INDIAN RUNNER DUCKS
Flock of Indian runner ducks
This breed, formerly classified under light ducks, is unique. However, crossed with other breeds of domestic waterfowl, the runner produced nearly all the light duck breeds, which have a lower carriage than the runner. There are now nine standard colours in the UK, and several more in Australia and Germany. The Bali is a crested runner but is judged separately from the runners themselves because the crest is an important additional criterion in judging.
Conventionally known as the 'Indian' runner, its origin was finally pinned down by Walton (1909) to the East Indies, though the Dutch probably knew this much earlier because of the connection of the Dutch East India Company with Batavia (Jakata) in Java.
Fawn & White runners
Runners have a fascinating and controversial history. First imported into Britain in about 1835, and existing in the Earl of Derby's collection, they became more famous in Cumbria and Dumfries. The Cumbrian Runners were described, imported, bred and exhibited by a succession of enthusiasts such as Donald, Digby, Walton and Smith.
The purists fought hard to champion their pure breed against the utility brigade, who labelled the pure runner the 'penguin monstrosity'. Aided also by Reginald Appleyard, the Misses Davidson and Chisholm and Dr Coutts, the true runner survived and is still a popular show birds today.
Conventional colours are black, chocolate, Cumberland blue, fawn, fawn-&-white (pencilled and American), mallard, trout, and white. Some of these colours are more stable and easy to breed than others. The fawn, the white and the fawn-&-white were the original colours.
Recently, several new colours have been introduced from Germany, and some also made in Britain. The Germans have standards for their Silber-wildfarbig, and Erbsgelb and Blaugelb ('Saxony') runners. In the UK, the dusky fawn runner colour has been used to create the blue dusky and apricot dusky runner.
Silver runner duck
These are a popular colour to start with. Trout tend to be smaller than white and fawn runners - and therefore less extreme in form, and easier to manage. The ducks are not as delicate on their legs as the taller whites and fawns. The colour was 'made' on the continent in both France and Germany and imported into Britain by Jacob Lory. The drakes are particularly striking with their green head, white collar and touch of claret on the breast. They are a lighter, brighter, silver grey that the mallard runner. The ducks are similarly lighter and brighter than the mallard females and look lovely in a flock.
Trout runner duck
More information is available at our associate's website, the Indian Runner Duck Association