Duck Eggs vs Chicken Eggs: What’s the Difference

duck eggs vs chicken eggs

Here on our homestead we raise both chickens and ducks. Almost everyone is familiar with chicken eggs, but what about duck eggs? What’s the difference between duck and chicken eggs? And how do duck eggs they compare to the incredible, edible, chicken egg?

I’ll start with the most noticeable- size.  Our Khaki Campbell laid the large white duck egg on the left, while the brown egg is from one of our standard sized chickens. Even our newer layers- the Swedish Blue and Black- lay large to jumbo sized eggs right from the very start. The size difference is just as apparent from the inside- the yolk is much larger in the duck egg than in the chicken egg. The shells of a duck egg are much tougher, and it can be harder to get a clean crack, but it also leads to a longer shelf life.

 

 

Duck Egg Nutrition

When it comes to nutrition duck eggs and chicken eggs are pretty similar in their contents. But in most cases duck eggs come out on top.

  • They have a higher (good!) fat content
  • Ducks eggs are higher in protein than chicken eggs
  • They also have a little bit more cholesterol than chicken eggs (again, this is a good thing!)
  • They also contain more vitamins and minerals- such as iron, B12, folate and vitamin A
  • They are full of Omega-3 fatty acids

Another thing to note, is that many people who are allergic to chicken eggs can tolerate duck eggs. But be sure to talk to your doctor before giving that a try.


Cooking with Duck Eggs

Duck and chicken eggs vary somewhat when it comes to cooking. I love using duck eggs in my breads and cakes. Hard boiled? Not so much. They get a little rubbery.

Duck eggs have a richer flavor, which can be a positive or negative depending on your tastes. This difference in taste is most likely due to the higher fat content. When we cook eggs plain we usually use a mix of duck and chicken eggs. But when I do cook them separately I can’t tell too much of a difference when I have a plate full of scrambled duck eggs or a plate full of chicken eggs. You might have a more sensitive palate than I do though.  Duck eggs contain more albumen, which gives them more structure, thus creating a very light, fluffy, and rich baked good with a higher lift than those made with chicken eggs.

Raising Ducks vs Chickens

When it comes to raising ducks there are a few more differences. They are a bit messier- especially around water. Most backyard breeds don’t need access to a pond, but would be very grateful to have access to something to submerse themselves in- such as a wading pool, barrel or washtub. They do need to be able to get their head completely wet every now and then and they need water to swallow their food, so make sure there is always water available.

Ducks are easier on the garden too. They shovel and rake with their bills as opposed to scratching and pecking. So they take less toll on the yard and tend to leave the garden produce alone and go straight for the weeds and bugs. If we weren’t so attached to our chickens I would consider giving them up completely in favor of ducks and save the cost of fencing the garden! (I don’t think my kids would ever allow that!)

 

 

When it comes to laying the comparisons will differ based on breed. Some lay year round, some are more seasonal. Most chickens lay an egg a day or every other day for about 2 years before they taper off and lay more intermittently. Somewhere around age 2 is when our chickens are replaced with new hens and the old ones become dinner- for someone. But if you want an amazing layer the Khaki Campbell duck can’t be beat. Their eggs are huge, they lay pretty close to every single day year round, and ours, who is close to 3 years old now is still going strong.

So there you have it. The main differences between duck and chicken eggs. Have you tried duck eggs or raise ducks? How do you think they compare?

© 2013 – 2016, Sarah R Toney. All rights reserved.

30 comments on “Duck Eggs vs Chicken Eggs: What’s the Difference

  1. Lisa says:

    Thanks for this information! We are thinking about getting hens and I will let my husband read this info so we can decide ultimately what to get. Have a great weekend! :-) P.S. Do you do the field trip linkup anymore? Was just wondering. :-)

  2. We love ducks! Our boys love eating their eggs. We had to settle for only having pekins because our khaki campbells and other breeds were flying to our neighbors pool. :( Our duck eggs yolks are a lot darker on the outside then the chickens’. However, when you pop the yolk it’s the same inside. I assumed they were all like that but I guess I need to research that after seeing your pic.

  3. Thanks for the info. We’ve only raised chickens but are considering ducks. You make a good case for it! Do chickens and ducks need to be in separate enclosures?

  4. I keep chickens (Australorps) and ducks (pekins, Indian runners and muscovies) together, and they get along fine.

    Ducks make a lot more mess than chickens, though, and will soil up the water containers, so you have to spend a bit more time cleaning up and refilling bowls.

    We love the duck eggs in cakes and pavlovas, as well as just eating them fried or poached.

  5. Wonderful post! I only have chickens at the moment, but with spring nearing I have had a though about ducks once or twice! I just may have to slip a few in on a hatchery order after all!

  6. I am hopping by from Mosaic Reviews to say HI and to follow your blog. I look forward to starting this exciting journey and becoming one of your new readers! See you around. 😀 ~Elyse / Oiralinde

  7. Ginger says:

    This was very informative! THanks! I will have to mention it to my husband so that when we do get our little farm, we can look into getting some ducks.

  8. GoldenAldi says:

    We had runner ducks, and I was happy to get rid of them, due to them getting to my garden plants. I prefer chickens, as they seem to get most of the bugs, but I’m gonna have them spend more time in their coop so they won’t harm the young plants, and only let them out into the garden for only an hour or two a day. We don’t live on a farm, we just have a nice sized garden. I would love to own more land and have a real farm some day, but I doubt that will happen in this lifetime. Maybe in the next one :-)

  9. lashuka1 says:

    Nice post with usefull information! I hope you write more on this subject! I must say, I thought this was a pretty interesting read when it comes to this topic. duck life 3

  10. […] vs Chicken eggs : Evergreen Acres Goat Farm Duck Eggs Vs. Chicken Eggs | Backyard Poultry Magazine Duck Eggs vs Chicken Eggs: What’s the Difference It’s a Boy’s Life: Duck Eggs vs Chicken Eggs How to Use Duck Eggs – The Self […]

  11. Louisa Peterson says:

    Quick question for anyone who knows…….how long can you leave unpasturized duck eggs out without refrigeration and still be safe to eat? Please answer ASAP. Thanks.

    • I am not positive, but I would assume they are similar to all other fresh eggs and will keep a few months. We leave all ours out on the counter. You can always try to float test them to see, too.

    • james says:

      the issue is if there was a male to fertile the egg then it will attempt to grow a baby. unless kept refrigerated. even chicken eggs must be picked quickly after being layed if a rooster is there. most actual egg farmers who only want chickens for the eggs they dont keep a rooster they only keep hens that way the eggs are not fertile. hens will lay eggs wether there is a rooster in the picture or not… so the general idea is to not have roosters if ur just wanting eggs to eat. other wise u gotta watch out what ur doing or u might get a egg with a suprise inside one day lol.

  12. […] vs Chicken eggs : Evergreen Acres Goat Farm Duck Eggs Vs. Chicken Eggs | Backyard Poultry Magazine Duck Eggs vs Chicken Eggs: What’s the Difference It’s a Boy’s Life: Duck Eggs vs Chicken Eggs How to Use Duck Eggs – The Self […]

  13. Lisa says:

    Just got a duck. Found out she was a girl after laying an egg. Cooked it right away and loved it. My husband and coworkers freaked out and refuse to try it. I will say it is a lot better than chicken eggs. A richer taste and more filling. She is laying an egg every day so I hope to get someone to try one soon because I don’t eat eggs everyday. By the way she actually likes to eat scrambled duck eggs too

  14. Marie says:

    When baking with a duck egg do you use the same amount of duck eggs as you would chicken ? Say Recipe Calls for 3 eggs do you use 3 duck eggs? Thanks

    • I use them in the same ratio. Duck eggs are usually more jumbo sized, so if it is a more sensitive recipe that calls for say 3 large eggs, I might just use 2 of the jumbo duck eggs. If they are about the same size though I would use them equally.

    • dawn says:

      no two duck to three chicken eggs.

  15. […] For more information on duck eggs vs. chicken eggs, please visit this post by Free Range Life. […]

  16. Cassie J says:

    I loved this article! We just discovered duck eggs last week when we went to the farmers market! I swear I’ll never eat another chicken egg. Duck eggs are simply delicious!!

  17. Matt says:

    After using duck eggs for so long, it’s funny trying to use a chicken egg. Every time I crack the chicken egg way too hard – because I’m used to the tough duck egg shells!

  18. Amy says:

    We have had both ducks and chickens. We had the ducks trained to follow us around when we carried the white bucket (meant irrigation time) and the chickens would follow you around everywhere if you were carrying a shovel (digging up dirt always meant lots of yummy bugs!) But I always preferred the taste of the duck eggs. To me they tasted like they had a lot less sulfur flavor. They didn’t make very good scrambled eggs because they didn’t seem to mix well, but they tasted good anyway!

  19. p. swaroop says:

    p swaroop
    hi, if some one would like to have three eggs of chicken than it is better to have two eggs of a duck as When it comes to nutrition duck eggs and chicken eggs are pretty similar in their contents.

  20. Alanna Morland says:

    Very useful information! I do pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs) and would like to try duck eggs some day. Larger AND with a tougher shell than grocery store chicken eggs makes them sound ideal! More room for decoration and much less likely to break when being emptied.

  21. Even tho I still eat chicken eggs, I much prefer Duck eggs. They are more filling & alot more healthier for you, just wish I could breed ducks of my own

    • Trisha Georgiana says:

      My friend is a peta person and will not eat eggs from the grocery store because of the abuse . It is awful, so I told her my spn raised a couple ducks and they were well taken care of.,so I suggested she try them. She was OK with trying them. I wanted to found out the difference between chicken and duck eggs. Thanks. All I read was very impressive . A lot of good informatiom.

  22. Carolyn says:

    I have acquired ONE duck egg. Can I use a low heating pad rather than an incubator, or what can I do to hatch this baby. Thanks

  23. ANN says:

    Its so nice to know about eggs. Being a vegetarian I eat chicken eggs sometimes, like omelette. Have not tried duck eggs as I am told that one farts a lot with duck eggs!! Hahaha I am not sure.
    But please guide me the best way of eating egg; whether duck egg will smell too much when you make an omelette; how many eggs should I eat a day and when I should eat and when I should not!!
    I also saw some small colourful eggs in the store- (quill??).

  24. Marilyn says:

    I was not good at poaching my chicken eggs and gave up and resorted to frying them as gently as I could. I recently bought 6 duck eggs at my local farmers market. The difference made it possible for me to poach the duck egg (just one). Thank you for this info. I finally got around to looking for duck egg info today. I will be buying more duck eggs now because I think poaching is the way to best preserve the nutrients and it was great over lightly steamed veggies w grated cheese salt and pepper. yay! I’m trying to eat fresh nutrient dense local foods as the main part of my diet. I’m not able to produce my own for various reasons but do go to area farms and the farmers market and try to make wise choices for my budget and my health, and to support the best farms in my area.

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