Ducks are productive egg layers who provide nutrition and culinary value. The duck egg is distinct in size and flavor. Some people prefer the taste of duck eggs over chicken and goose. Duck eggs also hatch on a different schedule than other eggs. Ducks nest on the ground and the eggs require specific conditions to hatch.
Hatching Duck Eggs
Duck eggs are typically hatched in an incubator but ducks will hatch on their own when possible. They require a male to fertilize the eggs and a nesting area for hatching naturally. The incubation process requires 28 to 30 days at a temperature setting of 98.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The eggs are turned five times daily in the incubator for the first 25 days and left alone for the final three days to hatch.
Common Size and Look
Duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs with the exact size varying based on breed. The typical duck egg is roughly 1 1/3 times larger than a chicken egg. They look similar in shape and the color is often white or cream color. Duck eggs have a thicker shell as you will notice when attempting to crack the eggs. Use a hard surface and extra pressure to break through the shell.
Ducks are among the most productive egg-laying birds available for farm use. Campbell ducks are known to lay upwards of 300 eggs per year while a typical chicken will lay closer to 250 eggs per year. Ducks do consume more feed than chickens, which factors into the monetary value of each egg. Egg production also varies seasonally and is dependent on care. You must check nesting boxes and pens daily to remove any eggs. Ducks are less likely to lay if an existing egg is present. The summer season is highly productive while the short days of winter lessen production. The addition of artificial light during the winter is often used to encourage egg laying.
Cooking Duck Eggs
Duck eggs have a higher caloric value than chicken eggs. They are rich in fat and have a high amount of cholesterol. The amount of vitamins and nutritional value of any egg is dependent on the diet. Ducks who forage, receive vegetables, fruits and insects in addition to commercial feed will supply a more nutritious egg than ducks with a commercial feed-only diet. The eggs have a rich flavor and are good for frying and boiling as a normal meal option. They are also fluffy and valued for baking and cooking pastries.