Of all the breeds of ducks seen in farms and gardens, the Indian Runner Duck is undoubtedly the most entertaining pet. This queer bird that looks and even walks like a penguin is very active, forages for food, and runs in your garden.
Regarding their personality, various owners might refer to these runner ducks as ‘comedians’. Of course, they are not your quintessential lap-pet. However, these comical ducks can make excellent companions.
If you spend time with them and allow them inside, they will snuggle and cuddle with you. But remember, they should initiate the “snuggle”, not you.
The development of the Indian Runner Duck breed leads to the formation of various physical standards by which these birds became known. If you are considering showing an Indian running duck, then the following standards need to be maintained.
Physical Characteristics Of The Indian Runner Duck
The Indian Runner Duck is arguably the most recognizable duck in history due to its unusual upright pose, striking shape, and the definition of its bones, all of which contribute to its unique status in the duck world.
When Indian runner ducks are excited or when they are attentive, their body is almost completely upright. When these ducks are absolutely straight, you will be able to see a correct line from the back of the head to the tail. However, when they are relaxed, they tend to keep their bodies tilted at a 50-70 degree angle.
Where other ducks will ‘walk’, these ducks will ‘run’. The reason that Indian runner ducks are literally capable of “running” is the unusual placement of a very strong set of legs positioned just at the back of their bodies.
Runner ducks are a very light breed, which contributes to their agile abilities, super speed, and amazing strength. Their strong legs are capable of easily carrying their lean, upright bodies and long necks, foraging frantically and generally getting up to mischief.
The total length of the Indian runner duck is measured from the tip of the bill to the middle toe. A drake (male duck) is usually between 65 and 80 cm while a hen (female duck) is between 60 and 70 cm.
The head of the Indian Runner Duck has a remarkable wedge shape, displaying an unusually straight bill with eyes that are set high on the skull. This is not a duck that you can easily mistake!
The head is normally lean and streamlined to help the duck run better. The beak has a very obvious wedge shape and fits perfectly on the flat-tipped skull.
The eyes of the Indian running duck are particularly interesting. They are bright and alert and have a characteristic fullness. Their eyes are set so high that they sometimes appear to be above the skill line.
The neck is always in line with the body. The long, slender neck is an important characteristic of the Indian Runner. There is a muscular and well-marked part of the neck. It stands out and has a layer of hard feathers around it that accentuates this muscular region. The body-to-neck ratio is generally 2:1.
The body of the Indian Runner Duck almost projects a very comical figure. It is narrow and long and maintains a characteristic cylindrical shape throughout. It is flattened only around the shoulders and a kind of funnels towards the body.
The tail is a very interesting feature of the Indian Runner Duck. When the bird is alert, the tail will extend towards the ground. It makes a straight line from the back to the ground. The wings are generally clipped when these birds are domesticated.
However, the size of the wings is considerably small compared to the size of the body. It is very tight against the sides of the birds with a cross near the rump. The plumage is not exactly soft. However, it is smooth and well compacted.
The position of the legs, as we know, allows this bird to maintain an upright posture. The legs are medium in size and have evident thighs and shanks.
Indian runner ducks are generally medium in size and weigh between 1.6-2.3 kg for a male and 1.4-2.0 kg for a female.
The Physical Defects
These physical defects are not a major concern unless you want a show duck, then the following ‘defects’ can spell disaster:
- A rounded or dome-shaped skull
- A plump head
- Eyes placed below the top of the skull, almost in the center
- A concave line on the surface of the culmen
- A slightly arched neck
- Neck length more than 1/3 of the total body length
- An obvious expansion in the neck giving it a “hock bottle” shape.
- Thick and short neck
- The protrusion on the shoulders that makes it prominent
- Displacement of the neck from the usual 180-degree position giving it a hollow back look
- An apparent concavity between the shoulder blades makes the back appear gutted
- A prominent sternum that makes the chest appear pointed
- Very evident sternum muscles make the duck look like a dove
- A shallow body that appears broad, giving the bird a cricket-bat appearance
- Obvious distortion in the cylindrical shape of the trademark
- A short stern that stands evidently clear off the ground
- A long stern that grazes the ground
- Legs that have protruding and angular thighs that carriage of the duck poor, appearing to be positioned forward, rather awkwardly.
- A tail that is turned upward instead of pointing toward the ground when the bird is alert.
Other minor defects like the Roman bill and prominent thighs can be overlooked even in show birds.
Personality Of The Indian Runner Duck
Indian runner ducks are usually very calm and very easy to handle. It is possible to train your Indian Runner Duck if you start early enough. Remember, you should always give your duck enough space to make it feel comfortable.
Runner ducks are usually calm and will mind their business unless you excite them for no reason. For example, if your ducks have calmed down and you suddenly turn on a light, expect them to be vocal and get loud. They don’t even like being cornered and will panic.
Ducks are very communicative creatures. The Indian Runner Duck, in particular, loves to communicate and is quite vocal. With familiarity, these ducks will also respond to calls from their owners.
You will notice that it is usually the female who resorts to the loud quacks. The male generally only creates a sound that looks like a hoarse whisper. Indian runner ducks are much less noisy than a call duck. However, they can make quite a rattle when they’re excited, playful, or even agitated.
Indian runner ducks can resort to a wide range of calls including cooing, grunting, and whistling. In some rare cases, they also yodel.
In general, you can be sure that your Indian Runner duck will talk to you and communicate with you on a regular basis. Therefore, they make excellent pets and provide very comforting companionship.
Indian runner ducks are extremely friendly and can be tamed to be timid but they are quite social. However, the nature of your duck depends on several things. Usually, the biggest difference comes with the gender of the birds. Males tend to be more dominant and are extremely territorial. Females, on the other hand, are quite pleasant by nature.
Indian runner ducks are known to become very attached to one person. Sometimes they may even like your other pets. They will follow the person or pet they are attached to. They will also be extremely possessive.
If the person whom these ducks get attached to, fondle or fuss over someone else before them, they will show you who the real boss is and are known to chase and bite when hungry or upset.
In general, Indian runner ducks are extremely sociable and will only react in unusual ways to sudden and unwanted changes in their immediate environment. Indian runner ducks are best when in groups. It is never advisable to have single ducks at home. You can have a few males and females in the group to create familiarity and also to promote breeding if necessary.