Indian Runners are an unusual breed of domestic duck. They stand erect like penguins and, rather than waddling, they run. The females usually lay about 150 – 200 eggs a year or more, depending whether they are from exhibition or utility strains. They were found on the Indonesian Islands of Lombok, Java and Bali 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. T
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 Call 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.
The Indian Runner Ducks are domesticated waterfowl that live in the archipelago of the 'East Indies'. There is no evidence that they came originally from India itself. Attempts by British breeders at the beginning of the twentieth century to find examples in the subcontinent had very limited success. Like many other breeds of waterfowl imported into Europe and America, the term 'Indian' may well be fanciful, denoting a loading port or the transport by 'India-men' sailing ships of the East India Company. Other misnamed geese and ducks include the 'African Goose', the 'Black East Indian Duck' and the 'Muscovy Duck'.
The Runner became popular in Europe and America as an egg-laying variety towards the end of the nineteenth century largely as a result of an undated pamphlet called The India Runner: its History and Description published by John Donald of Wigton between 1885 and 1890. Donald describes the pied variety and gives the popular story of the importation into Cumbria (Northwest England) by a sea captain some fifty years earlier.
The breed is unusual not only for its high egg production but also for its upright stance and variety of colors , some of which are seen in seventeenth century Dutch paintings.Other references to such domestic ducks use the names 'Penguin Ducks' and 'Baly Soldiers'. Harrison Weir's Our Poultry (1902) describes the Penguin Ducks belonging to Mr Edward Cross in the Surrey Zoological Gardens between 1837-38. These may well have been imported by the 13th Earl of Derby. describes them (1868) as having elongated 'femur and meta-tarsi', contrary to Tegetmeier’s assertions.
The Cumbrian importations, according to Matthew Smith in 1923,included completely Fawn Runners and completely White Runners as well as the pied (Fawn-and-white and Grey-and-white) varieties. The most successful attempt to import fresh blood lines was by Joseph Walton between 1908 and 1909. A detailed account of these ventures can be found in Coutts (1927) and Ashton (2002). Walton shipped in birds from Lombok and Java, revolutionizing the breeding stock which, according to Donald, had become badly mixed with local birds.Further importations by Miss Chisholm and Miss Davidson in 1924 and 1926 continued to revive the breed.
Male 1.58-2.25 kg
Female 2.36-2.00 kg