Since most people keep their ducks for eggs, new duck owners often have questions about duck eggs and duck egglaying habits. Here are the top 20 questions people ask.
- Can I eat duck eggs?
- Are duck eggs or chicken eggs better?
- Can I eat duck eggs if I’m allergic to chicken eggs?
- Do I need a drake to get eggs?
- Are fertilized eggs different for eating?
- How many eggs do ducks lay?
- Which duck breeds lay the most?
- Can I make my ducks lay more eggs?
- Why aren’t my ducks laying eggs?
- When do ducks start laying eggs?
- When do ducks stop laying eggs?
- What time of day do ducks lay eggs?
- How long does it take a duck to lay an egg?
- Do ducks lay every day?
- Can a duck lay 2+ eggs a day?
- What color eggs do ducks lay?
- How big is a duck egg?
- Do ducks lay in winter?
- Do ducks use nest boxes?
- How do I stop my duck from hiding her eggs?
- Will my duck hatch her eggs?
1. Can I eat duck eggs?
Yes. Duck eggs are delicious and can be used in place of chicken eggs in most recipes.
2. Are duck eggs or chicken eggs better?
In many ways, yes.
Duck eggs have a few differences from chicken eggs:
- Duck eggs are larger, usually equivalent to one and a half to two chicken eggs.
- Their shell is thicker than chicken eggs, so have a longer shelf life.
- They have larger, richer, darker, more vibrant yolks.
- Their taste is a bit richer and creamier.
- They produce lighter, fluffier baked goods.
- Due to their lower water content, frying or boiling them for too long can make the whites rubbery in texture.
- They don’t whip up as well as chicken eggs.
- They have much more cholesterol than chicken eggs (which is not a bad thing; eggs have a lot of “good” HDL cholesterol and often do not actually raise LDL blood cholesterol levels).
- They are more nutrient-dense than chicken eggs and have more calories.
- They’re higher in protein and fat, but lower in carbohydrates.
- They are higher in iron, phosphorus, selenium, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin E, and zinc.
- They contain nearly twice as much Omega-3 fatty acids as chicken eggs.
3. Can I eat duck eggs if I’m allergic to chicken eggs?
Maybe. Some people with chicken egg allergies can eat duck eggs without problems. Others are just as allergic to duck eggs as chicken eggs. Others can eat chicken eggs but are allergic to duck eggs.
This is because duck eggs and chicken eggs share some proteins but don’t share other. For example, some people are allergic to ovotransferrin, which is only found in very low quantities in duck eggs.
4. Do I need a drake to get eggs?
Males have nothing to with ovulation, only fertilization. Ducks lay eggs without the presence of a drake.
5. Are fertilized eggs different for eating?
No. Fertilized and unfertilized ducks eggs are the same nutritionally, taste the same, and look almost the same.
There is technically a subtle visible difference: unfertilized eggs have a blastodisc and fertilized eggs have a blastoderm.
A blastodisc looks like a whitish circular blob on the egg yolk. A blastoderm has concentric circles, like a donut, with a bullseye.
This webpage has a good image of a fertilized egg: https://www.hobbyfarms.com/fertilized-eggs-how-tell/
6. How many eggs do ducks lay?
Some ducks lay 25 eggs a year, others lay 340+ eggs a year. It depends on the breed, strain, and individual.
7. Which duck breeds lay the most?
Here are the top ten duck breeds that lay the most eggs:
- Khaki Campbell: 250-340 eggs a year
- Welsh Harlequin: 150-330 eggs a year
- Indian Runner: 150-300 eggs a year
- Pekin: 125-300 eggs a year
- Magpie: 220-290 eggs a year
- Ancona: 210-280 eggs a year
- Silver Appleyard: 200-270 eggs a year
- Saxony: 190-240 eggs a year
- Abacot Ranger: 180-200 eggs a year
- Buff Orpington: 150-220 eggs a year
These numbers vary a lot, however, depending on how well the birds were bred. Khaki Campbells are considered to be the best layers of all duck breeds, but there are plenty of individuals that are only mediocre layers.
Also, most Pekins in the UK are actually German Pekins and may only lay 50-150 eggs a year. Most other Pekins lay around 200 eggs a year. However, one strain of Pekin, Cherry Valley, is purported to lay up to 300 eggs a year.
8. Can I make my ducks lay more eggs?
How many eggs a duck can produce is limited by genetics, but there are a few things you can do to ensure optimum egg production:
- Make sure your ducks are eating high-quality feed formulated for layers.
- Make sure your ducks have free-choice access to a source of calcium (oyster shell or crushed eggshells).
- Try to prevent or minimize sources of stress for your ducks.
- In winter, adding lights to artificially lengthen the days may make your ducks lay more.
9. Why aren’t my ducks laying eggs?
If your ducks aren’t laying eggs or aren’t laying as many as you think they should, it could be because they’re too young or too old, they’re not female, the days are too short, something is stealing the eggs, they’re hiding the eggs, they’re not receiving proper nutrition, they’re molting, they’re stressed, or other reasons.
Read more here:
10. When do ducks start laying eggs?
Ducks start laying when they’re 4-8 months old, or during their first spring.
Read more here:
11. When do ducks stop laying eggs?
Ducks reach “eggopause” and stop laying eggs when they’re 5-10 years old.
Read more here:
12. What time of day do ducks lay eggs?
Ducks usually lay their eggs during early morning.
Read more here:
13. How long does it take a duck to lay an egg?
Some people get worried when they notice their ducks spending an hour or more in their nest box before laying their egg. This is actually quite normal.
Individual ducks are different. Some will lay their egg within 10-15 minutes of entering the nest box. Many will take 30 minutes to an hour. Some will take longer, two or three hours.
However, even though it’s normal for ducks to take a long time laying, it’s still a good idea to keep an eye out for signs of egg binding, just in case.
Here’s a video of two of my Muscovy ducks, Peaches and Mitzi, laying their eggs:
14. Do ducks lay every day?
Many ducks lay one egg a day, nearly every day. From time to time, they will skip a day, and occasionally, they’ll take a break, especially while molting or during winter.
Other ducks lay in clutches. They will lay every day for a series of days, usually five to twenty days, and then they will either go broody and stop laying, or simply stop laying without going broody. After taking a break, usually for one to three weeks, they will lay another clutch of around five to twenty eggs.
Some breeds of ducks lay only a few clutches per year, usually in spring.
15. Can a duck lay 2+ eggs per day?
Read more here:
16. What color eggs do ducks lay?
Most ducks lay white eggs.
However, some ducks lay blue, green, cream, black, or gray eggs.
Duck breeds that can lay blue and green eggs include the Ancona, Australian Spotted, Aylesbury, Bali, Duclair, Dutch Hookbill, Mallard, Pomeranian, Silver Bantam, Silver Appleyard Miniature, and Shetland.
Cayuga and East Indies ducks lay black or gray eggs, which usually fade to white over the course of the season.
17. How big is a duck egg?
Duck eggs are typically larger than chicken eggs, weighing 70-100 grams (2.5-3.5 oz).
However, it varies, of course. Bantam duck eggs are usually 50-55 grams (1.8-1.9 oz), while Pekin eggs can weigh 100 grams or sometimes even more.
In comparison, a jumbo chicken egg weighs around 68 grams (2.5 oz).
18. Do ducks lay in winter?
Most ducks slow down or stop laying during winter, but some will lay throughout winter. Ducks, in general, are more likely to lay during winter than chickens, possibly because they are more cold-hardy and thus less stressed by the cold.
19. Do ducks use nest boxes?
Some do, others don’t.
In general, highly productive layers such as the Khaki Campbell and Indian Runner will not use nest boxes, preferring to drop eggs in random places.
Less productive layers are usually more prone to going broody, and thus they are also more prone to seeking out, building, and using nests.
20. How do I stop my duck from hiding her eggs?
Some ducks like to hide their nests. To stop them from doing this—or reduce the chance—you’ll need to make convincing, tempting nest boxes. Here’s how:
21. Will my duck hatch her eggs?
Some ducks love to go broody and try to hatch their eggs. Others never go broody. Some occasionally go broody.
Here’s more on breeding and hatching eggs: