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Indian Runner Ducks

The Indian Runner Duck is a breed of domestic duck. They are native to the Indian-sub-continent and Malaysia. The breed was first brought to Europe by a sea captain, and were exhibited at the London Zoological Gardens in 1835. By the end of the 19th century, the breed’s popularity had spread considerably.

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It was referred to as the “Penguin Duck” by Harrison Weir in Britain in 1902, who used the term "Indian Runner" for the birds that had been crossed with British domestic ducks in the late nineteenth century. Its long, narrow head on a thin neck sits on a long thin body, and with an extraordinarily upright carriage.  Its thighs, legs and shanks are excessively short and placed so far back that the bird is obliged to carry itself erect to enable it to walk or run. This is one of the most peculiar and remarkable of the duck tribe.

They are quiet and known for their excellent egg laying production (up to 365 per year, or one per day in one-year-old ducks from the best utility strains; however, production can vary quite a lot between strains).  The ducks will only very rarely go broody. The eggs are white, off-white, blue, or light green in colour and around the size of a large hen's egg.

The breed does not require the same food intake as the larger breeds, and the Indian runner likes nothing better than foraging for tidbits amongst ground cover and foliage, including a lot of slugs and worms and insects found in the grass and streams. It will also forage on greens, such as grass and weeds and with this in mind are bred on farms for their natural pest control abilities. They are willing partners in the vegetable garden, making a great natural control for snails, slugs and slaters.

The birds are bred in many colours, including, white, black, blue, chocolate, fawn, fawn and white, pencilled, trout, mallard, silver and apricot. Although these ducks have small bodies and are not bred as table birds, many regard them as being well flavoured, rather similar to the taste of wild duck.