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Nutritional Differences Between Duck Eggs and Chicken Eggs

What are the nutritional differences between chicken eggs and duck eggs? Are duck eggs healthier for you than hens eggs? What is different about duck eggs to chicken eggs? Are free range eggs healthier than battery hen eggs? What nutrition is found in duck eggs? What nutrition is found in chicken eggs? Learn more about eggs for eating and in diet.

In appearance a duck egg and a chicken egg may look the same. Chicken eggs can be white, brown, light green, or light blue. In North America it is mostly the white eggs sold at stores. In the UK it is mostly brown eggs. Duck eggs are usually white, or a shade of green, or even yellow. It is less common to see them in stores, but they are sometimes sold at farmers markets. In either case the color of the shell has nothing to do with the nutrition within the egg itself and only reflects on the chicken hen, or duck hen, that laid it.

The biggest difference between duck eggs and chicken eggs is the size of the yolk. In duck eggs the yolk is proportionately much larger compared to the white than in chicken eggs.

Duck eggs yolks are about 25% more fatty than hen's eggs. They contain slightly more minerals, more calories, and more amino acids. Duck eggs had more vitamins in general than chicken eggs, but chicken eggs are higher in Riboflavin and Vitamin E.

To compare more accurately, 100grams of duck egg contains:

  • Energy – Kcal – 185
  • Total Fat - 13.77g
  • Calcium – 64mg
  • Iron – 3.85mg
  • Vitamin B12 – 5.40 mcg
  • Vitamin E – 0.740 Mg_ATE

100grams of chicken egg contains:

  • Energy – Kcal - 149
  • Total Fat 10.02g
  • Calcium – 49mg
  • Iron – 1.44mg
  • Vitamin B12 – 1 mcg
  • Vitamin E – 1.05 Mg_ATE

To see a full side-by-side chart listing all the vitamins, minerals, and so forth – see here. Note that this comparison did not state if the eggs were battery hen eggs, or free range. It should be noted that there is a big difference in nutritional value of eggs when comparing how the mother birds were raised – and particularly what they ate.

©by Author - Note the eggs you buy in stores are not fertile, they would not hatch into chicks - no roosters were present.

When birds are fed a commercial diet, compared to a more natural one, the most changes occur. As such a duck fed a more natural diet, will produce different tasting, and nutritionally different eggs, than one eating a commercially prepared diet. The same thing applies to chickens, those fed more naturally will produce healthier eggs than those fed a prepared commercial diet.

To note this normally means free range eggs are healthier than battery hen eggs, however not all free range diets are created equal. In large farm operations “free range” does not mean “natural” it just means the birds are out of their cages for a portion of the day, and may actually be confined to a pen with a cement floor, as such their diet really is not as natural as a true free range hen for which the comparison in egg quality will be made.

Commercial feeds for mass laying birds is generally lower in quality to that which people would feed their own small flocks. If you own your own hens, feed them laying ration, chicken scratch, and allow them to eat grass, weeds, and insects, they would be considered the “true” free range hen, whose eggs shall be compared to a typical “factory farm” egg.

Mother Earth News compared eggs from the conventional battery hen farms to real free range eggs, and reported the following results.

Free range hen eggs contained:

  • 1/3 less cholesterol
  • ¼ less saturated fat
  • 2/3 more vitamin A
  • 3 times as much Vitamin E
  • 7 times more beta carotene
  • 21 times more omega 3

By this we can see that real free range eggs of chickens are far more healthier than most (if not all eggs) found in stores.  The same would probably also be true of duck eggs.

You may be wondering why more duck eggs are not sold in stores if they are so much more healthy - the reason is that ducks cost more to raise and feed - they have a greater need for water, and do not lay as many eggs. 

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Comments (5)

I rarely eat any eggs, but thanks for pointing out the differences. Voted.

I rely on your wisdom in this area.thank you.

Very good article. Also thank for you support of my articles.

I grew up on duck eggs. We had pet ducks and free eggs.

Great info... Yummy :)

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