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10 Good Reasons to Raise Ducks for Eggs (And How they Compare to Chicken Eggs)

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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 in a nest with a couple of brown chicken eggs

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.

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.

brown duck with duck eggs visible under her

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

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!

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. The nest you see in the image below is a ducks nest — with two brown chicken eggs.

ducks eggs in a nest, top and frying eggs in cast iron, below

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.

duck eggs in a basket with straw

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.]

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. 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.]

two yellow ducklings in green grass

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Meet the Author

Kris Bordessa

Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle.

8 comments… add one
  • Diane Jan 5, 2019, 11:39 am

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

    • Kris Bordessa Jan 5, 2019, 4:36 pm

      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.

  • Pamela Rodriguez Jan 9, 2019, 5:10 pm

    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!

  • Margery Jan 28, 2019, 12:48 pm

    Great stuff. Thanks for sharing the information.

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

    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 am

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

  • Mike Williams Jan 11, 2020, 3:07 pm

    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 pm

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

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