16 Duck Breeds For Colorful Eggs!

16 Duck Breeds For Colorful Eggs!

Sometimes, I lay awake at night and think about how great my flock would look with all kinds of different duck breeds.


(Well, maybe not really all night. I do like to sleep.)


Ducks are lovely creatures that make great pets – and they lay eggs! Lots of eggs (sometimes, more consistently than chickens).


From wonderful egg layers like the Ancona and Silver Appleyard, to beautiful heavy breeds like the Rouen and Aylesbury, ducks are great to have in any backyard or farm.


However, there’s so many options, it can be hard to know which duck breeds are best for you!


In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about ducks, from baby duck breeds or miniature duck breeds, and to mixing duck breeds in order to find a combination that’ll fit your needs.


List of Pet Domestic Duck Breeds

  • American Pekin
  • Ancona
  • Appleyard
  • Call Duck
  • Cayuga
  • Crested Duck
  • Indian Runner Duck
  • Khaki Campbell
  • Muscovy
  • Magpie
  • Mallard
  • Orpington
  • Rouen
  • Saxony
  • Swedish
  • Welsh Harlequin


Duck Breeds

American Pekin

This large duck breed has been domesticated for over 2000 years! They’re one of the most popular duck breeds, and are instantly recognizable because they’re white! This friendly duck has an orange beak and legs, and is an excellent producer of large, white eggs. They’re generally healthy (although you need to give them Brewer’s Yeast as ducklings so they grow healthy bones). American Pekin ducks are good-natured and make for excellent pets.


They’re both heat and cold hardy, and are one of the heavier breeds, weighing at about 9 pounds.


How many eggs do Pekin ducks lay?

On average, Pekin hens lay about 200 very large white colored eggs per year (this will depend on diet – you can learn what ducks eat here).



This dual-purpose duck is beautiful and friendly….and lays GREEN eggs! They’re also excellent foragers, and will keep your gardens free of slugs and other pain in the butt garden pests. Originating in England, they’re a relatively new breed (developed in the earthy 20th century) and are said to descend from Runner ducks. They’re great producers of eggs, and can lay green, blue, white, or cream eggs. They’re friendly, and make excellent pets if you feed them lots of treats.



Named after their breeder, Reginald Appleyard, this is a pretty new duck breed, but growing in popularity rapidly. They’re one of the “champion egg layers” of the backyard duck world, producing about 250 white eggs per year. They’re heavy, weighing in at around 9 pounds for the drakes, and are excellent foragers. You can find Appleyards at most big hatcheries. You can learn more about this duck breed here.


Call Duck

These are smaller ducks (kind of like bantam chickens) that are mostly kept as companions. They have smaller bills and were originally used as decoys by hunters to attract wild ducks. Because of their size and adorable appearance, they make great pets, and enjoy human company. The drakes weigh about 1.5 pounds, with the hens weighing about 1 pound (so, pretty small). Their egg colors can range from green to white to cream.


Because of their size, they’re even more susceptible to predators, so make sure their duck house is safe. You can watch this video of us making a predator-safe duck pen here:


[brid autoplay=”true” video=”453701″ player=”19074″ title=”Finishing the Predator-Proof Chicken Run & Duck Pen” duration=”113″ uploaddate=”2019-08-21 17:32:52″ thumbnailurl=”//cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/14575/thumb/453701_t_1566408761.png”]



Although it’s not clear how this duck breed developed, one thing is for sure: Cayuga ducks are very distinct! Their unique name derives from the indigenous people who occupied modern day Upstate New York before the European invasion.


They’re solid black (although their feathers have a green sheen to them, especially the drakes). They’re friendly and are excellent foragers. The hens lay eggs in shades of light grey to a dark, charcoal grey (sometimes even black). As the season progresses, the eggs get lighter and lighter. The males weigh about 7 pounds, and the females about 5 pounds.


Crested Duck

Crested ducks are great pet breeds (especially for children) because they’re friendly and look like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book! The crest on their head is actually a genetic abnormality. They seem to be an ancient breed, and there’s some 2000 year old images showing a duck with a crest of feathers. Weighing in at around 7 pounds, they’re also fairly large.


They’re excellent layers of about 200 eggs per year. There’s also a bantam version of this duck breed. The crest is caused by a lethal allele, and when both parents carry the crested genetics, 25% of the clutch won’t hatch (similar to araucanas and their lethal genetics). So, it’s best to breed a crested duck to a non-crested duck to ensure the best possible hatch rate (50% of the ducklings will be crested). You can read more about hatching eggs here.


Indian Runner Duck

This duck breed is very distinctive, with their nearly vertical build. They also don’t waddle, instead, they’re built to run (hence their name “runner duck.) They’re excellent layers of about 300 eggs per year, and are great for pest control. Originating from the East Indies, they’re quiet ducks that prefer to forage. They’re also on the small side, with drakes weighing about 5 pounds. Their duck eggs are green or blue (or shades in between).


Indian Runner duck colors include:

  • White
  • Penciled
  • Buff
  • Black
  • Chocolate
  • Blue
  • Grey
  • Fawn & White


Khaki Campbell

Khaki Campbells are a popular duck breed that lays large, white eggs consistently (about 200 per year). They’re brown, and it’s easy to tell the drakes from the hens. They’re friendly if hand raised, and fed lots of treats. However, they’re susceptible to predators, especially since they tend to be on the small side. They also tend to “go broody” (want to hatch eggs) more than other breeds. You can easily find this breed at most big hatcheries.



The Muscovy duck breed is a bit of an anomaly in the duck world – they’re the only duck breed not descended from Mallards! The have very distinct appearances, with faces that look covered with bright red warts. Unlike other duck breeds, their eggs take 35 days to hatch (other breeds take 28 days to hatch). They’re also one of the only breeds to perch in trees, and have claws to aid them. They’re large, and lay about 200 off white eggs per year. Some owners say the eggs have a greenish tint, but aren’t exactly green. They love to eat ticks and mosquitoes! You can read more about Muscovy ducks here.

muscovy duck breed with red face



This is a funny black and white duck breed that’s becoming more popular as a pet. They’re friendly and distinctive-looking birds, and enjoy human company if offered lots of treats. They’re fairly upright (although not as vertical as Runner ducks) and are excellent layers – about 280 eggs per year.



With their green heads and pervasive quacks, mallards are fun a duck breed to raise. While you can find them in the wild, there’s also domestic mallards that hatcheries sell. The males and females look different (unlike Pekins where both are white), with the females having black and tan feathers that remind me of tiger stripes. They’re very beautiful! The females lay about 200 white or greenish white eggs per year.


Orpington Duck

Developed in the town of Orpington in the UK, this breed is less known in the US, but rising in popularity. Their developer, William Cook, also developed the Orpington chicken. Good Ol’ William crossed Rouen, Indian Runner, and Cayugas to create his beautiful Orpington ducks. They’re great producers of large eggs, laying around 200 per year. This duck breed comes in 3 color variations: Buff, Blond, and Brown. The males have a yellow bill, while the females have darker colored bills. While admitted into the American Poultry Standard of Perfection, they don’t necessarily breed true.



The Rouen are a duck breed that’s colored like the mallard, but are larger. Originating in France, they’re beautiful birds to look at, and lay prolifically: about 200 white eggs per year. They make great farm ducks, and enjoy human company.



Saxony ducks are distinctive looking with their grey heads and wood-colored feathers. Unlike other duck breeds on this list, they were developed in Germany in the 20th century, and are great layers of large, white eggs. They’re large ducks, weighing in at about 9 pounds.



This popular breed has white feathers on its chest, and beautiful blue/grey feathers. They were developed in Germany and Northern Poland, and are called “Swedish” because the recognized government was the kingdom of Sweden at the time the breed became known. Blue is the most well known feather color, but other varieties include brown and black. It’s said that Daffy Duck was a Swedish drake – he certainly has the characteristics! They’re great layers of large eggs.


Welsh Harlequin

These are smaller ducks, weighing in at around 5 pounds. Originating in Wales (hence the name Welsh Harlequin) and are derived from Khaki Campbells. Like Mallards, they have green/black heads, and lay prolifically – about 300 white eggs per year.


How Many Varieties Of Ducks Are There?

There’s about 28 types of domestic duck/pet duck breeds in the USA.


What Kind Of Duck Has A Green Head?

Several duck breeds have green heads, including Mallards, Welsh Harlequins, and Rouens. Cayuga drakes also have green heads, although their entire bodies are covered with black feathers that sport a greenish sheen.


What Breed Of Duck Has Yellow Ducklings?

Duck breeds that have yellow ducklings are Pekins and Khaki Campbell ducks. Their ducklings are covered in yellow feathers and have orange beaks and feet.


Keeping Ducks as Pets

What Are The Best Backyard Ducks?

The best backyard duck breeds that lay lots of eggs and are friendly are:

  • Khaki Campbell (about 280 eggs/year)
  • Magpie (about 280 eggs/year)
  • Mallard (about 200 eggs/year)
  • Welsh Harlequin (about 280 eggs/year)
  • Buff Orpington (about 300 eggs/year)
  • Crested (about 200 eggs/year)
  • Rouens (about 250 eggs/year)
  • Call Ducks (about 300 eggs/year)


Different breeds lay different colored eggs. While most ducks lay white eggs, they can also lay off white, cream tinted, green, blue, or black eggs. Here’s a chart that shows you which breeds lay different colored eggs:


Breed Egg Color Eggs Laid Per Year
American Pekin White 200
Ancona Green 200
Appleyard White 250
Black East Indie Grey, charcoal grey 200
Call Duck Green, white, cream 300
Cayuga Black, charcoal grey, light grey 200
Crested Duck White 200
Indian Runner Duck Green, blue 300
Khaki Campbell White 280
Muscovy Off white, cream, speckled 200
Magpie White, bluish green 280
Mallard White, greenish white 200
Orpington White 300
Rouen White 250
Saxony White 200
Swedish White 200
Welsh Harlequin White, blue 300

What Are The Friendliest Duck Breeds?

The top 3 in friendliest duck breeds would have to be the Pekin, Rouen, Khaki Campbell, Swedish, and the Call duck.


Are Ducks Friendly Pets?

Yes! Particularly if you hand raise them and give them lots of treats, they’ll be your best friend. It’s also important to pick breeds that are friendly, such as Call ducks. You can learn about how to raise people friendly poultry here. If you want to give your ducklings treats, you can learn what ducklings eat here.


Can A Duck Be An Indoor Pet?

Yes, but it’ll have to wear a diaper. Ducks, like all birds, don’t have a bladder, so when nature calls, they’ll go anywhere. That being said, ducks are happiest with other ducks, and living in a flock. 


What Is The Largest Breed Of Duck?

Pekins. The drakes weigh about 12 – 13 pounds. Traditionally, Pekins were raised as both meat and egg producers, but in modern times, they’re largely kept as layers and pets.


How Long Do Domestic Ducks Live?

The average lifespan of the average domesticated duck is 8 to 10 years, as long as they’re cared for properly. This will vary by breed and individual bird. You can read more about how to raise healthy ducks here and more about how long individual duck breeds live here.


Do Ducks Bite You?

Just like any animal ducks can and will bite when threatened. However, these incidences are few and far between, and ducks don’t generally bite their owners without being provoked and very scared.


Can You Train A Duck?

Yes, with treats, you can train a duck to come when called. If you work with them every day and follow some simple steps (like training them with treats during evening, when they naturally want to come to their house), your ducks will be trained in no time.


Are Ducks Affectionate?

Yes, pet ducks can be very affectionate when they receive the right care.


Will Domestic Ducks Fly Away?

Fear not, as most domesticated duck breeds cannot fly because they’re too heavy compared to their wings. However, some breeds like Mallards have evolved to fly, so you can simply trim their wings.


How Can You Tell If A Duckling Is Male Or Female?

When they hatch, the other sure fire way is to “vent sex” a duck, however, only qualified professionals should attempt this. When they’re about 4 to 6 weeks old, you might notice some ducklings develop a deeper quack, while others retain a high pitched squeak. The lower pitched quack is a sign of a duck hen – their adult voices develop much sooner. As adolescents, a good sign to look for is a curled feather that sticks up near the tail, called a “drake feather,” which indicates the duck is a male.


Which Breeds Are Quiet?

Muscovies are quiet (they don’t quack. Instead, they have a quiet, whispery call that sounds like a hiss). You can learn more about Muscovies here.


Duck Breeds For Eggs

Ducks for White Eggs

Duck breeds that lay white eggs are the Pekin, Buff Orpington, Indian Runner, Swedish, Magpie, and Ancona.


Ducks for Green Eggs

Duck breeds that lay green eggs are the Indian Runner, Call, and Ancona.


Ducks for Blue Eggs

Duck breeds that lay blue eggs are the Indian Runner and Magpie.


Ducks for Black Eggs

Duck breed that lay black eggs is the Cayuga.


Are Duck Eggs Good To Eat?

Yes, duck eggs are good to eat as they are high in fat and rich in omega 3. They’re potentially healthier than chicken eggs, and often, people who have an allergy to chicken eggs can eat duck eggs. You can discover more about duck eggs here.


What Are The Best Laying Ducks?

The best laying ducks are the Campbell, Runner, Buff, Welsh Harlequin, Magpie, and Ancona.


Do Ducks Need Shelter At Night?

Yes, it’s a good idea to give all duck breeds shelter at night to protect them from predators and from inclement weather. You can learn how to build a safe duck pen here.


What Do Ducks Like To Sleep On?

The good thing about ducks is that they don’t roost, so they are fine with sleeping on soft shavings on the coop floor. You can learn about different coop bedding options here.


Which Duck Breeds Are Broody?

The best broody duck breeds are Muscovies and the Welsh Harlequin.


Feeding Backyard Ducks

What Can I Feed My Backyard Ducks?

It’s best to feed your ducks a high quality layer feed specifically formulated for ducks. You can also supplement their diet with oyster shells for additional calcium. As for treats, you can feed your backyard ducks insects, worms, weeds/grass, fish, eggs, berries, cracked corn, or sunflower seeds. For a full list, you can learn more about what to feed ducks here.

Some veggies and leafy greens that ducks love are:

  • Cut grass (that hasn’t been sprayed with any chemicals)
  • Kale
  • Swiss chard
  • Radish & turnip greens
  • Lettuces & other salad greens

Some high-protein treats you can feed ducks are:

Remember: Ducks aren’t chickens – they have round bills that don’t pick food up easily like sharp beaks. So, it’s best to float treats on water so your ducks can easily dig them up.

Which duck breeds do you raise? Please a comment below!

Duck Eggs: Nutrition & Buyer’s Guide

Duck Eggs: Nutrition & Buyer’s Guide

Blame it on the huge amount of nutrients or their deliciousness: It’s undeniable that duck eggs are becoming more and more popular for health nuts.


While most people think of chickens when they eat eggs, duck eggs are gradually making their way to kitchen tables everywhere.


And why not? They’re low in calories, great for skin and hair, and, according to science, might be edible even if you have a chicken egg allergy.


In this article, we’ll cover the advantages and disadvantages of duck eggs, along with their health benefits, how to cook with them, where to buy them, and how to make sure they’re fresh!


Eating Duck Eggs

Duck eggs are full of nutrients, and some researchers claim they’re perhaps even healthier than chicken eggs – especially for those with egg allergies.


Duck Eggs Nutrition Facts*

Compared side-by-side with chicken eggs nutrition facts labels, duck eggs provide important nutrients you might not get from just eating chicken eggs.


duck egg nutrition facts

Duck Eggs Nutrition Facts

Chicken eggs nutrition facts

Chicken Egg Nutrition Facts


Advantages of Duck Eggs

  • Higher in omega-3 fatty acids
  • More protein, riboflavin, folates, iron, phosphorus, Vitamin B, & selenium
  • Larger yolks, which means more flavor
  • Creamier baked goods
  • Better quality of life for poultry, if purchased locally
  • Possibly edible if you have egg allergies (check with your doctor first)


Disadvantages of Duck Eggs

  • Harder to source
  • More expensive ($6-$12 per dozen)
  • Possible fishy smell if the ducks aren’t fed a high quality diet


Are Duck Eggs Healthy For You?

Yes! Duck egg nutrition data indicates this food is a good source of:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Protein
  • Riboflavin
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin B12
  • Selenium


Duck eggs are full of omega-3 fatty acids, and they’re 67% fat. But don’t let that fool you – that’s “good fat” that’ll help you stay healthy and possibly lose weight if you follow the keto diet.


They’re higher in protein than chicken eggs, thanks to the albumen, which has more proteins in it than chicken eggs. The yolks are bigger, which means they contain more essential vitamins and minerals.


They also might stay fresher for longer due to a thicker shell. Part of the reason their shells are so thick is because the chicken egg industry doesn’t provide sufficient calcium to battery hens. Since duck eggs aren’t produced on such a commercial scale, they tend to have better diets.


Duck eggs purchased from a local source also might still have the bloom, which is a natural coating on the shell that keeps it fresher for longer periods. However, if you want to wash eggs you bought from a local farmer, you can read this article for advice.


If you’re not sure whether the eggs you purchase are fresh or not, you can try the fresh egg float test.


Are Duck Eggs Safe To Eat?

Yes! Duck eggs are safe, and very delicious. Just like chicken eggs, there’s a small possibility of salmonella. To avoid this, purchase your duck eggs from a local source that provides a high-quality diet for their ducks. High quality diets can reduce instances of salmonella and e-coli infecting the eggs since the duck’s digestive system is healthier. Also be sure to fully cook the eggs so all bacteria is killed off.


How Long Do Duck Eggs Stay Fresh?

Up to 6 weeks if refrigerated. It’s always best to purchase your eggs from a local supplier so they’re as fresh as possible. Eggs purchased at a supermarket can be nearly 60 days old. You can learn more about how to tell if an egg is good or bad here.


You can also watch this video to learn about why supermarket eggs are not likely fresh:

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How Many Calories Are In A Duck Egg?

According to the Egg Nutrition Center, duck eggs have about 70 calories each. Whether you boil them, poach them, or scramble them, the calorie count remains the same.


What Do You Do With Duck Eggs?

Duck eggs are delicious when fried, poached, steamed, or boiled. You can cook them exactly like chicken eggs, so there are many recipes for scrambled duck eggs. They’re great to bake with, and yield a creamier texture to cakes. In recipes, you can swap out chicken eggs for duck eggs – just use 1 duck egg for every 1 chicken egg (for example, if the recipe calls for 1 chicken egg, just use 1 duck egg).


For duck egg recipes, Jamie Oliver has released many popular ones that are easy to follow, such as a basic tutorial on how to boil duck eggs.


If you raise ducks, you can feed the eggshells back to your flock, or even scramble eggs for them.


Can You Eat Duck Eggs Raw?

Nutritionists and doctors recommend to not eat raw duck eggs to avoid possible salmonella infection. As a precaution only use duck eggs in recipes that can be thoroughly cooked. Note that duck eggs and chicken eggs have the same chances of carrying salmonella.


Can Someone With An Egg Allergy Eat Duck Eggs?

Possibly. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, nearly 2% of the population is effected by an egg allergy. However, duck eggs are different than chicken eggs (since they come from 2 different species) and some people with egg allergies CAN eat duck eggs. A doctor can help you determine whether you can eat duck eggs if you’re allergic to eggs in general. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, your doctor might provide tests to see if you’re also allergic to duck eggs.


Are Duck Eggs High In Histamine?

Like chicken eggs, duck eggs are considered to be low in histamines. Eggs in general are good to eat if you have a histamine intolerance. According to one study performed by researchers, the way you cook your duck eggs has no effect on the histamines you consume. You can also eat duck eggs with certain fruits and vegetables to consume minerals that will help your body release histamines.


Can You Eat Mallard Duck Eggs?

Yes, you can eat mallard duck eggs. Some people even use these eggs for baking, and they say it makes the cakes fluffier. To cook with mallard eggs, simply substitute duck eggs for chicken eggs in the same quantities called for in the recipe. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 chicken egg, use 1 duck egg. Be sure to only use eggs purchased from a local source – do not disturb wild duck nests for their eggs.


Is Duck Egg Good For Hair?

Duck eggs are great for healthy hair! They’re they are high in protein and contain biotin, which is essential for scalp health and hair growth. A diet high in egg proteins can also lend your hair a healthy shine, and since duck eggs are also high in lecithin, they might help moisturize your locks (lecithin is a fat used to moisturize the hair, and is even used in commercial hair products.) Additionally, key constituent of duck egg yolks is sulfur, which is important for healthy hair follicles. You can eat duck eggs or even mix them with oil and wash your hair for healthy, strong locks.


Why Do Duck Eggs Smell Fishy?

If your duck eggs smell fishy, it’s possibly caused by high levels of choline in the egg. According to this study, choline can cause high levels of trimethylamine (TMA) that results in that fishy odor in eggs. However, this is less likely to happen if ducks eat a good commercial feed, so if you’re purchasing eggs and they smell, ask your supplier about their flocks’ diet. If you purchase them at the supermarket, try a different brand. Another possibility is the eggs are rotten or weren’t stored correctly. If your duck eggs smell fishy or bad, throw them out.


Is Duck Egg Cholesterol Good Or Bad?


Duck Eggs Vs. Chicken Eggs

What’s The Difference Between A Duck Egg And A Chicken Egg?

In most cases the nutritional value of the chicken and duck eggs don’t vary that much, however, duck eggs have higher fat content, higher protein, full of omega 3 fatty acids, and have more cholesterol (the good kind of cholesterol) than chicken eggs. You might notice that duck eggs have very large yolks compared to chicken eggs – in fact, duck egg yolks comprise 42% of the total weight of the egg! That’s a lot of nutrients in one small package!


Some people report that duck eggs might have an earthy or denser taste to them, although most people say they taste the same.


Why Are Duck Eggs More Popular?

Duck eggs are better used for pastries and for diet recipes as duck eggs considered healthier than chicken eggs.


Do Duck Eggs Taste Different?

Nope! Duck eggs and chicken eggs taste the same. You might notice that your duck eggs make cakes, pastries, and other baked goods taste creamier. Duck eggs also tend to have bigger yolks, although the yolks taste the same as chicken eggs.


How Do Duck Eggs Taste Compared To Chicken Eggs?

Some people report that because of their higher fat content and bigger yolks, duck eggs have a slightly richer flavor than chicken eggs. However, duck eggs and chicken eggs usually taste the same. You might notice that duck eggs enhance the flavor of baked goods because the larger yolks make baked good creamier.


Which Is Healthier Chicken Or Duck Eggs?

Neither is healthier than the other. Their nutritional value will depend on your dietary goals. Duck eggs are higher in fat (because the yolks are bigger) than chicken eggs, however, they’re higher in omega-3 fats, which are a good fat. They’re also higher in protein, and are an excellent source of folic acid, Vitamin B, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, iron, and other essential nutrients. If you’re allergic to chicken eggs, you might be able to eat duck eggs.


Both chicken and duck eggs are low in histamines, so they’re both great to eat if you have histamine issues.


Do Duck Eggs Have Cholesterol?

Yes, duck eggs have about 620 mg of cholesterol, which is significantly higher than chicken eggs. However, there’s good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. If you’re worried or trying to avoid cholesterol, then check with your doctor about whether adding duck eggs to your diet is advised.


Where To Buy Duck Eggs

You can purchase duck eggs to eat from:

  • A supermarket like Whole Foods
  • A local farmer or duck keeper
  • Farmer’s markets
  • Etsy (shipped duck eggs)


Duck eggs usually cost about $6 per dozen, although prices do vary. While you can purchase them on Etsy, it’s simpler to find a Whole Foods or a farmer’s market in your area.


Why Are Duck Eggs So Expensive?

Duck eggs are more expensive than chicken eggs partly because they’re larger, and partly because there’s no real industrial production of the eggs (which keeps costs low, but sacrifices quality). This is a good thing: If you purchase your eggs locally, from a farmer or someone who has a flock, you can be sure the ducks have a happy life and have been fed a high-quality diet.


Does Whole Foods Sell Duck Eggs?

Yes, Whole Foods sells duck eggs. According to their website, you can purchase Mary’s Duck Eggs. The price will vary depending on the store. Please do your homework and make sure the duck eggs are sourced from a reliable and humane wholesaler.


Cooking with Duck Eggs

How Many Chicken Eggs Equal A Duck Egg?

You can substitute 1 chicken egg for 1 duck egg in recipes. Baking with duck eggs is easy, and you might find the duck eggs yield a creamier and fluffier baked good because of the larger yolk.


Duck Eggs Recipes

You can find a full list of 50 different egg recipes here. You can easily substitute duck eggs in any of these recipes. You can also find a list of ideas to use up excess eggs and eggshells here.


Scrambled Duck Eggs Recipe

Whisk 2 duck eggs with 1 tablespoon of cream. Add a pinch of basil. Cook on medium heat until thoroughly cooked.

How to Boil Duck Eggs

Hard Boiled Duck Eggs Recipe

Add 2 duck eggs to water at a rolling boil. Remove after 4 minutes. Immediately sink into ice cold water and leave until cool. Remove shells and enjoy.


If you want to try something a bit different, soak your hard boiled eggs in tea to make delicious tea eggs.


Soft Boiled Duck Eggs Recipe

Add 2 duck eggs to water at a rolling boil. Remove after 2 minutes. Immediately sink into ice cold water and leave until cool. Place in a bowl or egg cup. Remove the top portion of the shell to eat with a spoon.


Boiled duck egg calories: Approximately 70 calories per duck egg


Poached Duck Egg Recipe

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Crack 1 duck egg into a separate bowl. Quickly stir the boiling water so it creates a cyclone in the center. Add the duck egg immediately. Cook for 3 minutes, then remove the duck egg, and put it on a plate. Repeat for the remaining duck eggs.


Fried Duck Eggs Recipe

Heat a cast iron pan until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of butter so the eggs don’t stick. Crack 1-2 duck eggs into the pan. Fry until the whites are opaque and no longer liquid. Transfer to a plate to enjoy.


Baking With Duck Eggs

When baking with duck eggs vs. chicken eggs, you can simply substitute 1 duck egg for 1 chicken egg. An easy recipe to start out with is English Custard.


Raising Ducks for Eggs

Which Ducks Lay The Best Eggs?

Khaki Campbells or Runner ducks lay the best eggs – about 300 per year. Pekin ducks also lay consistently, although their eggs tend to be larger than Khaki Campbells or Runner duck eggs, which can cause them to taste rubbery if overcooked. To get the best eggs nutritionally and avoid a fishy smell, it’s best to purchase eggs from a local supplier who gives their flock a high protein commercial feed. You can learn what ducks eat here. You can also see a full list of abnormal egg types to avoid here.


Do Ducks Lay Eggs Everyday?

Ducks will lay about 3-5 eggs a week depending on the individual bird. To ensure your ducks lay consistently, offer them a high protein diet of at least 16% protein. You can also add herbs to their diet to support a healthy digestive system, which will help them maintain or improve egg production. If your ducks aren’t laying eggs at all, and they’re the right age, then this article can help you figure out what’s going on.


At What Age Do Ducks Lay Eggs?

Ducks tend to start laying eggs at about 6 months. However, if your ducks become 6 months old in the winter or during very hot summers, it might take them longer to start laying because of the weather. (Cold, heat, or fewer daylight hours can effect egg production).


Can Ducks Lay More Than 1 Egg A Day?

No, eggs only lay 1 egg during a 24 hour period.


What Color Are Duck Eggs?

Different duck breeds lay different colored eggs. While most ducks lay white eggs, they can also lay off white, cream tinted, green, blue, or black eggs. Here’s a chart that shows you which breeds lay different colored eggs:


Breed Egg Color Eggs Laid Per Year
American Pekin White 200
Ancona Green 200
Appleyard White 250
Black East Indie Grey, charcoal grey 200
Call Duck Green, white, cream 300
Cayuga Black, charcoal grey, light grey 200
Crested Duck White 200
Indian Runner Duck Green, blue 300
Khaki Campbell White 280
Muscovy Off white, cream, speckled 200
Magpie White, bluish green 280
Mallard White, greenish white 200
Orpington White 300
Rouen White 250
Saxony White 200
Swedish White 200
Welsh Harlequin White, blue 300


For better eggs, there’s a lot you can feed your ducks. You can find out what to feed poultry for better tasting eggs here. If you end up with more than you know what to do with, you can read how to preserve eggs here.


Hatching Ducklings

How Do Duck Eggs Get Fertilized?

After the drake mates with the hen, the sperm goes up the oviduct, and fertilizes an egg yolk that was released from the hen’s oviduct. The yolk and albumen then descend down the oviduct, where they are encased in the shell and finally laid by the duck hen.


How Can You Tell If A Duck Egg Is Fertile?

If you don’t intend to incubate the egg, you can crack it open and see if the egg has been fertilized. You should see a “bullseye” in the yolk, which indicates fertilization. If you want to incubate the egg, and you know your duck hens have been mating with a drake, then incubate the egg (you can learn how to incubate eggs here). After 10 days, candle the egg – if you see a dark spot around the middle of the egg with spider like veins beginning to form, then it is fertile and you have a duckling embryo growing. You can learn which incubators we recommend here.


How Do You Know If A Duck Egg Is Alive?

Candle the duck egg. If you see clear and distinct veins, then the egg is developing a duck embryo. Proper incubation is important for it to fully develop. By day 12, you should start to see signs of movement inside the egg. Alternatively, after Day 12 of the incubation cycle, you can gently place the egg in water and see if it wiggles. The water causes the embryo to react, which produces the wiggle.  However, this method might disrupt embryo development, and I don’t recommend it.


How Do You Take Care Of Duck Eggs?

If you spot duck eggs in the wild, it’s best to leave them alone. But if you have an abandoned nest on your property (for example, if you know for certain the hen was killed by a predator, or your domestic duck abandons her nest), then you can complete the incubation cycle with an incubator. The incubator temperature should be 99.5 degrees F, with 50% humidity inside the incubator. Duck eggs take 28 days to develop and hatch. Around day 10, you should start to see veins and other signs of development, if the eggs are fertile.


Once the eggs hatch, you’ll have baby ducks. You can learn how to raise ducklings here.


Where Can You Buy Duck Eggs For Hatching?

Some places to look are:

  • Hatcheries 
  • Local breeders
  • Ebay
  • Etsy


Note that hatching eggs you purchase and are shipped through the mail isn’t that easy. The post office is rough on the eggs, and even the most careful breeder can’t control what the post office does. My recommendation is to purchase ducklings from a local breeder or farm store rather than buying hatching eggs. If you do want hatching eggs, you can check big, established hatcheries like Cackle Hatchery.


You can also learn how to properly store hatching eggs here.


Can A Rooster Fertilize A Duck Egg?

No, a rooster is a chicken, which is a different species than ducks. So, a rooster cannot fertilize a duck egg. This scenario should be avoided because roosters can easily harm duck hens by placing too much pressure on the duck’s back.


*The information in this article is for educational and entertainment purposes only. The nutrition facts labeling on this site is an estimate. Always consult a qualified professional regarding your diet. The theoretical egg nutritional values included on this article are based on the following references:


  1. 21 CFR 101.9 Nutrition labeling of food
  2. Staggs, CG et al. J Food Compost Anal. 2004;17(6):767-776.
  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019. Database #01123.
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Food and Drug Administration. Guidance for Industry: Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels Questions and Answers Related to the Compliance Date, Added Sugars, and Declaration of Quantitative Amounts of Vitamins and Minerals. November 2018.
  5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Food and Drug Administration. Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels Final Rules. May 27, 2016.
  6. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Total Diet Study. April 2014 revised April 2017


Are duck eggs for you? Leave a comment below!


The information in this article about duck eggs was reviewed by a licensed physician.

How Long Do Ducks Live? Top Pet Breeds

How Long Do Ducks Live? Top Pet Breeds

Thinking of adding some of our web footed friends to your flock and wondering “how long do ducks live anyway?”


Well, it’s a pretty good question – after all, you want your new pets around for a while! Truthfully, ducks are wonderfully hardy creatures that are relatively easy and fun to care for.


However, they’re not exactly like chickens. They tend to get lumped in the same category by default, but a domestic duck has its own separate needs. And understanding how to raise ducks so they’re healthy is key to increasing your pet duck’s lifespan.


And not all ducks are alike!


In this article, you’ll discover different breeds of ducks, basic care, and how long ducks live in general.


How Long Do Ducks Live In Captivity?

In general, most ducks live about 5 years, and possibly up to 10 years. How long ducks live depends largely on a few different factors, such as:

  • Housing
  • Protection
  • Diet
  • Veterinary Care
  • Exposure to Drakes


Let’s briefly talk about each one, and how they effect your duck’s lifespan.


Factors That Effect How Long Ducks Live


Do your ducks have a warm, accessible structure to call home? The quality of your duck house will determine how long they live. After all, the elements can definitely take a toll on your ducks’ health! (Especially summer heat).


A duck house doesn’t have to be fancy – it just has to keep them dry, have good ventilation, have enough room for each animal (about 10 square feet of space), and protect them from predators.


If your coop doesn’t have good ventilation during the summer, you can learn how to install a DIY window here.



Unlike chickens, ducks don’t roost, and they have even fewer defenses against predators (basically, they can try to run away or go into a pond). The term “like a sitting duck” means easy pickins for a reason!


Without adequate protection from predators, you’ll likely lose your flock pretty quickly. Answering the question “how long do ducks live?” largely depends on how well they’re protected from predators.


Ducks can fall victim to the same chicken predators that your hens fear. Examples include:

  • Coyotes
  • Skunks (especially ducklings)
  • Dogs
  • Bears
  • Raccoons
  • Opossums

To protect your ducks, they’ll need a critter-safe run, and a coop that predators can’t get into at night. While hardware cloth is best, chicken wire is cheaper to purchase. You can figure out the best chicken wire here for your particular situation.



I can’t underscore how important diet is, especially during the first few months of your duck’s life. Unlike chickens, ducklings need more vitamin B (particularly niacin) to grow.


Without it, their bones and bills might not grow correctly. You might notice their bills don’t come together (meaning the duckling can’t properly close its mouth).


Or, they might not be able to walk correctly because their legs are crooked. These can be debilitating issues that’ll effect how long ducks live.


You can feed your ducklings a feed that’s specific to their needs, or combine brewer’s yeast with chick starter. Both are great.


For adult ducks, especially laying hens, you’ll want to feed a 16% protein layer feed that has calcium in it. (Or offer oyster shells as a calcium supplement separately).


You’ll also want to make sure your hens have access to clean water, herbs as a dietary supplement, and extra treats such as black soldier fly larvae or dried gammarus shrimp (a particular favorite of our ducks!).


You can learn more about what baby ducks eat here and alternative feeds for adult ducks here.


Veterinary Care

I’m not going to go too in depth on this subject, because it pretty much stands to reason that if you don’t provide adequate veterinary care, your ducks might not live as long.


Some common issues with ducks are:

  • Bumblefoot (read more about bumblefoot here)
  • Upper respiratory issues
  • Worms (read more about worms here)
  • Trampled by other ducks


Exposure to Drakes

While drakes are necessary if you want to hatch eggs (you can read about the best incubators for hatching duck eggs here), they’re also a real pain if you have too many.


Male ducks can be pretty aggressive with the females, and can be aggressive maters. If you own more than 1 drake for every 10 duck hens, you might find yourself without some duck hens, or at least very battered ones.


When they’re competing, drakes will successively mate with a hen (meaning, each drake has to have a turn), even when they’re in water.


Realistically, this can cause the hen to drown because her head is constantly pushed under water.


If you’re wondering how long do ducks live in this situation, the answer is: Not long. Maybe 2-3 minutes.


When on dry land, this behavior can cause your hen to be crushed, or it can break her back. If possible, it’s best to limit the amount of drakes in a flock to ensure everyone’s health and safety.


What’s the Longest Living Duck Breed?

The longest reported living duck breed is the Pekin duck, although some owners report that a Muscovy duck can live between 8 to 12 years on average (there have been records stating of domesticated Muscovy ducks that lived longer, however).


What’s the Longest a Duck Has Ever Lived?

The oldest in record was a female mallard called Desi, owned by Ingrid Raphael from Maidenhead, Berkshire, United Kingdom. Desi lived 20 years 3 months and 6 days before her death in August 2002. The average white duck lifespan is about 5 to 10 years.


Do Ducks Make Good House Pets?

Yes! Ducks can make good house pets, especially if hand raised. They’re cheerful creatures who love spending time dipping their bills in water and searching for goodies. Just make sure you use a chicken diaper. Ducks (like other bird breeds) don’t have bladders, so they poop everywhere. So, you’ll need a plan! Ducks also molt, so you’ll need to figure out how you’ll deal with all those feathers.


How Do You Keep a Pet Duck?

You can keep your pet duck in the house or outside. They’ll need food, a safe house (because they’re susceptible to many predators), and veterinary care. They will also need access to water, since that’s how they clean themselves. You will also need to use duck diapers because ducks poop everywhere. You can read more about raising ducklings here.


What are the Best Ducks As Pets?

The best ducks for pets are:

  • Pekin
  • Cayuga Duck
  • Call ducks
  • Indian Runner ducks
  • Khaki Campbell

Let’s look at each breed!


This is the most common breed – they start out as yellow chicks, and become white when they grow into adults. They’re wonderful layers, who will give you large, white eggs. They’re generally healthy, and can be quite large.


What is the Lifespan of a White Duck?

When someone asks about the life expectancy of a white duck, they’re usually referring to Pekins. The pekin duck lifespan is about 5 – 10 years, with the longest living 20 years. A lot of people ask about “the yellow duck lifespan, “ referring to Pekins, since their down is yellow when they’re born.


How Long Do Pekin Ducks Live?

The average lifespan of the Pekin duck is 5 to 10 years. This depends on a variety of factors including housing, diet, care, and more.



These are smaller black ducks (completely black from bill to webbed feet). They’re great layers – they can lay black (or dark grey) eggs and these eggs might fade to white or light grey during her lifespan.


Call Ducks

What Is A Call Duck?

These are small ducks (bantam size) mostly kept for companionship. Unlike other breeds, they weigh around 3 pounds. They’re good layers of white eggs, and they also tend to be quieter than other breeds.


How Long Do Call Ducks Live?

Call ducks can live up to 10 years, depending on their environment. You’ll want to make sure they have access to good housing, fresh feed, and plenty of water.


Are Call Ducks Good Pets?

Call ducks make great pets because they’re small and fairly quiet. Like most ducks, it’ll depend on how you raise them. Hand raising them means they’re more likely to be friendly (since ducks have a prey instinct, they can be fearful of humans if they don’t interact with them consistently). Be sure to feed your call ducklings lots of treats to make them your friend!


Indian Runner

This is an easily identifiable breed – they stand more upright and vertical than other ducks. They’re wonderful layers who love treats. They come in various colors, including fawn and blue.


How Long Do Indian Runner Ducks Live?

The Indian Runner Duck lifespan is about 8 to 12 years.


Khaki Campbell

This is a brown duck breed that lays wonderful white eggs. They’re prolific layers, and while the females tend to stay small, the males will get quite large.


How Long Do Khaki Campbell Ducks Live?

Khaki Campbell ducks live about 10 to 15 years.


Muscovy Ducks

How Long Do Muscovy Ducks Live?

Like most ducks, Muscovies live between 5 to 10 years, depending on their environment.  Yo can read more about Muscovy ducks here.


Mallard Ducks

How Long Do Mallard Ducks Live?

As opposed to the Pekin duck lifespan and the Indian Runner duck lifespan, Mallard ducks only for as long as 3 to 5 years in the wild.


Can You Keep Mallard Ducks As Pets?

A pet mallard duck is a good pet for as long as you know how to properly care for them. It’s always best to get your mallards from a reliable hatchery, rather than try to domesticate a wild duck (which might be illegal in some states). You can check out common hatcheries here.


Will Pet Ducks Fly Away?

It’s possible, but unlikely. Most domestic breeds can’t fly very well because they’ve been bred to be large. Their wings can’t get enough air. You’re far more likely to lose your ducks because of predators (which will decrease how long they live).


Ducks As Pets Pros And Cons:


  • You’ll get eggs! (read here about how to get more eggs)
  • They’re easy to care for (read more here)
  • They’re friendly
  • They’re unusual pets



  • Ducks poop A LOT
  • Predators can pick them off easily (learn how to build a safe coop here)
  • Drakes can quack loudly
  • They need a pond or pool


Still wondering “how long do ducks live?” Which breed is the best for you? Leave a comment below!

Do Ducks Molt? Here’s What You Need To Know!

Do Ducks Molt? Here’s What You Need To Know!

We all know chickens go through a molt every year, but did you ever wonder “do ducks molt?”


In short, yes ducks molt. In fact, they molt quite a bit every year – possibly enough to build you a whole new duck.


In fact, I’ve gone outside and wondered whether the drakes, hens, and young ones had a pillow fight the night before and didn’t invite me!


Do ducks molt? Here's everything you need to know!


You might even wonder how such a little bird can have so many feathers hidden – more on that in a minute.


Our hen Henrietta, a Khaki Campbell is molting presently – and she looks quite a bit disheveled. Not sleek and bright like the younger ducks in her pen!


Like chickens, ducks molt to replace old feathers with new growth, and they do it every summer. So, expect it to be an annual event.


How do ducks molt?

Ducks molt different than chickens, and in the main summer molt, both duck hens and drakes will lose feathers.


Chickens molt by losing them on their head, neck, and back, and then regrowing them in the same top-down pattern.


Ducks, on the other hand, just lose their feathers all over the place and all at once, including their primary ones. They’ll also scratch and pluck them out with their bills to speed things along or just relieve the itch.


Henrietta has been caught with bits of plumage all over her bill – she dunks herself in water to clean it off!


Do ducks molt? Here's everything you need to know!


You might also notice your ducks aren’t playing or interacting as much – again, this is normal. Henrietta has been staying a bit back from the younger ducks as she loses her feathers.


Additionally, drakes (male ducks) will undergo an additional molt after the spring breeding season has ended – they will lose their fancy colored plumage for duller colored feathers – this is an evolutionary adaptation that protects ducks from predators.


Why do they lose so many feathers?

As you probably know, in addition to their primary plumage, ducks also have a large padding of down feathers (the same down you’ll find in coats and other winter apparel).


So, ducks will also lose their down during a molt, which is why it can look like a crime scene in their pen – and you might take a headcount, wondering how a predator got into the duck house.


Rest assured, it’s just natural feather loss.


In fact, ducks lose their primary feathers (such as flight) all at once. In the wild, they will be flightless for about a month – no big deal since ducks are usually close to water, keeping them safe from predators.


This is less of an issue for domestic ducks, although the sight of it can be overwhelming. Just grab the broom and sweep them out.


As Henrietta has molted, she’s looks very disheveled, and her color appears mottled – this is a result of losing feathers as well as loose ones that haven’t yet been shed.


Eventually, glossy new plumage will appear, and the ragged hen will look sleek and beautiful again.


Just remember, that the length of time it takes to complete a molt will vary from duck to duck.

What about egg production?

While your ducks molt, you might notice the hens’ egg production goes down – this is normal. Like chickens, growing new feathers requires a lot of protein for ducks.


We’ve noticed that Henrietta is laying less, and when she does lay an egg, they’re smaller. Again, this is totally normal, and once she’s done molting, production picks back up.


If your ducks stop laying completely, don’t worry – it’s normal, and they’ll start again eventually.

What should you feed during a molt?

When your ducks molt, it’s a good idea to give them extra protein. You can give them more feed, or offer treats of dried mealworms floating on water (it also provides extra entertainment). Giving them high-nutrient treats such as kale or parsley will help as well.


You can also switch to a higher protein feed.