Indian Runner Duck [Everything You Should Know]

Indian Runner Duck [Everything You Should Know]

Indian Runner Duck

The Indian Runner Duck stands out with its erect posture and its ability to run – a trait not common in all ducks. This species was born in the Indonesian islands of Lombok, Java, and Bali.

Originally, these ducks were developed for their high-grade egg-laying capabilities and their flavorful meat. Look closely and you’ll notice unique characteristics like long, wedge-shaped heads and high eye placement. Their long, slender necks merge seamlessly into their bodies, giving them a smooth, streamlined look.

These ducks may have slim bodies, but they have a round edge to them. You’ll spot their legs positioned more toward the back compared to other duck breeds. This feature allows them to run or quickstep.

The Indian Runner Duck is a graceful swimmer and eager food hunter. These ducks are also not prone to illnesses. Be it hot climates or colder ones, the Indian Runner Ducks have shown they can adapt well to both.

What Is the History of The Indian Runner Duck?

The Indian Runner Duck can be traced back over a thousand years. Hints of these ducks exist in age-old stone carvings found in Java.

These ducks first caught the eye of Europeans in the mid-19th century. Not in their homeland, but rather Malaya and Lombok, Indonesia. These ducks displayed something different – an upright gait, reminding observers of penguins. But, historical surprises don’t end here. It seems these breeds made an appearance in Western Europe far ahead of the 19th century, as Dutch art from the 1600s suggest.

Fast forward to the 1830s, Britain welcomes the Indian Runner duck. The locals named them ‘Penguin Duck’, and, by 1835, Britain started importing them. Their arrival sparked interest in Cumbria and Dumfries too.

Their breed standard was introduced in 1897 by the Waterfowl Club. By the dawn of the 20th century, most Indian Runners in Britain sported traces of crossbreeding with local breeds. To help curb this, new stocks were imported from Lombok and Java in 1909.

Importantly, the Indian Runner Duck played a crucial role in the creation of 20th-century ‘Designer Ducks’. Their genes contributed to the birth of breeds such as the Khaki Campbell and the Buff Orpington, by crossing with other homegrown species.

These days, you’ll find the Indian Runner Duck in many stable color forms, thanks to selective breeding with no need for cross-breeding. In the UK alone, they have fourteen standard colors. Additionally, Australia and Germany add more variety to the spectrum with their unique shades.

What Are the Physical Attributes of The Indian Runner Duck?

Indian Runner Duck stands tall with a bold, upright stance likened to a penguin. These ducks are known for their uncanny ability to run rather than waddle.

You’ll find their long, slim, cylindrical bodies, long necks, and wedge-shaped skulls distinct from other duck breeds. You’ll also notice higher-set eyes on a straight bill. Legs positioned slightly back on the body aid their swift movement.

When it comes to height, an Indian Runner Duck generally measures between 20 to 26 inches from tail tip to crown. Drakes, or male ducks, tip the scales at 3.5 to slightly over 5 pounds, while their female counterparts usually weigh more than 3 pounds but never more than 4 pounds.

Another fascinating Indian Runner Duck characteristic is the broad color palette. More colors are seen in this breed than any other domesticated duck. Common colors include but are not limited to chocolate, black, white, blue, light brown, dark brown, and even a greenish-brown shade.

Despite their slim appearance, these ducks are graceful in the water. They cherish their water time and can be seen indulging in many a swim session.

The Indian Runner Duck is known for its upright stance and the ability to literally run about (earning it the alias “penguin duck”).

These ducks are a sturdy breed. They ward off illnesses well and can handle both hot and cold climes with ease. If well cared for in domestic conditions, expect an Indian Runner Duck to live a life of about 8 to 12 years.

What Is the Behavior and Temperament of The Indian Runner Duck?

The Indian Runner Duck is generally friendly and docile but might act skittish around strangers. However, once accustomed to an individual, these ducks show signs of being more relaxed and less wary. They are known for their alert and active nature, often operating collectively, making herding a breeze for you.

Indian Runner Duck has a keen sense of adventure as an excellent forager. These ducks cover a vast area in their pursuit of foods like seeds, insects, slugs, snails and other such edibles. One can train these ducks to be less jumpy over time, and with the right care, you can ensure that they live for about 8 to 10 years.

While these ducks aren’t particularly hostile to humans, they’re naturally high-strung. This means that they could panic if they feel cornered. It’s not uncommon for them to clamber over a two to three-foot enclosure in an attempt to flee from something they find alarming. So it’s best to offer them ample space and avoid startling them.

What Are the Care Requirements for The Indian Runner Duck?

Caring for an Indian Runner Duck isn’t tough but it does need some attention. Primarily, their diet needs care. Feed them layer feed containing 15%-19% protein. This duck is an avid forager, sniffing out seeds, insects, slugs, snails, and other food items. Also, keep clean water accessible all the time.

The Indian Runner Duck needs a healthy home too. Live area per duck should be 4 to 6 square feet. Make sure their housing stays clean and dry with satisfactory ventilation. Moreover, a pond or pool for them to swim is essential too. As for bedding, you can have pine shavings, hay, or straw.

Talking about temperature, these ducks are hardy. They can bear both hot and cold weather. But, always ensure that they have access to clean water and proper ventilation, no matter the temperature.

In terms of health, Indian Runner Ducks are generally hearty but they may catch worms and mites. A good practice is to deworm your flock once or twice annually and keep an eye on their health regularly.

The Indian Runner Duck likes roaming and foraging. So provide large space for them to roam and forage, and access to a pond or pool for swimming.

Though Indian Runner Ducks don’t demand extensive grooming, a gentle bath every week or two using warm water and mild soap is advisable. Regular nail trimming is also a part of their care.

What Is the Role of The Indian Runner Duck in Human Society?

The Indian Runner Duck has many benefits, ranging from pest control to becoming beloved pet.

These ducks are mighty foragers, removing unwanted creatures like snails, slugs, and insects. You might be surprised to know that a wine farm in South Africa deploys over 1600 Indian Runner Ducks. This smart move helps the farm to cut down massively on insecticide usage. In the East, rice farmers reap a similar advantage. They’ve discovered that these ducks can clear rice paddies of vermin while hunting insects and snails.

A key area where the Indian Runner Duck also shines is egg production. Provocatively, the females lay an impressive number of 300 to 350 eggs per year. Their large eggs come in a unique, attractive pastel green color.

As mentioned above, these ducks also make wonderful pets. Their friendly, entertaining nature makes them a joy to have around. They bond strongly with their owners and enjoy human interaction. Despite their nervous and excitable temperament, with calm handling, they become tame and easy to manage.

In return for their company, they need plenty of space for foraging, a clean and dry sleeping space, fresh water, clean bedding, and standard poultry bird food.

What Is the Conservation Status of The Indian Runner Duck?

The Indian Runner Duck is a thriving species recognized globally. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categorizes this species as “Least Concern”.

On a similar note, The Livestock Conservancy takes it a notch higher by putting the Indian Runner Duck under the “recovering” category.

What it means for you is that these ducks are no longer under the endangered radar. Still, they have been the center of attention in conservation efforts.

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