Ah, do you want to raise chickens or ducks? For most people, the answer to that question will depend on which eggs they most want to eat. Both chickens and ducks are prolific layers and by the time you’ve established a good-sized flock that can withstand rough weather and predation (and possible illness), you’ll be swimming in eggs. But which ones do you want the most? Let’s take a look.
If you’re the type of person who really just wants to crack a few eggs with their morning toast, you’re probably after chicken eggs. They’re a little smaller in most cases, but they’re what the typical American grows upon. They’re the little white or brown eggs from the store, they’re the ones every breakfast restaurant has; America runs on the chicken egg.
However, there’s nothing wrong with eating a duck egg for breakfast, either. If doing so, I strongly recommend soft boiling your duck eggs versus frying them up in a pan. Unsure of how to soft boil an egg? Place clean duck eggs in cold water and bring to a boil for 10-12 minutes. For some smaller duck eggs, this may result in hard-boiled eggs. In all honesty, it takes a little wiggle room and you’ll get the hang of it after a batch or two with your specific ducks.
Allow the eggs to cool or toss them in an ice water bath before peeling. Peel your egg, split it, and dip your toast or pancakes in the creamy to runny yolks. They’ll bring a depth that chicken eggs can’t touch.
So who really wins the breakfast debate? I’ll go with chickens because chicken eggs are so common, but ducks deserve a seat at the table, too.
For day-to-day cooking, you’ll see “1 large egg” in so many dishes that you’ll simply assume that they require a chicken egg. And guess what? You’re probably right.
But they’re wrong.
Duck eggs are the superior choice for everything from southwestern scrambles to fried rice (and back again). There’s nothing wrong with using a chicken egg, but you’ll use fewer duck eggs (which will always be larger than any chicken egg) and get a “meatier” bite from the bits of egg throughout your dish. That said if you’re using a very delicate recipe, that may not be the best thing.
For this category, we really do have to give it up for the duck eggs. Sorry chickens; you’re great for breakfast and stand-alone better than the typical duck egg, but duck eggs work best when you’re really dishing lunch out.
This is where there’s such a clear winner that one of them gets left in the dust.
The chicken coop dust.
Duck eggs are superior in every possible way when it comes to baking. Go ahead, try your favorite recipe with duck eggs instead of chicken eggs. We’ll wait.
Yeah? Did you do it? See how much richer your favorite sweets are? I know it blew my mind the first time I did it, too. The higher protein, the thicker whites; simply everything about the usual duck egg makes it a superior choice for baking in your kitchen compared to chicken eggs.
That doesn’t mean you’ll get a subpar product if you work with chicken eggs. After all, they’re more common and less expensive and I absolutely understand if you don’t want to have to go out of your way to source duck eggs to experiment with. The world is costly at the moment. We all understand.
But if your ducks are laying in your backyard or your back pasture, gather up some eggs for your cookies and brownies, and cakes. Don’t head to the chicken coop, head to the pond. Because duck eggs win this category hands down.
For Those Of Us Medically Sensitive Sorts
For those looking for an ideal egg for medical sensitivities, we strongly recommend that you speak with your doctor before you go any further. High cholesterol is one of the first things that comes to mind, but many illnesses and sensitivities are out there that may be reactive to eggs, egg products, and those things that have eggs in them.
That said, I will hesitantly award chickens the win here because they do have significantly lower fat and cholesterol ratios, though all eggs are cholesterol bombs. Even better, you’re more likely to see chicken egg substitutes and egg white products than you will duck eggs.
The biggest debate it all comes down to is whether or not you want to deal with ducks or chickens. While chickens are slightly easier on the care scale (assuming you don’t have a small pond of your own or you aren’t raising muscovy ducks, which do not require a water feature in their enclosure), both types of birds can be pretty labor intensive. Overall, most duck and chicken breeds that commercial hatcheries sell are healthy, robust animals that are willing to produce, produce, produce until the light begins to fade away at the beginning of winter… and sometimes well into winter, depending on the exact breed.
Once you’re awash in eggs, you’re going to need to do something with all of them. We strongly recommend doing one of two things: Cracking your eggs and freezing them, then adding those frozen eggs to a zippered bag in your deep freezer. These will keep for up to two years and are easy to add to anything that requires a scrambled egg (and if it’s a soup or a stew, why even bother thawing it? Just toss it right in!). You may also choose to pickle them if you’re a fan of pickled eggs. We’ll cover that another day, however, as well as the care of chickens, ducks, and assorted other egg-productive poultry.
Tell us down below if we’ve helped you root out which species you’d like to keep, or if you’ve decided to keep both (like I have) so you have a variety of egg types on hand at all times! Happy poultry keeping!
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