Indian Runner Ducks
Indian Runner Ducks are possibly the most influential of all of the duck breeds. Many of today’s breeds of light duck have in part been created from the Indian Runner Duck. The Welsh Harlequin, Abacot Ranger and the famous Khaki Campbell for example would not exist if it were not for the Indian Runner.
The Indian Runner is reported to have first appeared in the UK in 1835 and they were originally called Penguin Ducks. The first fawn and white runners were standardized in 1901 with other colors following.
Indian Runner Ducks are active ducks that enjoy foraging for slugs and insects. One of their original uses in Asia was to clear the paddy fields of pests. They would be driven there in the mornings and rounded up again at night so that they could be kept safe from predators over night. Of course, they are well equipped to cover the distance quickly being able to run at a reasonable pace. In some parts of the World, they are still used in this way. Some organic vineyards in South Africa are starting to use Indian Runner Ducks to clear the vines of pests to avoid the use of chemicals.
These ducks are perhaps the closest thing you can get to a Penguin or a walking wine bottle. You can spend many happy hours watching these slender creatures patter around your garden. They generally need less water than other varieties and can get by with just a tub of water in which to dunk their heads. These birds have a good nature, but can be rather jumpy at times. They are average in terms of noise level.
Uses: Utility – Eggs and good for organic pest control.
Eggs: Up to 200 eggs per year.
Origin: East Indies.
Weight: Drake: 4-5 lbs. Duck: 3.5-4.5 lbs.
Colors: Apricot Trout (Saxony), Black, Blue, Chocolate, Fawn, Fawn & White, Mallard, Silver, Trout, White.
Useful to Know: Indian Runners do not originate from India but the East Indies – Malaya, Java and Lombok. They are prolific egg layers that are happier spending most of their time foraging for food than being on water. Probably the most popular duck that can be found in a multitude of color varieties.
Domesticated ducks are raised for meat, eggs, exhibition, pets and down. All varieties of domesticated ducks are descended from the mallard, apart from the Muscovy duck, which seems to be a breed of it’s own.