Duck Eggs vs Chicken Eggs
If you’ve never had access to duck eggs, you might be wondering how different they can be from chicken eggs. Some differences will depend on the breed of duck that laid the egg. An egg from a Muscovy will be somewhat different from a Pekin egg, for example. My ducks are Pekins and, at maturity, they lay an egg bigger than the largest of my chicken eggs. The off-white shells are harder to crack and the yolks are a deeper shade of gold than the chicken eggs. (I have since had Rouens and Black Cayuga… both laid fewer eggs than the Pekins, and their eggs were closer in size to a large chicken egg.)
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There are also some differences in the nutritional composition of a duck egg compared to a chicken egg. In general, duck eggs contain more protein, calories, fat, dietary cholesterol, vitamins and minerals than chicken eggs. Eggs from pastured ducks will be higher in nutritional value than eggs from birds that are ‘cooped up’. If your doctor has you on a low fat, low cholesterol diet, you might want to stick with chicken eggs, or egg whites. But, most health experts now agree that exercise levels, saturated fats and trans fats have a greater impact on our cholesterol levels than dietary cholesterol. Duck eggs do contain more saturated fat than chicken eggs…something to be aware of if you have a history of heart disease in your family.
Eating Duck Eggs
Some people taste no difference between duck eggs and chicken eggs. I do notice a difference and I prefer chicken eggs for scrambling, frying, or boiling. Perhaps it is just because I’m used to chicken eggs, but I notice a difference in the flavor, with duck eggs tasting somewhat ‘gamey.’
If you like trying new things, enjoy different flavors, or just have an abundance of duck eggs, I encourage you to try eating duck eggs in place of chicken eggs for breakfast! If you like sticking with foods that you enjoy and don’t have an adventurous palate, duck eggs might not be the best choice for your breakfast fare. Try using them in your cooking and baked goods instead!
Cooking and Baking with Duck Eggs
Quick breads, cakes, muffins, brownies, and other goodies are delicious made with duck eggs in place of chicken eggs in your recipes. My Mom used duck eggs for cakes when I was a kid and I can still remember how moist and wonderful those cakes tasted!
How many duck eggs to use in place of chicken eggs?
In general, the following conversion works pretty well…
1 large chicken egg = 1 small duck egg
2 medium chicken eggs = 1 large duck egg
3 medium chicken eggs = 2 large duck eggs
I realize that this is a bit confusing and it took a while for me to get the hang of using duck eggs in my recipes. If your ducks lay eggs that are similar in size to a chicken’s, then I suggest using the same number of duck eggs in place of chicken eggs. Pekin eggs are about 1.5 times the size of most chicken eggs. You may notice that using the same number of large duck eggs in place of large chicken eggs will give you a very moist, and possibly heavy, finished product. If you are going for light and fluffy, you may want to remove the yolk from one duck egg.
What Else Can You Use them In?
Now that I have a small flock of 6 Pekin ducks, I am collecting 3 or 4 duck eggs each day. Although I don’t care for these eggs in my omelet, I really do enjoy using them to bake homemade treats for lunch boxes and desserts. They also make great French toast, custards, puddings, deviled eggs, egg salad, omelets, quiches, and souffles.
Here are some of my favorite recipes that work well with duck eggs in place of chicken eggs:
Storing Duck Eggs
Because duck eggs have a harder, thicker shell than chicken eggs, they are reported to keep longer in storage. It has also been my experience that duck eggs keep longer than chicken eggs and I have kept them in the refrigerator for up to 4 or 5 months with no problems. If you wish to store them longer, I would suggest coating the shell with mineral oil before stashing them in the fridge.
Selling Duck Eggs
If you are collecting more eggs from you ducks than you can use, there might be a market for duck eggs in your area. For an in depth guide to selling eggs from your homestead, check out my article How to Sell Your Farm Fresh Eggs.
Hatching Duck Eggs
Hatching your own ducklings for replacement layers or for sustainable meat production is a great way to increase your self sufficiency. Duck eggs take 28 days to hatch, compared to chicken eggs which take 21 days. You may have people in your area who are interested in purchasing ducklings for their backyard flock or homestead, so this could give you additional income potential. Check into availability and interest in your area before you start!
For more ideas for using your extra eggs, check out What to do With Extra Eggs.
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