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Can Runner Duck behavior "rub off" on other breeds of duck?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Eric1980, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. Eric1980

    Eric1980 Out Of The Brooder

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    Perhaps an unusual question, and I need to elaborate. First - I'm used to chickens, but new to ducks. I've looked up as much info as I could, over a great period of time, before purchase, including individual duck "behavior". However, I never thought about a combined difference in behavior between a standard breed and a runner.

    I took advantage of a "Hatchery Choice" special through Ideal Poultry - the savings bringing the minimum order of "20 ducks" to $1.95 each...not bad, and a good way(or chance) to test a few breeds to see what my family and I like. At the time of the special, other specials were: Blue Swedish, Buffs, White Pekin, Black and White Magpie, and Fawn and White Indian runners(Plus "French Guineas", in which I ordered two). I've wanted Blue Swedish, for sure, for a very long time, but also wanted to try another breed, and just had a hard time narrowing it down to what I wanted the most - making an assortment special a good way to sample. Along with ordering the assortment, I thought that since they are hatching Blue Swedish, I had a fair chance of getting at least a couple. When I ordered, I put in the notes that I understand "Straight Run" and how it works. I simply "kindly" asked that if it was possible, to include at least a couple of Blues. Well(ha ha!), not one Blue Swedish, but I DID get one Black Swedish(crested), and in which Ideal DOES explain that "any variety of Blues Swedish may include Black or Splash chicks". I also received one Black and White Magpie, what looks to be at least 3 or 4 Pekin, and the rest of the numbers seem to be all Runners(Ordered 20 ducks and 2 French Guineas. Received 2 extra ducks, one died on day one). At first, the "yellowish" ducklings were hard to identify, considering a few breeds look yellowish at first. The fast growth after the first week made it easy to identify the Pekins. The Swedish and Magpie, of course, were super obvious: Pure Black with slight yellowish white belly on the Swedish, and the Magpie markings reminiscent of a dairy cow. The rest of the bunch? I was scratching my head till the end of week two. I thought, both F & W Runners and Buffs look slightly similar after hatching. Looking for the "penguin" or "wine bottle" stance is almost irrelevant within the first week and a half, because when you are taller and looking down on all of these little ones at feeding time - THEY ALL LOOK LIKE RUNNERS, standing "atten-hut" for you to lower in their din-din. Start of week three, it is obvious - everyone else(majority) is a Runner.

    Now, with that said, and with the question at hand - will the other breeds always do as the Runners do? I understand it's part of a Runner Ducks behavior to, well...run, even panic. I just don't know, being new to ducks, if it's common for ALL duck breeds to be so frantic or if one will run just because the others are running. I did read in one other forum that a Magpie can have the frantic behavior of the Runner sometimes. If the Pekins, Swedes, or maybe the Magpie were raised separately, would I experience a different response? The first week - EVERYONE was happy to see me, and would come running to my hand - even crawl into it and nestle down. Much different now, and I promise it seemed, at first, like the non-runner breeds would stop in the middle of the "He's here! Everybody huddle in the corner!" frenzy and give a look like, "What are we running from again?"(especially with the two guineas...funny really), but here at the start of week three, every duckling seems so "freaked out" at my initial appearance. They are more than happy to have their refill of water or food, but mind their distance until I take at least a step back. I can stand there all day, but if I move - everyone gets noisy and dogpiles in the corner. Some I can hold for at least 5 mins before they calm down and realize I'm not going to hurt them.

    Note: This does not change my mind at all, or make me want to get rid of any ducks. This is not an "anti Runner Duck" thread. I love them all to pieces, and love the variety, but I just need to make sure that I am not being too hard on myself. Is this ALL ducks, or is it a "I'll do as you do" trait with mixed personalities? Thanks for reading!
     
  2. needlessjunk

    needlessjunk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ducks take a lot of time to tame down. I spent at least a few hours a day holding each of mine for the first 6 weeks. A LOT of time. I think what is working against you that you so many so it's easy for all of them to panic. My runners are very friendly. I got 2 runners and a white layer and welsh harlequin at the same time. So it was easy to spend time with them without them panicking. Now they are still friendly but don't want to be held or picked up but that is the nature of ducks.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Eric1980

    Eric1980 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 19, 2014
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    You know, that thought actually crossed my mind - the numbers. I'm sure that makes it look more dramatic from my perspective - especially with 75 - 80% of my order consisting of runners. Thanks for the response.
     
  4. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    No I mainly have Muscovy but added two female buffs a few years ago.. now if your unfamiliar with scovies they are not mallard derived and rarely quack... so technically, i should of had a slight break down in communication... didn't and for whatever it's worth, the scovies do not act like buffs nor do the buffs act like scovies lol

    Later on i added some Pekin just so the quacking birds were not so low just in case i ever lost one... again.. they co-mingle but behavior wise they differ from each other as breeds.

    Now ducks generally go through a normal stage of you will eat me.. being prey animals this is normal, some breeds are more skittish and some birds are just loons, as routines develop most birds get accustomed to their keepers but you will always have some who want nothing to do with you and simply respond with absolute nonsense if you come near( i have a 4yo scovie like that.. she should be named spaz)

    Good luck!
     
  5. buff goose guy

    buff goose guy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ohh goodness when ever i have muscovys and mallards in a batch together the musocvys like learn to speak mallard like no joke i feel like i have bilingual( spelled that wrong[​IMG] ) ducks [​IMG]
    Sorry that was off topic

    Yes it could affect the other ducks but also there is a chance that the runners could be more like the others and friendly and calm it depends on the ducks personality and how much time is spent with them
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015
  6. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Mine all seem to understand each other, that said they still very much hang on to the original mannerisms and vocals true to the breed, if i didn't know better I think the scovies get tired of listening to the quacking..

    My buffs were raised with 2wk younger scovies whom turned out to be male.. for awhile they co-mingled but the one drake was pushed out, the one drake keeps both buffs now of coarse my Pekin drake keeps trying to get with them too(buff females)

    It's comical alright lol or insane. Line is a tad blurry.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015
  7. buff goose guy

    buff goose guy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
     
  8. Smurfbrew

    Smurfbrew Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've got just one fawn and white runner and two Welsh Harlequins. I wanted a runner because they are just so funny, but I was worried about their nervousness. Since WH are supposed to be a very calm breed, my reasoning was that they would help mellow out the runner. I have found the opposite to be true. My runner is the ring-leader and the others follow her lead. However, as they've gotten a little bit older, at six months now, they have all calmed a bit down. I think time and routine will help any duck get used to you.
     
  9. Eric1980

    Eric1980 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thread getting old now, I know, but I had to rechime on here and say...

    They are NOT Runner Ducks.

    They were Buffs all along. That "nervous" stage was temporary - I'll saw it again raising 6 Khaki Cambells, and now every duck is very sociable - even come running to greet us when we pull our cars into the driveway. You can see their pics on my profile if you'd like.
     
  10. Smurfbrew

    Smurfbrew Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I checked out your pics, nice looking flock you got there!
     
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