Duck vs. Chicken: The Fundamental Differences Between Two Unique Birds

Ducks feed on traditional rural barnyard. Detail of a duck head. Close up of waterbird standing on barn yard. Free range poultry farming concept.

Duck vs. Chicken: The Fundamental Differences Between Two Unique Birds

Ducks and chickens are two adorable and interesting animals. Children love to watch them in the water or on a farm. Adults also enjoy hearing their quack and taking in all their unique quirks. Ducks and chickens are everywhere! They are in our nursery rhymes and children’s games (duck, duck, goose, anyone?), and they are also popular meats to eat. Have you ever wondered what the actual difference is between duck and chicken? 

This article will explore the fundamental differences between both animals and the meat we eat. In a nutshell, they are both birds. However, a duck is a swimming bird. It spends a lot of time on the water and has webbed claws. A chicken, on the other hand, does not swim. It is a bird that is usually raised on a farm. They both have interesting quirks and differences that we will explore below.

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Duck vs. Chicken: The Main Differences

First, let’s look at the general differences between the animals. A duck has webbed claws and spends much time in the water. Since they are swimming birds, they have an extra layer of fat, waterproof feathers, and a thick undercoat. All of this help keep ducks dry and cool during the hot summer and warm during the cooler weather.

On the other hand, chickens do not have the extra protection and do not swim. This means they can’t just dip into a cool lake when feeling hot like a duck. Whereas ducks are swimming birds, chickens are scratching birds. They have three very sharp claws. They cannot fly well, although they try! It doesn’t take them far.

There is also a difference between duck eggs and chicken eggs. Duck eggs are bigger. They have a richer flavor and are higher in protein.

Ducks tend to be more docile than chickens as well. Chickens stick to the pecking order. They can be aggressive to other animals or chickens when they are feeling stressed. Chickens need their space and enjoy exploring the world around them. They are nosey, can be vocal, and enjoy socializing.

Ducks are also more healthy overall than chickens. Their feathers and ability to stay warm mean they are less susceptible to illness than chickens. Another interesting fact is that ducks produce more eggs than chickens (surprisingly, I know!) Also, ducks tend to live longer than chickens.

Now that we have discussed many differences between the two animals let’s look at the meat of both birds. Many chicken farms solely breed and butcher chickens for meat. Ducks are also eaten for their meat; however, they are not nearly as popular to eat as chicken in America. Duck meat is popular in other countries, including China and South Korea. 

a chicken sunset
Chickens enjoy their space and being able to explore the world around them.


Differences Between Each Animal Meat

Duck meat and chicken meat have several fundamental differences. The first one is popularity. Chicken is very prevalent in the United States. However, duck is not nearly as popular. Duck is eaten in China more than any other country. One of the reasons why duck is less prevalent in America is that it is more expensive to mass-produce the processing of duck meat. 

Ducks are water birds that have a thick undercoat and layer of fat. Therefore, the meat that comes from duck is significantly less than chicken. Also, while there are chicken and turkey farms that can produce the meats for consumption, it’s not as easy and can be more expensive to do so with ducks.

Texture and Taste

Another difference between chicken and duck meat lies in its flavor. The taste of duck is more like beef than chicken. It is strong, sweet, and a bit gamey. Conversely, chicken has a milder flavor that takes well to different sauces and seasonings.

The texture of duck is very tender in comparison to chicken. When cooked correctly, chicken can be soft and juicy. However, it has the tendency to dry out quickly and become chewy if overcooked.

Price of Each

Chicken meat averages around $2.50 per pound. This will vary depending on where you buy your chicken, the type, and the brand. However, duck is quite a bit pricier than chicken. Duck meat averages between $8 to $15 a pound, although this will vary depending on where you buy it. The reason for this is because of the production costs.

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  • The must-have convenient reference guide for every home cook!
  • Includes more than 8,000 substitutions for ingredients, cookware, and techniques.
  • Save time and money on by avoiding trips to grab that "missing" ingredient you don't really need.
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What is Duck?

The duck is a waterbird. It has a wide blunt bill and webbed claws. Another unique characteristic of a duck is its waddle. Ducks spend much of their lives on the water. However, they also travel on land. They can fly and have a lifespan of five to ten years. Although not surprisingly, ducks can live up to 20 years.

Ducks are several different colors, including white, brown, green, and yellow. They have down feathers and a layer of fat that helps keep them warm and dry while swimming. Also, ducks are omnivores. They eat both plants and insects. They even eat small fish.

Furthermore, ducks enjoy being in the company of other ducks. This makes them feel safe. Ducks are interesting animals with fun quirks, like sleeping with one eye open! This helps them look out for predators and also aids in keeping them safe as well.

Fresh duck meat parts, raw breast steak, legs, wings in a plate with herbs. Dark background. Top view.
Duck meat is more flavorful than chicken meat. It is gamey and has a stronger taste.

©Mironov Vladimir/Shutterstock.com

What is Chicken?

A chicken is a scratch bird. It has three claws that are sharp and helps to dig in the dirt. Their claws likewise help them take their ever-popular and interesting dust baths! These baths are an essential part of their grooming process that keeps them clean. 

Chickens have a comb on their heads and wattles beneath their chin. They are poultry that is a subspecies or descendants of the wild red jungle fowl. Chickens have a social pecking order and can become aggressive if there is an unfamiliar chicken among them. There are poultry farms that produce processed chicken meat. 

Chickens are often raised for their eggs. Like ducks, chickens have fun and unique quirks as well. For starters, they do not take water baths. Instead, they bathe in the dust, a great way to remove old oil from their feathers. Another quirk of chickens is that they are social birds who do not like to be caged in with other chickens for long periods. To truly thrive, they need their space and ability to explore the world around them!

Oven-Roasted Greek Chicken Ingredients on a Dark Wood Background: Raw chicken breasts, lemon, herbs, and other ingredients
Chicken is a very popular meat. This is because it is versatile and goes great in many different cuisines.

©Candice Bell/Shutterstock.com

One Final Note

Infographic comparing chicken and duck.
Duck is much more expensive than chicken.
  • Duck has a much stronger taste than chicken. A lot of people prefer chicken's milder taste.
  • Duck is fairly gamey, while chicken is known for its tenderness.
  • Chicken is much more affordable than duck, making it more accessible to the average family.

Ducks and chickens are fun and exciting birds with their own characteristics to set them apart. Although their meat can be eaten, chicken meat is more prevalent in the United States than duck meat. This is because it’s easier and cheaper to mass-produce farms that can process chicken meat quicker.

Ducks are water birds who were made for the water and the land. On the other hand, chickens cannot swim without the risk of drowning and developing hypothermia. 

Ducks and chickens alike are social animals. Ducks prefer to stick with other ducks because this makes them feel securer. They even can sleep with one eye open! 

Chickens, on the other hand, are social. However, they prefer their space. They can become aggressive and annoyed if they are around unfamiliar chickens. If you raise chickens, giving them their own space and allowing them to wander around the land is a good idea. This will keep them in better moods!

Whether you enjoy watching ducks quack and swim in the lake or chickens explore the yard, there’s no doubt about it. These birds are fascinating animals that have many quirks! Which one do you prefer to watch or eat?

Chicken Recipes

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Oven-Roasted Greek Chicken Ingredients on a Dark Wood Background: Raw chicken breasts, lemon, herbs, and other ingredients

Crab Stuffed Chicken Breasts

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  • Author: Moms Who Think
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x



6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 ounces each)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup canned crabmeat, drained, flaked and cartilage removed
¼ cup sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
2 Tablespoons dry bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons reduced fat mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
6 teaspoons marinade for chicken, divided
2 green onions, thinly sliced, divided
3 slices reduced fat Swiss cheese, divided


1. Flatten chicken to ¼ inch thickness; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. In a small bowl, combine the crab, water chestnuts, bread crumbs, mayonnaise, parsley, mustard, 2 teaspoons marinade for chicken, and half of the onions.

3. Chop one cheese slice; stir into crab mixture. Spread over chicken; roll up and secure with toothpicks.

4. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, brown chicken on all sides. Place seam side down in a shallow 3 qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Brush with remaining marinade for chicken.

5. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25 minutes. Cut each remaining cheese slice into six strips; place two cheese strips over each chicken breast. Bake 5 to 10 minutes longer or until a meat thermometer reads 170°. Discard toothpicks. Sprinkle remaining onions over chicken.


  • Serving Size: 1 stuffed chicken breast half
  • Calories: 225
  • Sodium: 469mg
  • Fat: 7g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 5g
  • Protein: 35g
  • Cholesterol: 95mg
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