Most people think that the only difference between a duck egg and a chicken egg is their size.
This is wrong!
Chickens will lay more eggs than ducks in sheer numbers because this is what chickens have been bred for.
However, duck eggs are known for their taste and in many parts of the world they are considered better than chicken eggs.
In this article we are going to compare duck eggs and chicken eggs to find out what the differences are, which is best and why…
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12 Duck Eggs vs Chicken Eggs Facts
There is no doubt about it – duck eggs are expensive!
Here in the US you can buy a dozen chicken eggs for $2, but duck eggs will set you back $6-$12 per dozen.
The price is not because they lay a golden egg, but simply supply and demand.
It is much harder to find supermarkets that sell duck eggs and fewer people use duck eggs in their homes.
If you are in the market to sell duck eggs then it can be a bit difficult to find your customers, but many restaurants, small bakers and ordinary folks do enjoy duck eggs!
Duck eggs are larger than most chicken eggs.
Large chicken eggs usually weigh in around 2oz (56 grams) while duck eggs are about 2.5oz (70 grams).
The size of the egg will vary from breed to breed with the larger ducks (Muscovy, Saxony, Aylesbury and Cayuga) eggs weighing slightly more than the smaller breeds (Black East Indies, Miniature Appleyards and Call Ducks).
A rough guide is to use two duck eggs for every three chicken eggs.
Just like other foods, eggs will have different nutritional values depending on where they come from.
If your eggs come from birds raised in a barn with no access to outside light, no foraging or natural behaviors, then the quality of the egg suffers. For the purpose of this article, we are going to assume the birds have been raised in a natural environment and allowed to do duck-type and chicken-type things.
Nutritionally duck eggs are slightly better than chicken eggs, though some of this is of course due to the size difference.
|Protein:||13 Grams||12 Grams|
|Fat:||14 Grams||10 Grams|
*RDV = recommended daily value
Duck eggs are packed full of goodness including things like Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins (especially A and D) and they also have lots of trace elements that are vital for humans.
If you are concerned about cholesterol levels, then chicken eggs have a much more acceptable level than duck eggs and they are still packed full of goodness.
Lots of people prefer to use duck eggs in certain dishes and baked goods – in fact they are sometimes called the baker’s secret. Cooking with duck eggs requires a bit of time and experimentation for you to get it just right, but once the art is mastered you will be pleasantly surprised at the results.
Their unique taste is because they have a high albumin content.
Albumin is a protein that helps to give a better texture and greater lift to your baked goods.
Omelettes and Soufflés in particular benefit from using duck eggs instead of chicken eggs even though the whites can be hard to whip up because of the lower water content.
Just remember that overcooking duck eggs can make them rubbery.
In general it is much easier to use chicken eggs for cooking, but if you want to add a bit more flavor or body to your dishes, use duck eggs.
Although ducks do not lay as many eggs as chickens, they tend to lay almost all year round.
They also lay for more years than a chicken.
The average chicken has reached her production peak by 18-24 months. She will continue to lay but at a lower weekly rate than before.
Ducks can lay consistently until 3-4 years of age. They can lay longer but not at a very consistent rate.
Lots of people who are allergic to duck eggs can eat chicken eggs.
The proteins that are found in duck eggs are different to the proteins in a chicken egg. Of course, always check with your physician before you try them if you do have allergies though.
Duck eggs taste different to chicken eggs.
The taste has been described as more intense, creamy and richer, some say it is gamey.
Occasionally they do have a slight fishy odor , but this does not impact the taste. This smell is because ducks tend to eat a lot more invertebrates such as slugs, snails even small fish.
If you enjoy duck eggs then you may find that chicken eggs seem tasteless in comparison. Duck eggs tend to fluff up more and appear lighter in texture too.
Both chickens and ducks are fairly low maintenance to keep.
The biggest requirement they have is fresh water daily.
If you have a pond or open water source your problem is solved, but if you have a pool or tub that you fill for them, you are going to be changing out the water frequently since ducks are messy.
Just remember that your chickens should be kept well any from any deep water. It is fairly rare than a full-grown hen will fall in and drown, but it does happen. Place some bricks where they can use them to step out of the water if necessary.
Sickness and Eggs
For the average backyard keeper, ducks tend to be healthier and suffer from less maladies.
This means that they are easier to care for and their eggs tend to hardier.
There are several diseases that can impact a chicken’s ability to lay, or alter egg quality or appearance, ducks are thankfully spared all of these.
To keep your ducks healthy you need to keep their area as clean and dry as you can. Diseases such as duck plague or cholera are caused by bacterial proliferation in contaminated water and soil.
Feed Conversion Ratios
What is a feed conversion ratio?
It is the rate at which an animal turns feed into food. As an example, a chicken eats ¼lb food per day and converts this into an egg (or meat).
Ducks have a low feed conversion ratio which makes them cheaper to keep. The more domesticated your ducks are the higher the ratio.
Chickens also have a low feed conversion ratio.
If you want to keep your feed conversion ratios level at its lowest for both chickens and ducks, then make sure they have access to pasture daily and carefully pick your breeds.
Most people would love to let their chickens into their garden to eat the bugs on their plants.
However chickens can be quite destructive in their habits. They will scratch up dirt and seedlings, eat fruit and even eat certain flowers.
This is where ducks come in to help.
They are great for pest control and will march through your garden eating slugs, snails and grubs as they go. Ducks are widely used as pest control in vineyards all over the world. Ducks rarely do damage to plants, but they are insatiable when it comes to bugs. Needless to say, if they do a full day in the garden they are not going to eat as much feed as usual.
Chickens do come into their own as little rotavators once the growing season is done.
They will turn over the top soil and consume any insects they find. All of this pest control converts into food and they convert that food into eggs for you!
Duck egg shells are far more robust than chicken egg shells.
Scientists believe that because ducks lay eggs out in the open air that their egg shells are thicker. The fact that ducks lay in muddy, wet areas probably led to the shell becoming thicker to keep out the mud and muck too.
The inner membrane of the egg is also thicker and tougher in order to protect the egg and embryo when it forms.
Although they have a longer shelf life, duck eggs still need to be kept refrigerated just the same as chicken eggs.
In Japan and other far eastern countries, ducks were (and still are) synonymous with rice production. The ducks would clean out the insects from the rice fields without damaging the crops.
And in Europe, duck eggs have been eaten for hundreds of years. Chickens only started laying eggs prolifically in the nineteenth century.
While ducks may not be for everyone, they are certainly a useful addition to most homesteads or small holdings.
If you are thinking about getting ducks then with a few adjustments chickens and ducks can be kept in the same general housing. Read 7 Tips For Raising Ducks With Chickens for more.
They are just about as low maintenance as you can get and they are very useful.
People have strong opinions about which eggs are best, but it depends much upon your taste and familiarity.
Probably the most frequently used egg in homes and kitchens worldwide is the chicken egg. Although in many far eastern countries duck eggs run a close second.
The reason chicken eggs are so popular is because they are widely available.
When chicken eggs rose in popularity, duck eggs have fallen out of favor in the western world. There are several reasons why ducks fell from favor, but over the last twenty years or so there has been a resurgence of interest in their eggs.
As for which eggs are the best – I will leave that for you to decide.
Let us know in the comments section below…