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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2009-08-17 15:44
Subject: [help] Duck eggs vs chicken eggs
Security: Public
Tags:food, help
O mighty blogospheric brain, Dad and I are bedeviling ourselves with a question not easily disgorged from teh Google.

Why, in the United States (and possibly Western culture in general) does agriculture very strongly favor chicken eggs over duck eggs? Are ducks less productive or less hardy? Historical accident? Other factors?

Originally published at jlake.com.

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anghara
User: anghara
Date: 2009-08-17 23:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My dad is strongly allergic to duck eggs, but not to chicken eggs. Damfino why. But there is a remote possibility that stronger allergens which affect a wider swathe of the population might be part of your answer...
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gvdub
User: gvdub
Date: 2009-08-17 23:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's simple – chickens naturally lay eggs with greater frequency than ducks, and breeding has improved productivity in the average egg-laying chicken to be on the order of 350 eggs a year per bird.

My dad's degree was biochemistry and genetics and he put it to work breeding chickens. In those pre-genetic manipulation days, they had to do it the old fashioned way, and having 250,000 laying hens gave him the freedom to have a couple of small hen houses devoted to chicken eugenics. If only genetic patterns had been patentable in those days, he'd have been rich, as almost every laying chicken today contains some genes from a hybrid he developed in the '50s.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2010-06-13 18:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I wouldn't be to proud of that fact. its one of the reasons our food system is so messed up know. look into what has become our food system and then ask if the money would be worth it. a lot of egomaniacs made a lot of ill decisions for profit and demand back in the day and know its killing us. I'm sure your father was a brilliant man and in fact hopefully didn't realize the repercussions of what he was doing. we shouldn't be altering life. what would it be like if we altered our genes. just saying that's all I mean no disrespect And no im not a christian or a hippie.LOL just a normal unaltered human being. D
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gvdub
User: gvdub
Date: 2010-06-13 21:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And I would suggest that you educate yourself a little further before making baseless accusations. In the 1940s and early 1950s, which is when my dad was doing poultry breeding, there was no gene manipulation or grafting. This is not the world of GMO foods. This is what people have done for millenia - crossbreeding different strains to produce a stronger and more productive one. You know, like evolution? It's why we have domestic fowl in the first place.
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Astres - Kate L.
User: astres
Date: 2009-08-18 00:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And, see, I wondered why stores didn't sell turkey eggs. I mean, turkey=delicious so turkey egg=more delicious?
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brimaresh: ...doing the write thing...
User: brimaresh
Date: 2009-08-18 00:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:...doing the write thing...
We have raised both chickens (Ameraucanas, mostly) and ducks for eggs.

As messy as chickens are, ducks are a thousand times worse. Chickens, you have a generally dry mess. With ducks, it's wet and oily. We also had more ducks die than chickens. They weren't as intelligent--which is sad, because chickens are only slightly smarter than turkeys, which not infrequently drown themselves in the rain--so they'd end up doing things like standing still in a puddle until the water froze around their feet. We freed them with warm water and hair dryers, very tedious. They were also worse for eye infections, though that was probably an isolated problem.

Ducks are also sloppy about their eggs as well as less productive than chickens, so we ended up losing more than with the chickens (both due to them being laid in bad places where other ducks broke them and to not being able to find them).

The hens were really consistent about laying their eggs in the hen house, laying regularly, and not getting themselves killed. Until the bear decided to eat them, anyway. Odd fact: some of the chickens will play dead. The ducks, however, did not.
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Cairsten
User: kuangning
Date: 2009-08-18 03:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This. Also, duck eggs taste more strongly than chicken eggs, at least to me; it was a gamey, not-that-pleasant flavor.
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Kenneth Mark Hoover
User: kmarkhoover
Date: 2009-08-18 00:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ducks don't do so well on the prairie where water is scarce. Anyway, that's my guess, lol.
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Twilight: History
User: twilight2000
Date: 2009-08-18 01:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:History
and for a little bit of history...

this article suggests they were first domesticated in Asia some 8000 years ago
This article suggest they were with us in BC Egypt as well as coming from SE Asia

It begins to look like chickens had the advantage of being an Old World Bird that did well on land - so were more easily domesticated :>.

in fact - wikipedia suggests this explanation:
Ducks have been farmed for thousands of years, possibly starting in Southeast Asia.[4] They are not as popular as the chicken, because chickens have much more white lean meat and are easier to keep confined, making the total price much lower for chicken meat, whereas duck is comparatively expensive and, while popular in the haute cuisine, appears less frequently in mass market food industry and restaurants in the lower price range.
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Edward Greaves
User: temporus
Date: 2009-08-18 02:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My completely uneducated guess is: Ducks fly much better than chickens, and therefore it was easier to domesticate chickens first.

What about geese? You don't see much in the way about geese as a food source in the US (at least in my area) though you certainly hear about them from european sources.
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Starshadow
User: arielstarshadow
Date: 2009-08-18 12:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Geese are minions of Satan, though.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2009-08-18 02:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
We've had ducks and chickens. I agree with Brimaresh. Duck eggs are harder to clean because ducks are messier and wetter. On the other hand, some people love duck eggs for baking, claiming they're better than chicken eggs.

Cat (Holm)
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Somewhat Bent
User: ladyallyn
Date: 2009-08-18 02:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
They also do not translate the same in cooking. US recipes are generally developed for USDA 'large' eggs.
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sheelangig
User: sheelangig
Date: 2009-08-18 03:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

Jay, your blog is edumakashunal!
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User: lillypond
Date: 2009-08-18 03:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hey... that was MY question! LOL
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dinogrl: Kirk use the force
User: dinogrl
Date: 2009-08-18 04:14 (UTC)
Subject: Fascinating!
Keyword:Kirk use the force
Finally a question of the day (sort of) that doesn't totally melt your brain!

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User: hkneale
Date: 2009-08-18 04:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Clue Fairy
Yeah, ditto on that chickens are easier (and cleaner) to keep. Also, when we had both ducks and geese and chickens at work, the chickens could be relied on to lay roughly one egg a day, whereas the ducks were more sporadic.

The geese we didn't keep for their eggs, but rather as watchdogs. Geese are nasty.

Duck eggs are richer in flavour, have larger yolks and less albumen. Dunno if that's a factor in their appeal (or lack thereof).
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brimaresh
User: brimaresh
Date: 2009-08-18 06:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hey, now. Geese can be perfectly sweet, so long as you raise them right. Kinda like real children, I suppose.
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Wendy S. Delmater
User: safewrite
Date: 2009-08-18 12:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Why chicken eggs? Methinks it's because they're bigger. But I knows me how to get my duck eggs if I wants 'em.

Edited at 2009-08-18 12:18 pm (UTC)
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User: pauljessup
Date: 2009-08-18 12:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's not just western culture- in Taoism chicken eggs are used for spells, and Duck eggs can negate the spells.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2009-08-26 01:05 (UTC)
Subject: Blog
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