for their meat, eggs, and feathers. They are a vital source of protein and have significant cultural and economic importance. Here’s a detailed definition and explanation for better understanding:

Physical Characteristics:

Size: Chickens vary in size depending on their breed and purpose. They typically range from small bantams, which can be as small as a few pounds, to larger breeds like the broilers, which can weigh up to 10 pounds or more.

Plumage: Chickens come in various plumage colors and patterns. Their feathers can be white, brown, black, or a combination of colors, depending on the breed.

Habitat and Domestication:

Origins: Chickens are believed to have been domesticated from wild junglefowl in Southeast Asia over 8,000 years ago.

Global Distribution: Domesticated chickens are now found in virtually every country and have adapted to a wide range of environments, from rural farms to urban settings.

Diet and Behavior:

Omnivorous: Chickens are omnivores, meaning they consume a varied diet that includes grains, seeds, insects, small animals, and plant matter. Commercially raised chickens are typically fed a diet of grains and formulated poultry feed.

Social Behavior: Chickens are social birds that often live in flocks. They have a pecking order within the group, with a dominant hierarchy established through pecking and aggressive behaviors.


Egg Production: Hens are prolific egg layers and can produce a consistent supply of eggs when properly managed. The egg-laying frequency varies among breeds but typically ranges from a few eggs per week to nearly daily.

Incubation: Fertilized eggs can be incubated and hatched to produce new chicks. Alternatively, some hens may go broody (showing a strong desire to hatch eggs) and incubate eggs naturally.

Culinary Significance:

Meat: Chickens are raised for their meat, known as chicken or poultry, which is consumed worldwide in various forms, including roasted, fried, grilled, stewed, and as an ingredient in numerous dishes.

Eggs: Chicken eggs are a primary source of high-quality protein and are used in cooking and baking in various culinary traditions. They are also processed into products like mayonnaise and pasta.

Economic and Cultural Importance:

Economic Contribution: Chicken farming is a significant component of the global poultry industry, providing meat and eggs to a large portion of the world’s population.

Cultural Significance: Chickens have cultural and culinary significance in many societies and cuisines, with dishes like fried chicken, chicken curry, and coq au vin being popular examples.

Breeds and Varieties:

Chickens come in numerous breeds, each with its own characteristics, including size, plumage, and purpose (meat, eggs, ornamental).

Some well-known chicken breeds include the Rhode Island Red, Leghorn, Cornish, and Plymouth Rock.

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Main Differences between Turkey and Chicken

  1. Turkeys are bigger in size with long tail feathers while chickens are smaller in size with a frill on top of their heads.
  2. Turkeys produce gobbling sounds while chickens produce clucking sounds.
  3. Turkeys are dark-colored birds while chickens are brightly colored birds especially males.
  4. Turkeys do not have feathers on their heads and necks while chickens have feathers on their heads and necks.
  5. Turkey’s meat is darker while chickens’ meat is mainly white in color.
  6. Turkeys meat contains little amount of calories as compared to chickens’ meat.

Similarities between Turkey and Chicken

  1. They both belong to the same family.
  2. They both have feathers on their bodies.
  3. Both are omnivores.
  4. They both lay eggs.

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In Conclusion

In conclusion, turkeys and chickens are two distinct poultry species with several notable differences in terms of size, appearance, taste, and culinary uses.

Turkeys are generally larger birds, with adult turkeys weighing significantly more than adult chickens. Their larger size makes them suitable for larger gatherings and special occasions, such as Thanksgiving. Chickens, on the other hand, are smaller and more commonly used in everyday cooking.

In terms of appearance, turkeys have a distinctive fan-shaped tail and wattles (fleshy protuberances on the head and neck), while chickens have a more compact appearance with a variety of feather colors and patterns.

The taste of turkey meat is often described as richer and slightly gamier than chicken meat. Turkey is a popular choice for roasting, especially during holiday feasts, while chicken is more commonly used in a wide range of everyday dishes due to its versatility and mild flavor.

Culturally and culinarily, turkeys and chickens have different associations. Turkeys are closely linked with Thanksgiving and other festive occasions, whereas chickens are a staple in many cuisines worldwide and are used in a wide variety of dishes, from fried chicken to chicken soup.

While both turkey and chicken are excellent sources of lean protein, these differences in size, appearance, taste, and culinary uses make them unique and versatile options for various culinary preferences and occasions.

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