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All About Duck Eggs

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How do duck eggs compare to chicken eggs? Well they're surprisingly similar - with a few glaring differences.

We've raised ducks alongside our chickens for more than ten years. Ducks are a lot of fun to raise, but what we love best about them is their eggs.

I had never even SEEN a duck egg before our ducks started laying them for us, so I didn't know what to expect.


All About Duck Eggs

We have Pekins, Saxonies, Magpies, Anconas, Swedish, Cayuga, Silver Appleyard and Indian Runner ducks in our flock and love them all. 

Turns out, duck eggs are pretty similar to chicken eggs.  But there are some real benefits to duck eggs compared to chicken eggs.

Ducks Lay Almost Every Day

Like chickens, ducks will lay an egg almost every day. Our ducks actually outlay our chickens year after year,  usually laying right through the winter with no added coop light, and laying pretty well for 5-6 years, compared to the 2-3 years that chickens generally are at peak laying production.



Ducks lay their eggs just before sunrise and will make their own nest in a corner of their house or coop in the bedding  straw or shavings.  Duck eggs don't come in the wide variety of colors that chicken eggs do, but they can be white, cream-colored, pale bluish-green or charcoal gray depending in the breed.


Duck Eggs are Larger

Duck eggs are much larger than chicken eggs - about 30% larger to be precise. Our duck eggs usually weigh in right around 3 ounces, which is considerably heavier than even jumbo chicken eggs.  

The yolks are also larger, comparatively, compared the the egg whites. About a 15% higher yolk to white ratio than a chicken egg.


Duck Eggs are Alkaline

Duck eggs are said to be an alkaline-producing food, one of the few foods that leave your body more alkaline. Conversely, chicken eggs are an acidic food leaving your body more acid.

The alkaline makeup of duck eggs is of great benefit to cancer patients as cancer cells do not thrive in an alkaline environment. So some physicians apparently recommend duck eggs to cancer patients.

Also, those who are allergic to chicken eggs can often eat duck eggs without any problem - and vice versa - because duck eggs contain different proteins than chicken eggs.


Duck Eggs are Better for Baking

Duck eggs contain slightly less water - and more fat - which makes them superior for baking. They make cakes and breads rise better. They make  mayonnaise, custards and puddings richer.

Duck eggs can be a bit more difficult to whip for meringues, but a pinch of baking soda or a few drops of lemon juice can help make nice stiff peaks.

Duck Eggs can be Scrambled, Fried, Poached and Hard-Cooked As Well

On the flip side, because of their low water content, they cook faster than chicken eggs and overcooking them makes them rubbery. 

Some people don't like them when they're fried or scrambled as a result, although we do eat them both ways with care taken not to overcook them. If you're scrambling, poaching or frying duck eggs, just be sure to cook them over a very low heat and only until they are just set. 

You can steam duck eggs to hard cook them as well. About 20 minutes for a yolk cooked through.

I find the eggs do have a bit stronger "egg" taste than chicken eggs which makes them stand up better to strong cheese such as Swiss or sharp cheddar, say in an omelet.

How to Substitute Duck Eggs for Chicken Eggs in Recipes

Despite the rule of thumb 2/3 ratio with two duck eggs equaling 3 chicken eggs in volume, I tend to just use our duck eggs in a one-to-one ratio in recipes that call for chicken eggs (I try and use the smallest for baking).

But if you want to be sure you're using the correct amount of egg, since a large chicken egg contains roughly 3 Tablespoons, you can also lightly whisk the duck eggs and then measure out 3 Tablespoon amounts to equal the number of eggs the recipe calls for.


Duck Eggs Stay Fresher Longer

Duck eggs stay fresher longer than chicken eggs due to having thicker shells and membranes. Unwashed, a duck egg will last week and weeks out on the counter and will last for several months refrigerated.

Duck eggs tend to be a bit dirtier when you collect them than chicken eggs, due to the fact that ducks lay their eggs on the ground in nests they create out of nesting material on the floor of the coop - or sometimes even just lay their eggs outside in the grass.

So I normally do have to rinse my duck eggs off before refrigerating them. 

Duck Eggs Taste a Bit "Eggier"

As for taste, the overall taste of your duck eggs will depend on your duck's overall diet, but in general, because of their higher fat and lipid content, duck eggs will taste creamier and richer than chicken eggs. I also find they taste a bit "eggier". 


Duck Eggs are More Nutritious

Duck eggs have larger yolks, thicker whites, and ounce for ounce they contain more calcium, Vitamins A, B-12, and D and more Omega-3 fatty acids than chicken eggs. 

Interestingly, they contain about the same amount of protein as a chicken egg, and one duck egg delivers almost a full day's serving of cholesterol.  

One duck egg contains about 130 calories, half of which are fat calories.  Comparatively, a chicken egg has about 70 calories.

Neither duck or chicken eggs contain any Vitamin C.  

Compared to chicken eggs, ounce for ounce, duck eggs contain:

  • 500% more Vitamin B12
  • 150% more Niacin
  • 100% more Omega-3s
  • 60% more Potassium
  • 40% more Magnesium
  • 30% more Vitamin E



Overall, the large, rich duck eggs make a nice contrast  in color, size, taste and composition to our chicken eggs and  I feel blessed to have both provided by our backyard flock.


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