Indian Runner Ducks
Indian Runners are a very special breed of domestic duck. When they were imported into Europe they attracted attention because of their tall, upright bodies and their incredible reputation for egg-laying. They had been found in the East Indies, from where they get their present name, but were referred to as ‘Penguin Ducks’ by Dutch explorers and some of the early importers.
The Indian Runner, like most breeds of domestic duck, is a development of the wild mallard. Its evolution was probably determined more by human influence than natural selection over the hundreds of years they have been in the islands of Indonesia. They are set apart from other domestic ducks not only by the geography but in their shape, bone structure and blood proteins. They are unique, and that is why the INDIAN RUNNER DUCK ASSOCIATION wishes to protect the pure breed.
The Runners have been a determining factor in the commercial market, especially for quick-growing egg-layers but also for adding cross-breed vigour to the traditional table breeds, like Aylesbury and Rouen. From their early importation they were crossed with other domestic ducks to such an extent that the pure Indian Runners were almost extinct in Britain by the beginning of the twentieth century. They were used to create Khaki Campbells, Buff Orpingtons and the rush of ‘Light Duck’ breeds that now fill the commercial farms and exhibition pens.
It was only by the enthusiasm of people like Joseph Walton and Matthew Smith that fresh importations were made in the early 1900s and the pure breed Indian Runners are still to be found alongside their cross-breed relatives. It is one of the aims of the INDIAN RUNNER DUCK ASSOCIATION to preserve the purity of the breed and contribute to the accurate standardization of the Indian Runner Duck.