Duck Eggs vs. Chicken Eggs

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! 

Originally published January 2019; this post has been updated.

duck eggs in a bowl.

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 below.

duck eggs in a nest with a couple of brown chicken eggs

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.

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 eggs are 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.

brown duck with duck eggs visible under her

2. Duck Eggs are Sturdy

While chicken eggs are relatively easy to crack, duck 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.

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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!

duck egg, somewhat dirty, in a human hand

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. 

hands holding a white duck egg and a brown chicken egg side by side.

Related: How to Raise Ducks

6. How Do they Taste?

Duck eggs taste different than you’re probably used to when you eat an egg. I’ve heard people say that duck eggs taste “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.

duck eggs in a basket with straw

7. Check the Nutrients

Duck eggs nutrition profile is impressive: Each egg contains 9 grams of protein per egg and all of the  vitamins except vitamin C. (Why wouldn’t you eat duck eggs?!) [source]

Duck egg yolks have a higher fat content than chickens, they’re higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, and protein, too. A duck egg contains nearly double the amount of calories of chicken eggs.

They’re a great source of calories for people who strive to produce much of their own foods on site. [More on self-reliance and survival gardening here.]

small glass jars of yellowish souffle dusted with powdered sugar

8. Bakers Love Them

The richness of duck eggs makes them a shoo-in for the best egg for baking. The larger yolk of duck eggs 

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.

Because of their low water content, be careful not to over cook them. Cooking eggs as a fried or scrambled breakfast can result in rubber eggs if you leave them on the heat too long.

9. Duck Eggs are 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 middle of winter. [Here’s more on keeping ducks in the winter.]

two yellow ducklings in green grass

Related: Understanding Eggs — Are Eggs Dairy? Are Eggs Meat? 

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About the author: Kris Bordessa is an award-winning National Geographic author and a certified Master Food Preserver. Read more about Kris and how she got started with this site here. If you want to send Kris a quick message, you can get in touch here.

10 comments… add one
  • jacob Feb 15, 2021 @ 5:16

    I got 5 girls ducks and 5 males well it was so cold that 2 off my males pass way so know I have 3 male and 5 females. so then I but some straw down. but that did not work so what do I do to keep them warm in this bad cold. and I did use heat lamp but that dont work.

    • Kris Bordessa Mar 11, 2021 @ 8:22

      This has been some unprecedented cold. Heat lamps can be dangerous with the straw. I’d make sure they have an insulated area, even if it’s something like a small dog house/igloo inside a larger area. You could insulate that with blankets to help keep in the heat.

  • Mike Williams Jan 11, 2020 @ 15:07

    We have three mallard hens and mallard drake… All about 10 months old. The hens started laying eggs about a month ago. We harvest on average 2-3 eggs a day here in central CA. I notice that eggs left in the nest for a day or two are cold to the touch. I was expecting the hens to sit on the single nest and keep them warm? They are great to just watch as they run around until they realize that it’s time to eat…then they charge for the vitals… I notice that the “whites” are thicker then chicken “whites”… Is that a normal thing? But, the cooked eggs are great !

    • Kris Bordessa Jan 12, 2020 @ 12:43

      They’ll only sit on a nest and try to keep the eggs warm if they’re trying to hatch them.

  • Toni L Wright Jul 27, 2019 @ 12:36

    I’m a city girl with a farmer girl lusting to get out.
    I am also a senior (very) citizen, a bit wobbly on
    me feet. What could go wrong?

    • Kris Bordessa Jul 28, 2019 @ 7:50

      I’ve found that ducks — unlike kittens — tend to stay out from underfoot. Let that lust out! <3

  • Margery Jan 28, 2019 @ 12:48

    Great stuff. Thanks for sharing the information.

  • Pamela Rodriguez Jan 9, 2019 @ 17:10

    I bought a dozen duck eggs at our farmers market at the end of summer. We use them in egg drop soup and they are delicious. Now I want them all the time!

  • Diane Jan 5, 2019 @ 11:39

    Hi I have four ducks and they are not laying any eggs ? Iv had them since September

    • Kris Bordessa Jan 5, 2019 @ 16:36

      How old are the ducks? Are they mature enough to be laying eggs? Are you SURE they’re not laying eggs? They’re *very good at hiding their nests.

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