When it comes to raising poultry for their eggs, you’ll want to understand how duck eggs compare to chicken eggs. Spoiler: Both are great!
Duck eggs vs. chicken eggs?
While we humans may note a number of differences between the eggs of chickens and ducks, our feathered friends do not, as evidenced by the image above. This little hideaway nest has been used by both chickens and ducks! The two brown eggs are from a chicken who’s managed to escape her confines and thought this looked like a great place to lay. Note that the ducks have made an effort to cover their nest with dried up weeds.
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Here are ten ways that duck eggs differ from chicken eggs — and why they just might be superior!
1. Duck eggs are bigger than chicken eggs
If you’ve ever bought eggs at the grocery store, you have a good idea how big chicken eggs are. Duck egg benefits number one: they’re 50% larger than a chicken egg. You’ll only need two duck eggs to make a standard omelet, where you’d need three from a chicken.
2. Duck eggs are sturdy
While chicken eggs are relatively easy to crack, these eggs have a thicker, stronger shell. This means you’ll have to give them a harder whack to crack them.
3. They stay fresh longer
Because of their thick shells, duck eggs tend to stay fresh longer than chicken eggs. Now there’s one caveat to this. We’ve found that ducks are really, really good at hiding their eggs. So when we find a nest, we’re never sure if they have maybe been hiding eggs there longer than we have been aware. What we think is a fresh nest might be one that they’ve returned to from months back. We’ve taken to cracking our duck eggs into a separate container instead of directly into other ingredients, just to be sure. We’ve been fooled enough to know better know!
4. Duck eggs are dirty
You may notice that these eggs look a bit…grubby. These waterfowl lay their eggs in tucked away corners, with no concern about rainy weather. They often pull plant material over the eggs to hide them. If it’s been raining, this can result in a nest of eggs that look like they’ve been rolled through a mud pit, even though they’re quite fresh.
5. They vary in color
Much like chicken eggs, ducks eggs can vary in color. They tend to be white, cream colored, ashy, or in the pale blue/green range. The nest you see in the image below is a ducks nest — with two brown chicken eggs.
Related: How to Raise Ducks
6. How do they taste?
Duck eggs do have a somewhat different flavor than you’re probably used to. I’ve heard the flavor described as “gamey” but I don’t find them to be unpalatable. Used in baking, I think you’d have to be a supertaster to notice a difference. You might notice a difference if you make plain scrambled eggs.
7. They’re nutrient dense
Ducks lay eggs with a higher fat content than chickens, they’re higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, and protein, too. They have nearly double the amount of calories compared to chicken eggs. They’re a great source of calories for people who strive to produce much of their own food on site. [More on self-reliance and survival gardening here.]
8. Bakers love them
The richness of duck eggs makes them a shoo-in for the best egg for baking. For custards, they can’t be beat. Cakes, muffins, and other baked goods all benefit from the higher protein content, making a richer, fluffier end product.
9. Duck eggs tend to be more expensive than chicken eggs
If you’re buying eggs, expect to pay 3-4 times the price you’d pay for chicken eggs. And unless you’re raising your own ducks, they’re more difficult to find. Check your local farmers market or get in touch with a 4H club that might have members raising ducks and selling eggs.
Interestingly, because ducks are so skilled at foraging, feeding ducks is often less expensive than feeding chickens.
10. Ducks don’t stop laying in the winter
When the days are short, chicken owners often ponder whether or not to use supplemental lighting in the coop to boost production. One of the greatest benefits of duck eggs is that ducks don’t care if it’s wet or cold or dark. They pretty much just keep on laying. Which means you’ll have access to fresh eggs even in the dead of winter. [Here’s more on keeping ducks in the winter.]