Both ducks and chickens lay eggs and provide meat for the homesteader's table, but if eggs are what you're after, a chicken will lay up to 100 more per year than a duck. Ducks may use your chicken nest boxes to lay their eggs -- although they are equally happy to lay their eggs in shrubbery and other out-of-the-way places -- but you won't have any trouble telling which egg came from what species.
Duck Eggshells Are Smooth, Creamy
When you see chicken and duck eggs lying side by side in a nest, you'll notice a few details. White chicken eggs will be a bright white while white duck eggs are a creamy off-white color. Blue or brown chicken eggs are solidly colored, where duck eggs show faint mottling of the color. The texture of duck eggs is smoother than chicken's eggs and have a slightly waxy sheen.
Ducks and chickens of the same size will not lay the same size eggs. An average duck egg weighs in at 130 grams, out-sizing a medium chicken egg by 60 grams. The egg of a chicken has more water content than that of a duck, causing chicken eggs to weigh less than a similarly sized duck egg. A jumbo chicken egg may seem close in size to a duck egg, but generally will weigh in at 70 grams.
Cooking With Eggs
The thick shell of a duck egg is not easily broken and larger duck eggs may take a sharp rap with the blunt edge of a table knife to crack. When placed in a clear glass bowl, the difference between the eggs is readily noticeable. The duck eggs have a larger yolk-to-white ratio, with yolks a bright orange color. The white of the egg is completely clear without any cloudiness. By contrast, chicken eggs have smaller, yellow yolks and a slightly cloudy, faintly yellowish white.
While you probably won't notice much taste difference between the two eggs, the low water content of duck eggs means more nutrients per egg. Most of the nutrition is found in the bright orange yolk, including omega-3 fatty acids, essential amino acids and vitamins D and E among others. While not noticeable to the naked eye, duck eggs are higher in fat at 14 grams per 100 grams of egg compared with 10 grams of fat per 100 grams of chicken egg.
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