Monday, September 6, 2010
We have been offered some Indian Runner ducks for the park. Indian Runners are an unusual breed of domestic duck. They stand erect like penguins and, rather than waddle, they run. The females lay typically 150-200 eggs a year, or more depending whether they are from exhibition or utility strains. They were found on the Indonesian Islands where they were 'walked' to market and sold as egg-layers or for meat. These ducks do not fly and only rarely form nests and incubate their own eggs. They run or walk, often dropping their eggs wherever they happen to be. Duck-breeders need to house their birds over night or be extremely vigilant in picking up the eggs to prevent them from being taken by other animals. Keeping the birds in sheds until well after dawn is reportedly the best solution.
The ducks vary in weight between 1.4 and 2.3 kg (3-4 ½ lbs). Their height (from crown to tail tip) ranges from 50 cm (20 inches) in small females to about 66 cm (26 inches) in the taller males. The eggs are often greenish-white in color, but these too vary.
Indian Runners love foraging. They also like swimming in ponds and streams, but they are likely to be preoccupied in running around grassy meadows looking for worms, slugs, even catching flies. They appreciate open spaces but are happy in gardens from which they cannot fly and where they make much less noise than other ducks. Only the females quack. All drakes are limited to a hoarse whisper. Runners eat less in the way of grain and pellet supplement than big table ducks. Of course, they should be given calcium and protein-rich food, especially the ducks during the extensive laying season.
We shall post some pictures of our ducks when they arrive.