Eggs are an excellent source of high quality, inexpensive protein. But chickens aren’t the only birds that lay delicious, ‘good for you’ eggs. If you haven’t tried duck eggs, you’re in for a treat. Once you get a chance to try them I think you will agree that duck eggs are better than chicken eggs. Especially if you raise them right in your own backyard.
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Raising Ducks For Eggs
I never set out to raise my own eggs. The ducklings just happened to show up on my doorstep one day. With my daughter saying “Mom, can we keep them?” The mother had been killed and so we became “duckling mommas”.
They grew quickly, straight into my heart, and soon were paying me back for keeping them with yummy breakfasts delivered fresh each morning.
I had never eaten a duck egg before, but now I never want to be without them.
Duck Eggs vs Chicken Eggs
I’ve now raised ducks for years and there are so many reasons I love ducks and their eggs. But let me tell you why they are so good and why they are even better than chicken eggs.
Duck Eggs Are Bigger
Though chicken eggs and duck eggs come in different sizes, the average duck egg is typically 50% larger than an average chicken egg. That means that for every duck that lays an egg, it would take 1 1/2 chickens to give you the same amount of food.
In fact, if you try to put duck eggs in a large chicken egg carton, the carton will not close.
More Reading: Raising Ducks 101 – How To Take Care Of Baby Ducklings
The White Of The Egg
The egg white from a duck egg ( the albumen) is nearly transparent where a chicken egg’s white is a bit milky or even slightly yellow. A duck egg white is also not as runny as a chicken egg white and when you are frying them they take a bit longer to cook as they don’t flatten out as much.
Duck Egg Nutrition
Partially due to size, the duck egg is higher in fat and cholesterol but it is also higher in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Ounce for ounce, duck eggs are more nutrient dense. They have more Vitamin A, Vitamin D, folate, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and iron than chicken eggs. Much of that is attributed to having a larger yolk in proportion to the white.
In addition to their essential nutrients, duck eggs have many other health-promoting compounds. They’re beneficial for eye and brain health, and they may protect you from infections and age-related diseases.
That larger yolk has another advantage too. More yummy yolk to sop up with your toast. Duck eggs vs chicken eggs? Duck eggs win this round!
Are Duck Eggs Just As Safe To Eat As Chicken Eggs? Can You Eat Duck Eggs?
A bird egg is a bird egg. Whether it is a quail, turkey, duck, chicken, or an ostrich. They are all edible and tasty.
A fresh duck egg is every bit as safe as chicken eggs. In fact, the USDA has the same regulations for duck eggs and chicken eggs.
What Is The Best Way To Use Duck Eggs?
I use duck eggs in exactly the same places I used to use chicken eggs. You just have to convert for size. In a recipe where you would have used 3 chicken eggs, you will now only use 2 duck eggs.
If you really need to be exact, you can scramble the egg and weigh it to get the exact weight you need, but I have never been that exact and I have never needed to be. (a large chicken egg, called for in most recipes is 2 oz or 56.7 g)
In fact, duck eggs are often sought out by bakers as they produce lighter, fluffier baked goods with a creamier, richer texture. That makes pancakes, muffins, and waffles just that much better.
As far as just eating the egg, fried, scrambled, omelets, frittatas, boiled and the much sought after deviled egg, they are every bit as good. I think they are even better.
Related: 10 Reasons To Raise Ducks!
Do Duck Eggs Taste The Same As Chicken Eggs?
I get asked, “Are duck eggs good?” You bet!
Because they have more fat and protein they are a bit richer and creamier. Some will say they are a bit more egg-y, but in a blind taste test, most people cannot tell the difference.
of course, this depends on the duck’s diet. Both chickens or ducks can have strongly flavored eggs if they eat the wrong things.
Duck eggs and chicken eggs have different proteins. So if a person has a chicken egg allergy, that does not necessarily mean they will be allergic to duck eggs. and visa versa.
What Color Are The Shells?
Duck egg shells were once more colorful than chicken eggs are now, but it became fashionable to have pure white duck eggs and the color was breed out of most of them.
But even so, there are some ducks that will lay dark gray, light blue, yellowish or even green eggs. There are some breeders who are trying to breed back in the color so if this is something you are interested in, you can ask you breeder about it.
Selling Duck Eggs
Though there isn’t a market for duck eggs everywhere, most duck eggs sell for a higher price than chicken eggs. resulting in a higher profit.
And if you decide to raise your own, you can mark your own eggs with a custom stamp, and let the world know they are your very own.
You also will probably want to get your own egg cartons….ones that fit!
Related: What To Feed Ducklings
Food Costs For Raising Ducks
If you allow your ducks to free-range, they can eat a good deal (at least up to half) their daily calories off from the land by eating bugs, weeds, and grass. Bringing your food costs down and making your eggs even cheaper to produce.
Ducks are great pest controllers and will eat many bugs and slugs that chickens will turn their beaks up to.
Related>> What To Feed Ducks In Your Backyard.
Washing Duck Eggs
If you are going to sell your eggs in the US your eggs must be washed and refrigerated, but for your own use, you get to decide if you want to store them washed or not.
An egg has a protective coating on it called a bloom which helps keep it fresh. When you wash the egg it washes the bloom off so it doesn’t last as long.
However, duck eggs are often dirtier than chicken eggs. So it may be more desirable to wash them.
Before you use your eggs they will however need to be washed. always wash them in hot running water. Don’t submerge eggs as they will absorb the dirty water through their porous shells.
How Long Do Duck Eggs Last?
A duck’s egg has a thicker shell. It is thicker than a chicken egg which helps them stay fresh longer. It also means they are harder to crack. That’s not such a big deal until you go back to cracking a chicken egg….. The first one can be a bit of a mess as you can crack it way too hard. (ask me how I know :))
If unwashed and kept at room temperature, 68° -72°F (20°-22°C), they will last about 2 weeks. Keep them rotated so you always use the oldest first.
Refrigerated they will last 6 weeks. I use a handy dandy egg cady to make extra room in my refrigerator.
I always refrigerate mine. My air conditioned house never gets lower than about 78° F. So that would not allow the eggs to stay fresh for very long.
Longer Storage For Eggs
If you end up with too many to cook or give away, you can always freeze them. They can’t be used for fried eggs, but they are perfect for scrambling or putting into your favorite muffin recipe. Just thaw them first.
Ducks Lay Nearly Year-Round
Most chickens will pretty much take the winter off from laying, but except for a short window when they are molting, most duck breeds will continue to lay right through the dark days and frigid weather. For many breeds of ducks, they will lay as many if not more eggs a year than chickens.
Couple this with the increased size of a duck egg and you are getting many more pounds of food from the same number of birds. That means more scrambled eggs, more hard boiled, And more fried duck eggs all through the winter when you would normally have to use store bought eggs or go without.
Ducks Lay Over A Longer Span Of Time
Chickens lay consistently for 18 months to 2 years at the most, but ducks can lay for 3 to 4 years. I have one duck that I have had for 6 years now and I’m still getting 3 to 4 eggs a week from her.
Ducks Are Healthier Than Chickens.
Ducks have a better immune system than chickens. There are several diseases that chickens are susceptible to that ducks don’t get. And ducks can take both hot weather and cold weather as well as wet weather, much better than chickens. You are much less likely to lose a duck to illness.
Related: 30 Gift Ideas For Duck Lovers
Where To Find Duck Eggs
If you don’t have ducks of your own or you want to find out if you like duck eggs before you decide to raise your own for eggs, there are several places you might check to find them.
- Farmers markets
- Straight from a farm
- Asian grocery stores
- Higher-end grocery stores like whole foods or grocery/health food stores
- Regular grocery stores in bigger cities or who have ethnic patrons
- Check with your local 4H or FFA group
Why Are Duck Eggs More Expensive? Why Aren’t Duck Eggs As Easy To Find As Chicken Eggs?
There are two main reasons for both of these questions.
- First is supply and demand. there just aren’t as many people raising and selling them.
- Second is they are not commercially produced. It is easier to keep a chicken penned up and producing than a duck.
This is where raising them yourself is an advantage. Because then a chicken egg and a duck egg will cost you about the same amount and you know how they are raised.
More Reading: How To Start A Vegetable Garden From Scratch.
Do I Need A Male Duck (Drake) To Produce Eggs?
No, you don’t. Females will produce infertile eggs all their life. You only need the male if you want fertilized eggs to produce baby ducks.
Treat Yourself To The Luxury Of Duck Eggs.
Duck eggs vs chicken eggs – Yes chicken eggs are much easier to find, but duck eggs are well worth the hunt.
So if you would like to try something really special, give duck eggs a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.