Why choose runner ducks?

7 Jan

Thinking about the breed of duck that would suit our duck keeping needs has taken a good few months.

Like many people, we knew that there were many different types of ducks but hadn’t really given much thought about what type of domestic duck would suit us best.

When we moved to Shropshire and had the opportunity to finally get some ducks, we did some research online.

The first consideration was easy; our ducks are being kept for their eggs and not for meat, so it followed that we would want a breed that is a good layer. Runner ducks are amongst the best at laying with some individuals able to provide over 200 eggs each year. Runners have the advantage too that they cannot fly, and as we intend to allow the ducks to wander on a large parcel of grass, this avoids the need for wing clipping.

Wheat for ducksAnother consideration when deciding on which ducks to consider came down to whether we wanted pure breed or mongrel ducks.

Now, if, like us, the intention is to get plenty of nice fresh eggs, any female duck would do and it would not matter if they were a mixture of breeds but we decided that we would like to play our small part in keeping the distinct breeds alive and so we ended up on the website of the Indian Runner Duck Association http://www.runnerduck.net and it was there we found our local breeders at Ashton Waterfowl http://www.ashtonwaterfowl.net.

After a short email exchange it turned out that they had two runner duck females for sale (one in blue trout colouring and one in fawn) and also two ducks of a different breed – abacot rangers. Quickly looking into this breed we discovered it is fairly rare and even went extinct in the UK in the past, before being reintroduced from Germany.

Abacots are beautiful looking birds with the females having distinct fawn head colouring. We thought these would be nice birds to have too and they have the advantage, on paper at least, of being more prolific egg layers. Also, as poor fliers, we think they will settle in well.

So having researched fairly widely about runner ducks, we have ended up with our first four birds as being two runners and two abacots (photos to come – watch this space).

Only the next few years will tell if we have chosen the best ducks for our egg production and we hope you will follow the journey with us on this website.

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