Duck Eggs vs Chicken Eggs – what is the actual difference? In general the size is the most obvious difference, however it is not always the case. We have had both chickens and ducks for about 2 years now. More often than not the duck eggs are larger than the chicken eggs – even though we have some truly jumbo sized chicken egg layers (our Barred Rock Twins are amazing!). But there are a number of other difference that make having both a great asset to a Modern Micro Homestead.
You might wonder why it is that Chicken eggs are the predominating egg found in our stores and our diets. This is attributed to two main reasons – first, duck eggs do (overall) cost more to produce. Ducks need more space and a pond to swim in and drink from. Ducks also typically do not lay every day or even every other day, ,like most chickens. Second is actually due to salmonella outbreak that happen just after WWII. Looking back on this period of time, it has since been pointed out that the evidence was thin, and the event was not specific to only duck eggs. But the damage was done and the farms shifted to focus on chicken eggs alone. This is how we got to where are today. You can usually find duck eggs in “higher-end” markets as well as farmers markets and feed stores.
Duck eggs have much larger yolks than chicken eggs – which means that they have less egg white (by volume). So if you are looking for egg whites, chicken eggs will provide you more bang for your buck. Since duck eggs have larger yolks, this means they have more protein packed in. You also get more of all those good things you expect from eggs – like Omega-3s, and almost double the amount of Vitamin A. One important thing to note – while I often use duck and chicken eggs interchangeably in my cooking – when it comes to baking, you will want to be more cautious. As many people often say – Baking is a Science and measurements matter. Since duck eggs have different white-to-yolk ratios than duck eggs, this can alter the outcome of a cake recipe.
Another big difference between chicken and duck eggs is the shells. Duck eggs have a much thicker shell with a stronger inner membrane. Which is super helpful because ducks don’t like to lay in their homes all the time. We have been pretty lucky that our ducks are mostly “house trained” but we still often find them around the coop every few days. The thicker shells helps them stay whole when the chickens try to peck them open (yes chickens love to eat eggs!)
Some great ways to use duck eggs over chicken eggs include poached eggs, making pasta, mayonnaise, crème brulee, and custards. I personally love to use them for fried eggs, breakfast sandwiches, and poaching eggs. My whole family really loves a runny runny yolk and since duck eggs have a larger yolk, you have a better chance of not over cooking them. Duck eggs also make excellent hollandaise sauce, with that extra richeness you want from this decadent sauce. One of my favorite recipes to swap duck eggs out for chicken eggs is this Steak & Potato Hash.
Meet the Girls:
Almost all of them have names (and they all start with ‘S’, which is a silly story), with the exception of the barred rocks and the speckled sussex. This is because we have 2 sets of 2 barred rocks (one we call the old twins and one we call the young twins) and a set of 2 speckled sussex that we just call both speckled, because honestly you cannot tell them apart. The rest are in groups. We have the ‘Singers’ – Shania, Shakira and Sally. We have the Firestarters (again a story for another day) – Smokey, Sparky and Sizzle. We then have Savvy – which we saved from a round of meat chickens, when we realized that she might not have been meant to be a meat chicken. And at the moment only one of our ducks is named – Sandy. The 3 ducklings we have are not yet old enough to know for sure if they are girls (egg layers) or boys (meat producers), so we won’t name them till we know for sure. But at the moment the names on the table are Spaghetti, Strawberry, Sage, Sasha and Sammy.
Do you or have your raised your own chickens? Do you have any questions you want answers or topics you would like to see me cover in this series?
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