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 can also lead to a longer shelf life.
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 fat content and slightly more protein. They also have a little bit more cholesterol than chicken eggs. They also contain more vitamins and minerals- such as iron, B12, folate and vitamin A.
Some people think that 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 most of our duck eggs are used for baking. Since they 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.
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.
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 leavethe 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?
linked to the Homestead Barn Hop