When we first started keeping waterfowl a few years ago, I wasn’t sure about how to use duck eggs. But they quickly became a favorite of mine and I’ll tell you why!
Years ago, when we first bought our Alaskan log home and barn, we started our adventure with a small flock of laying hens. That’s where everyone begins, right?! Chickens are a great way to introduce yourself to keeping animals and being more self-sufficient.
After a couple of years, we decided to give ducks a try. We had heard wonderful things about keeping ducks, especially about their delicious eggs. So we brought home four little ducklings and have never looked back.
We also keep two geese that help protect our growing flock of ducks. Together, they wander around our property and we love their presence. We also appreciate their daily gift of eggs. Although it took me a little time, I now can’t imagine our kitchen without them!
Why Keep Ducks?
Ducks are, in a way, a little easier to keep than chickens. They aren’t as susceptible to diseases like chickens are, don’t require a roost to sleep on, do well in cold weather, fight less, and lay more eggs for more years than chickens do.
Ducks just require a draft-free area with some straw bedding to make their nests, an appropriate waterfowl feed, and access to water to dip their heads in or to take a little swim. Ducks also cohabitate well with chickens so you can easily have both.
While most of us are used to eating only chicken eggs, here’s some information about duck eggs and what makes them just as great as the birds that lay them.
Cooking and Baking With Duck Eggs
My favorite part about duck eggs is that they are better for baking. Because they contain a little more fat (and less water) than chicken eggs, they make for fluffier baked goods and a richer flavor. Your bread, cakes, and cookies will have a little more oomph to them.
I use duck eggs almost exclusively in my baking recipes and save our chicken’s eggs for frying, scrambling, hard-boiling, and other traditional methods of preparing eggs. Of course, you can do all of those dishes with duck eggs as well, just carefully.
Duck eggs can get overcooked quickly and feel a bit rubbery. They’re not our favorite if we want a fried egg for breakfast. So I tend to use chicken eggs for breakfast dishes and save the duck eggs for anything I’m baking up, including pancakes, waffles, muffins, and the like.
But, as I said, you can use duck eggs for anything so no need to keep two different types of eggs. Just take care when cooking them in the skillet that they don’t get overdone!
How Big Are Duck Eggs?
Duck eggs are about the equivalent of one and one third of a chicken egg. So they aren’t that much bigger. When a recipe calls for one or more eggs, I simply use one duck egg for every chicken egg and have never had an issue.
You can see in this photo below that the duck egg on the right is just slightly larger than the chicken egg on the left. You can also see how much clearer the duck egg white is!
There is a difference when you crack them as well. Duck egg shells are quite a bit thicker than chicken eggshells so you really have to give them a good whack to crack them open. Also, the white isn’t as runny but is thicker.
Ducks eggs are also more nutritious. They are higher in omega-3s, calcium, and several vitamins and minerals. They do, however, contain the same amount of protein as chicken eggs.
Cleaning Duck Eggs
Duck eggs are often dirtier than chicken eggs. This is because the ducks can be wet from swimming and their nests can be wet and muddy as well. They don’t usually use nesting boxes as chickens do. They make their own nests out of bedding on the ground. Or they just lay somewhere outside.
If an egg isn’t dirty when laid then no need to wash it right away. It’s better to avoid washing eggs until just before using them. But if there’s quite a bit of dirt and bedding on the egg, it’s best to get it cleaned up before storing.
Duck eggs can easily be cleaned by running under warm water. Gently use your hands to rub and wash off the dirt. Rinse well and then carefully pat dry with a towel.
Storing Duck Eggs
Duck eggs can last even longer than chicken eggs. Unwashed on the counter they will last for several weeks or several months in the fridge.
If the eggs are unwashed, they can be stored on the countertop at room temperature. However, if they end up getting washed because they’re too dirty, they must be refrigerated immediately. Try to use the eggs that have been washed and refrigerated first.
I hope this gives you some insight into the use of duck eggs and how wonderful they are! Consider adding ducks to your flock of layers or, if you’re just starting out, you might choose to start with some ducks. They are so much fun to have around, easy to care for, and the reward of their delicious and healthy eggs is well worth it!