Are you interested in raising ducks and eating duck eggs?
If so, then you’re in good company. In fact, duck eggs are the most consumed egg in the world. Duck eggs are eaten more than chicken eggs worldwide, and for good reason.
Here in the U.S., chicken eggs are the most commonly eaten egg, but duck eggs are quickly gaining favor. So let’s talk about what makes ducks eggs different and why you should consider eating them.
What do duck eggs look like?
Duck eggs look almost identical to a chicken egg. One of the exceptions is that duck eggs tend to be a little bit larger than chicken eggs.
If you have hens that lay jumbo sized eggs, these would be similar in size to duck eggs. Chicken eggs tend to weigh somewhere in the ballpark of 50 grams, while duck eggs are closer to 70 grams. Granted, I’ve had some hens that laid eggs that were close to 70 grams!
Duck eggs can also be really pretty when compared to chicken eggs. Some duck breeds lay eggs that are blue or green tinted or speckled.
Are duck eggs nutritious?
Aren’t all eggs nutritious??
If you’re interested in the nutritional value of eggs, then rest assured that duck eggs are more nutritious than chicken eggs. Duck eggs are higher in protein and omega 3 fatty acids, both of which are good for you.
One duck egg has about 9 grams of protein while one chicken egg has about 6 grams of protein.
Keep in mind that ducks allowed to free range will have more nutritious eggs than ducks that are kept in cages and fed a pre-mixed diet, just like chickens that are free-ranged.
Also, while duck eggs have more protein and omega-3 fatty acids than chicken eggs, they also contain more fat, which isn’t great if you’re trying to watch your figure. If you’re using them to bake with though, the extra fat can help to produce top-shelf baked goods.
Duck eggs contain 10 grams of fat while chicken eggs contain about 5 grams of fat.
More essential vitamins and minerals
Duck eggs aren’t just better sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, they’re also more nutrient dense than chicken eggs. I’ve listed some notable differences in nutrients between duck eggs and chicken eggs below. I also noted the percent daily value after the amounts so you have an idea of the nutrient differences.
- Chicken eggs contain 0.9 mg (5% DV) of iron, while duck eggs contain 2.7 mg (15% DV).
- Chicken eggs contain 95.5 mg (10% DV) of phosphorus, while duck eggs contain 154 mg (15% DV).
- Chicken eggs contain 0.6 mg (4% DV) of zinc, and duck eggs contain 1.0 mg (7% DV).
- Chicken eggs contain 15.8 mg (23% DV) of selenium and duck eggs contain 25.5 mg (36% DV).
- Chicken eggs contain 244 mg (5% DV) of vitamin A; duck eggs contain 472 mg (9% DV).
- Chicken eggs contain 0.5 mg (2% DV) of vitamin E; duck eggs contain 0.9 mg (5% DV).
- Chicken eggs contain 0.02 mg (2% DV) of thiamine (vitamin B1); duck eggs contain 0.1 mg (7% DV).
- Chicken eggs contain 0.2 mg (14% DV) of riboflavin (vitamin B2); duck eggs contain 0.3 mg (17% DV).
- Chicken eggs contain 0.1 mg (4% DV) of vitamin B6 while duck eggs contain 0.2 mg (9% DV).
- Chicken eggs contain 23.5 mg (6% DV) of folate; duck eggs contain 56 mg (14% DV).
- Chicken eggs contain 0.6 mg (11% DV) of vitamin B12 while duck eggs contain 3.8 mg (63% DV).
- Chicken eggs contain 126 mg of choline and duck eggs contain 184 mg.
Some of these differences are pretty big, especially considering the fact that we are talking about the contents of just one egg!
Are duck eggs safe to eat?
Yes. Duck eggs are safe to eat.
Eggs from ducks, quail, chickens and even geese are safe to eat.
In fact, most people don’t realize that the USDA has standards for all poultry eggs, not just chicken eggs.
Just like with chicken eggs, duck eggs should be clean and free of debris. Keeping the nesting area clean is key to having clean eggs.
Also, you can extend the shelf life of your duck eggs by not washing them. You read that correctly! Duck eggs, just like chicken eggs, have a natural protective coating called a bloom. This coating keeps bacteria and pathogens from getting into the egg’s interior.
Learn more about how to store eggs to extend their shelf-life.
To keep eggs fresh on your counter, you might want to grab an egg skelter. You put fresher eggs into the top and older eggs are at the bottom of the skelter, so you always have fresh eggs on hand. No more guessing how old or fresh an egg is!
Grab an egg skelter here
If you’re buying duck eggs from the grocery or a farmer’s market, you’ll more than likely want to refrigerate them. If you’re buying from a farmer’s market, ask them how fresh they are and whether they should be kept on the counter or in the fridge.
Duck eggs have a thicker shell and membrane than chicken eggs, which helps to extend their shelf life by preventing microbes from getting into the inside of the egg.
Are duck eggs good to cook with?
Yes! If you’re using them for general recipes, you probably won’t notice much of a difference between them and chicken eggs, other than the fact that they are slightly bigger.
If you’re baking with them, that’s an entirely different story. Duck eggs are sought after by bakers because of the larger fat content.
Duck eggs contain more of the protein albumen. Albumen provides more structure and higher lift in baked goods. More albumen = lighter and fluffier cakes, pastries and other baked goods.
What do duck eggs taste like?
When ducks and chickens are raised on the same diet, they can taste similar. However, when ducks are allowed to forage, the taste changes to a richer egg.
Duck eggs have a larger yolk to white ratio than chicken eggs, giving them a creamier flavor. The additional fat and protein in duck eggs makes them have a deeper flavor than chicken eggs.
Are they expensive?
Duck eggs are slightly more expensive than chicken eggs. Plan on spending about $3 for a dozen duck eggs. The price will increase if ducks are raised organically or allowed to free-range.
Ducks raised organically or in a free-range system require more maintenance than those raised in pens, which increases the costs for the producer, therefore increasing the cost to you when you buy eggs.
Price of duck eggs
You pay for what you get, and this couldn’t be more true with duck eggs.
Expect to pay a little bit more for duck eggs than chicken eggs. Chicken eggs at the grocery store are usually somewhere between $1-2 per dozen. If you’re buying organic, they’re closer to $2 per dozen.
Duck eggs will run about $3 per dozen. If you’re buying them organic or free-range, they will cost a little bit more.
Are they easy to find?
Duck eggs aren’t always easy to find. You can find them in some specialty chains, like Whole Foods, but don’t expect them to be everywhere.
A good place to check is your local farmer’s market. Many duck egg producers will sell eggs at farmer’s markets.
Duck eggs are sometimes hard to find if you’re competing with local bakeries for premium duck eggs. Bakers love to use duck eggs to give their baked goods some extra boost. If you have ducks and you’re interested in selling eggs, hit up some local bakers to see if they’d be interested in buying your eggs.
How to cook duck eggs
Eggs are eggs when it comes to cooking them. Duck eggs are slightly larger than chicken eggs, so it’s going to take a little while longer to cook them than chicken eggs.
Duck eggs also have a thicker shell and membrane, which can take some getting used to. You’ll have to work a little harder to crack a duck egg open. It takes some getting used to without making a mess of the shell and getting shell pieces into your food.
The thicker shell is a plus though once you get used to cracking them open. It helps extend the egg’s shelf life.
A good rule of thumb is that two duck eggs is equivalent to three chicken eggs in terms of size. If a recipe calls for three large chicken eggs, you can substitute two duck eggs instead since their size will be about the same as three chicken eggs.
Ducks are efficient egg layers
Are you convinced that you need to raise ducks for eggs now? You may not think of ducks as being good layers, but many breeds are very reliable layers. In fact, many duck breeds were bred specifically for laying eggs, just like many chicken breeds.
It’s not hard to find ducks that will lay as many eggs as popular chicken breeds.
Ducks are efficient foragers and, if given enough space to forage, will be able to meet nearly all of their nutrient requirements without you providing them feed. They’re excellent pest control and will take care of many of the large insects in your yard.
Ducks are easier to raise than chickens
Ducks are really hardy when compared to chickens. Chickens can easily fall victim to respiratory disease and ducks rarely do. Ducks can also thrive in conditions when chickens struggle, without interrupting their laying.
Once you raise them from ducklings, ducks are pretty self-sufficient. If you provide them with enough space to forage, they’ll require minimal care from you.
You don’t even have to create an elaborate coop or run for ducks like you would with chickens. Ducks prefer to lay and nest on the ground, so you won’t have to worry with building nesting boxes. A simple shelter with straw or other bedding in it is the perfect nesting spot for ducks.
Also, you might be surprised that many ducks don’t require a body of water to stay content. A small kiddie pool can provide the water that ducks need to clean themselves and oil their feathers. If the lack of a pond or lake has been preventing you from getting ducks, don’t let it be your excuse any more!
If you’re interested in raising ducks, check out some of these outstanding layer breeds in the video below:
Do you have any advice for someone who lives on a place with a lot of natural predators?
Also, can ducks be housed in the same structure as goats?
WE have raised a small flock of both chickens and ducks. We provided a fenced run/ yard covered by netting to protect from predators. The very best thing we do is train them to go in to a coop at night.
Carol Suntken says
My ducks are eating in the roadside ditch sprayed with Round up and mosquito larvae killer. Is it safe to eat their eggs?
I’ve been eating duck eggs for about ten years and I have never seen them sold for $3 a dozen. During spring overabundance of duck eggs, I’ve seen some rural sellers list them for $5 a dozen on Craiglist or Facebook Marketplace for about one month or less. They usually are sold by the 1/2 dozen at most stores. for a cost of $6 to $9 per half dozen. Whole Foods sold them for $7.29 for half dozen in Dec 2021. I do remember initial cost of duck eggs being around $1 per egg but quality and availability were poor. I get mine from a local farmer at a bargain rate of $4.25 for six or $8.50 per dozen. Its the cheapest year around price I’ve ever seen and quality is fantastic. Duck eggs are in high demand near the holidays, so even my local farmers stock can be low near the holidays (he sells to local stores during that time but they don’t want duck eggs year around like I do). When traveling, friends and family have found duck eggs for me and sometimes the only thing they can find is ‘animal feed’ duck eggs that have quite an off putting taste – perhaps those are cheaper.
When we travel, we do scout out for duck eggs in other parts of the country and I’ve never seen any for less than $1 per egg.
What is the best way to cook and peel hard-boiled duck eggs? I have two female Indian Runners that are laying eggs. When removing the shell from hard-boiled eggs, it appears there are two layers of egg white. There is an outer layer of egg white that’s attached to the inside of the shell that’s about 1/16″ – 1/8″ thick. Then inside that is the egg yolk with a separate layer of white around it. I say they’re “layers” because they separate easily. And it’s difficult to separate the eggshell from the outer egg white layer. I’ve never seen this before in chicken eggs. Is that common for duck eggs? Or is there something wrong? Or maybe there’s a trick to cooking and peeling hard-boiled duck eggs that I don’t know?