Scientific name: Anas platyrhynchos domesticus
Other common names: Runner Duck
Indian Runner ducks are an ancient waterfowl that has been gleaning rice fields in Indo China for the last 2,000 years. Tall and fast-paced, these ducks are herded to different fields daily, to remove pests and weeds from farmers rice patties. At night, they sleep in bamboo pens for safety and in the morning the hens lay their eggs before marching off.
Indian Runners where introduced to Europe around the 1850s, from Indian traders. Thus, the birds where assumed to be from the Indies and named Indian Runners. It wasn't until 1909 that the birds where discovered to have come from Southeastern Asia.
Varieties: Apricot Dusky, Apricot Trout (Saxony), Black, Blue, Blue Dusky, Blue Trout, Buff, Chocolate, Cumberland Blue, Fawn, Fawn and White, Gray, Mallard, Pencilled, Silver, Trout, and White
Uses: Eggs, Ornamental, Pets, Pest Control, Weeding
Personality: Timid and active the Indian Runner prefers to forage. However, if handled in their youth they can make excellent pets.
Suitable housing: Free range during the day, or a large pen
Capable of flight: No
Weight: 4 - 4.5 lbs
Noise level: Below average
Egg production: Very Good (4/week)
Egg color: White, Green
Meat production: Okay, taste is similar to that of a wild duck
What else you should know:
Indian Runners are an easy and productive bred to raise. Their foraging ability cuts on feed prices, and they are light enough to not trample a garden.
Indian Runner hens should start laying around four and a half months. White eggs are the desired color, but occasionally green eggs do occur.
great egg producers, foragers, bug control, comical characters, smallholding, entertaining
winter, low meat, meat birds, dirtiest creature, flighty
herding, slender necks, blue colored runner, excellent blue eggs, truly ancient breed
Great Layers and Great Companions
Indian Runner Ducks are amazing for any homestead. They are adorable and so funny to watch, as they look like running bowling pins. While they would not be considered "beautiful", they are interesting to look at and downright adorable. They are kind of skittish but after time mine became very friendly. They will run up to greet me when I am coming and they eat out of my hand. They are very active so don't expect them to just sit in your lap.
Due to their size, they are not really meat birds and may need extra insulation in the winter. They are great at foraging and can fend for themselves quite well with enough room. They cannot fly so superior protection from predators is a must. They are prolific layers and you can get a couple hundred eggs from each female a year.
I have found the males to be aggressive breeders though. I made the mistake when I first started of only getting 3 straight run, which meant I ended up with 2 males and 1 female. The males were relentless chasing her when they got older and even almost drowned her. If you have both sexes, try to have 4-5 females for every 1 male to save your females injury.
As with most ducks in general, they love their wading pools of water and can be messy in terms of mud so if having a impeccable looking lawn is a must for you, you will want to check out other breeds.
Please note, domesticated breeds of ducks cannot live in the wild. Please understand you cannot just "try" out ducks and dump them off at ponds, etc, if they don't work out.
I highly recommend Indian Runners. I love them tremendously and will always have them around..
From farmgirl2015 Sep 5 2014 10:54PM
White Indian Runner Duck for Eggs and Meat
The Indian Runner duck comes in a range of colours, but the white-feathered kind is probably the best known. It is one of the smartest and most easily recognizable ducks because of its upright posture. They are excellent egg layers (a single female an produce over 200 a year) and the long breasts also mean that they are good for meat.
Though descended from the Wild Mallard, the Indian runner is probably the furthest away from its wild antecedent in terms of shape. The Indian Runner appears to have arrived in the UK from Asia in the 1850s and is a truly ancient breed (it features in hieroglyphics seen on Javanese temples. It is also a descendant of the so-called 'herding ducks' of the Indo-Chinese Peninsula. This is why many farms with sheep dogs raise the Indian Runner for use in teaching herding to adolescent sheepdogs.
The Indian Runner is the parent breed for such other breeds as the Khaki Campbell and the Welsh Harlequin.
They tend to cluster together in large clumps and have a very strange upright bearing (they have been compared to Penguins or walking wine bottles). As long as you have water for them to bathe and swim in and are willing to feed them they can be kept in garden conditions. Indeed, they typically White Indian Runner Duck
They are good natured birds, excellent for most situations but can sometimes be a little skittish. They do vocalize, but are in no means the noisiest of duck breeds. They can be reared very intensively and are one of the breeds preferred for meat production in France. Being descended from herding ducks they can also be driven a long way if you need to.
If hand reared from chicks they can become very tame. But they are quick witted birds and have personalities just as quirky as their appearance.
If you pond is large enough they are very low maintenance and can subsist on the plants, insects and crustaceans in the water (they will also help clear duckweed). In fact, they were originally bred to remove pests from paddy fields. Otherwise you will need to give them feed suitable for waterfowl. If you want to increase their weights then supplementing with grain is the traditional method. If not kept very intensively, then deworming is usually the most common palliative treatment you need to provide..
From DLlE Sep 5 2012 8:57AM
Indian Runners - best kept contained!
2014 was my first attempt at raising ducks. Sadly it was a complete failure. Still, I loved my ducks and will try again next season! I learned a lot from my mistakes and hope to have a happier outcome with my next attempt.
I decided to try several breeds of ducks at once in order to determine which I found to best meet my needs. These needs included: easy keepers, natural foragers, hardy, and both good egg layers and meat producers.
One of the breeds I tried was the Indian Runner duck. I have long admired and enjoyed these comical ducks at other farms. Tall and skinny they are not good eating, but they are reputed to be prolific layers.
Given the immense aesthetic pleasure these ducks offer in their antics about the farm, producing eggs and smiles seemed like a good enough return for me! And so I added half a dozen Runners to my order of Pekins, Cayugas and Muscovies.
These birds are a lot of fun, but they aren’t for everyone. To begin, they are skittish and noisy. They run about the farm, quacking their hearts out and running in a panic from anything that moves.
I used my border collies to guide them about, which was fun for me and the dogs, but I’m not sure the ducks found the experience overly enjoyable. They were so flighty I often wondered if they’d give themselves heart attacks. None did, at least that I am aware of.
They did, however, vanish regularly. First one, then another. Over the course of a couple of months, these ducks managed to get themselves eaten one by one. I never did see any predators, or find any feathers. They simply disappeared.
Really it was no surprise given how far they wandered. Unlike my chickens, who stay very close to house and coop, my ducks wandered up to half a mile from their hut. I quickly grew tired of searching the farm for them every afternoon, although they could always be found if I just stood quietly and listened for quacking. No doubt this is what the local foxes, fishers and owls did too.
I never did get any eggs, or meat, from my ducks. I did, however, learn a lot about what not to do. First, don’t let them free-range as youngsters, at least not without adult supervision. Since mine were purchased as day-olds they had no adult ducks to guide them, and - like teens of other species - thought themselves invincible adventurers. They were not.
Second, be sure to have a pond or easy place for swimming close by. My ducks were not content with the kiddy pool I provided for them and I think searching for a proper pond was the source of their wandering.
Finally, don’t keep water in their coop. The ducks made a terrible mess and the chickens quickly ended up wet and miserable.
At the same time, ducklings don’t naturally have oil on their feathers until they are at least four months old. Until that age they get their waterproofing from their mothers.
When raised from hatcheries they lack this protective layer and easily get water logged and can sink and drown. They can also become hypothermic in just an inch or so of water when young. Swimming needs to be carefully monitored until they are fully feathered.
I will try raising ducks again this year, however I’ll be sure to contain them with portable electric fencing, build them a good swimming hole close to their coop and house them separately from my chickens. Hopefully I’ll have better luck and finally get to enjoy some duck eggs and, come fall, roast duck!.
From HeleneMarie Jan 20 2015 9:49PM