Indian Runner Ducks are generally intended to be farmyard pets. This means that they must be allowed to walk and run freely, however it is essential that space must be guarded or enclosed.
Why Do Runner Ducks Need Adequate Housing?
- Predators are always on the lookout. Since Indian Runner Ducks cannot fly, they are very easy targets. They cannot escape by flying away from danger like other ducks in the wild.
- Indian Running Ducks have this name for a reason. Yes, they are capable of running quite fast but they are also capable of running away. If the space they are kept in is not enclosed, they could drift away and be seriously injured.
- Free-range pets are often killed by traffic. If your farm or home is near a busy highway, you need to be extra careful when bringing an Indian Runner Duck home.
- Indian Runner Ducks need a warm shelter at night to stay healthy. Ducks, in particular, love a quiet, secluded place to rest at night. They may feel uncomfortable and even threatened if that doesn’t happen.
Fencing the area around your home is a great idea when you have an Indian Runner duck. However, you will need to house your ducks in the right place so they can get a good rest and stay healthy. There are several options available. Indian runner ducks in particular are fairly easy to house as they can be easily trained and handled.
There are two types of housing for runner ducks:
- Duckling Housing
- Duck Pens
Duckling Housing For Runner Ducks
The first stage of housing a duckling for Runner Ducks involves setting up a “brooder.” Also known as a ‘hothouse’, the brooder is a warm housing option that is extremely essential for baby ducks. The temperature of the housing should be kept high as ducklings require the warmth provided by their mothers.
You have several options with duckling brooders. They are differentiated by their shape. You can get simple boxes that look like batteries and even ones with canopies that resemble spaceships. The heat source can be electricity or even gas. In case you want to buy brooders that are readily available, you have to be prepared to shell out a lot of money.
However, preparing a brooder at home is also quite simple. All you need to do is find a normal duck house and set a hot lamp at about 90-94 degrees to keep the ducklings warm. This temperature should be lowered by about 5 degrees every week.
When the ducklings are about 8 weeks old, they will develop feathers that will keep them warm. So you can lower the temperature to about 50 degrees.
It is possible to assess whether the ducklings are comfortable or not. If they are simply lying down and in general they are quite comfortable, it means that the temperature is adequate.
However, if the temperature is low, they tend to huddle together. If it is too high, you will see them reach the edge of the house where it is much cooler.
Another thing to consider is the fact that ducklings grow very fast. In a month, the duckling reaches the size of an adult.
- In the first two weeks, each duckling will only require about 0.75 square feet.
- In the fourth week, you should give them at least 1.75 square feet.
- By the time they are six weeks old, each duck will need 2.75 square feet for itself.
Sometimes a simple rubber tote or tub will work well if the number of ducklings you have is not too many.
Regardless of the housing options you choose for your ducklings, make sure it is easy to maneuver. You should also have good bedding inside. Ducklings also need guards to be placed around the house to ensure there are no drafts at night. This will also ensure that the ducklings don’t get out.
Once your ducklings are the size of an adult duck, you can move them to a pen. Of course, you will need a pen even when you adopt an adult duck.
There are some general principles to keep when designing a duck pen. It doesn’t have to be too fancy or elaborate. However, certain parameters must be maintained.
You have two options when it comes to housing ducks:
- Intensive housing: this means that during a particular season, your ducks are kept indoors.
- Semi-intensive housing: Ducks can go outside in the morning but are locked in their pens at night.
There are some things that you must keep in a duck pen, which is mandatory.
- The pen must be kept dry and clean at all times. It must be well ventilated. At the same time, you need to make sure that it is sufficiently rainproof.
- Each duck needs at least 0.2 square meters of space to spread its wings and stay comfortable.
- There is a chance that the Indian Runner Duck eggs will break and the inside of the pen will become moisture. To absorb this, it is necessary to cover the floor with sand to a height of at least 7 cm.
- Wood shavings are generally preferred. However, you can choose any other material that is soft and absorbent.
- When choosing a place to build the pen, make sure the area has a gentle slope. If it’s too hilly, you won’t be able to build a clean pen. On the other hand, a flat surface poses drainage problems. Depending on where you live, there are municipalities that can give you the right advice when choosing the site to build the duck pen.
- Ideally, the pen should face northeast.
- The Indian runner duck stands upright, so you need to make sure that the ceiling is set at a suitable height.
- Shade is absolutely necessary for all ducks as they are affected by excessive sunlight.
- When you plan to build a duck pen, take the time to do the layout and design of the floor. If you have ducklings and ducks in the same pen, you should clearly assign different areas to them. Make sure there is no entrance from one area to the other.
If you have breeding stock, the soil is especially important. The floor should have a combination of sand and slate wired areas. With this arrangement, wet sand is not a problem. Be sure to place all feeders and water in the slated area.
Indian Runner Ducks will use only the sand area to mate and lay eggs. Having a pen with only slates can result in leg injuries and damage.
You can even create nests to encourage your ducks to lay eggs there. This will keep the eggs safe. The eggs are less prone to damage and will also be safe from sunlight and moisture. Each nest must be able to house only one duck at a time.
Make sure pens are free from drafts and securely blocked at night to make sure your ducks don’t wander away.
Estimated Size Of The Runner Duck Housing
Running Ducks are one of the easiest breeds to accommodate. If you plan to fence your home, you will need to keep the height at about 2.5 feet.
Remember that the Indian Runner Duck is not the best flier. The only reason you should raise the fence and protect it with welded mesh is to keep predators and visitors out of your enclosure.
Pen or the housing size can never be too large, regardless of whether your ducks are breeding or growing.
The only parameter that determines the size of the house is the number of Indian runner ducks you have. The rule here is that you should never have more than 5 ducks per square meter.
Ducks like to have ample space around them to spread their wings, flap their wings, and even “stretch” in some way. So, as the owner, this is your responsibility.
The distance from the floor of the housing to the roof should be at least 2 meters. This will allow your Indian runners to stand tall and walk if they wish.
Sometimes smaller pens and housing can work just fine. However, if you see that the ducks are huddled together due to lack of space, you should consider shifting them. Of course, your ducks will have access to the water for swimming. If the space is too small and crowded, it will get very muddy and easily dirty. This results in poor health and conditioning of your ducks.
Once you have the right house for your ducks, the challenge is creating the right environment for them to thrive in a healthy way. You must ensure that you never compromise the natural instincts of your Indian Runner Duck, even if it is domesticated.