New to runner ducks!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by TOP KNOT, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. TOP KNOT

    TOP KNOT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I ordered 20 runners for March delivery. I got 1 male for every 4 females. I never had this type of duck. I have a brooder ready for them, but I am going to build them housing over the winter. I am open to advise on what they prefer for their house. I am sure they will need to be locked in over night so they don't become snack crackers. Will they go in on their own like the chickens? Or will I have to round them up each night or use electric poultry netting? I have an auto door for my chicken flock, it is the best thing ever!!! I want to make sure the ducks are safe at night. I will be building nesting areas, should they be placed low? Like a small drum withe the side cut out or a nesting box? How about their water, are they big swimmers like he other breeds? I had muscovies in the past, I am just not familiar with runners. (My muscovies liked the creek out back behind the horse pasture better than living here! The fence did NO good at all!) My idea is to keep them(the runners) out on the horse pasture and have their house with a fence yard around it so they can be turned out. Also, does this breed fly?(like my other run aways) I read some about them, but your experiences are the best teachers. I am very excited to hear about yours and receive my new additions! [​IMG]
     
  2. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had Runners since Spring. I have 3. They are much like my other breeds, except that they seem much less tolerant of cold and walking in the snow. Since I've had snow on the ground, they've each gone thru these phases of limping that pass after a night in lockup (=inside the barn stall). My Runners like to splash in their kiddie pools, weather permitting, but they do not really swim nor fly. Not saying all Runners wouldn't, mine just don't. When I call the flock, my one runner drake seems like he is usually the 1st to notice me. What colors will you be getting?
     
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Welcome to Runners!!

    I love mine. We got girls only, day-olds. They were a blast to raise, ya got to get the water management down immediately for a positive experience all around, I must say. Check out the link for raising ducklings in the Stickies.

    I trained mine to go in at dusk, and they are happy to do so. I do not let them free range (though we do go for walks around the property together since I am the livestock guard animal), so the few times they were reluctant to go into the shelter, I easily herded them in. They herd nicely, 9 times out of 10. For the tenth time, peas work magic.

    They do what I call wing-assisted jumping. If they have enough room, and start out several feet from a three foot fence, they can get over it, just.

    For pet-quality runners, there is a variety of body types, I have a couple of slender medium-height girls, one fairly big tall girl, a really buxom girl, and a few petite but not extremely tall girls. The smaller ones can jump the farthest.

    Try the nesting areas, place them low, don't be surprised if they are not used, or used only a little bit. I used big cheese boxes one year, but they lost interest. They like corners, so in their current night pen (a room in my walkout basement), I have attached 2' plywood panels in a few places. The layers make their own nests in those corners and seem to really like that.

    For swimming, we use concrete mixing pans. Those are heavy duty and easy to clean, a good size for up to four runners at a time, sometimes five if they are feeling like having a party.

    We use a 2% slope, smooth pea gravel and sand under the swim pans, and need to muck it out and replace material once or twice a year.

    Nighttime water is in the watering station.

    Here is a nesty spot.
    [​IMG]
    Here is the watering station, with pelleted sawdust in the bottom.
    [​IMG]

    About the drakes. Plan your space so you can separate your flock into up to, I would say at least three zones. It is entirely up to your drakes as to whether they will get along at all, especially during mating season (starts around Valentine's Day here). Being able to subdivide the flock has been a bigger blessing than you may be able to imagine. Also there needs to be a designated sick bay area for injured, ill, or cranky ducks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
  4. TOP KNOT

    TOP KNOT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I ordered four female and one male of every color that Murray McMurray sells so there are 20 total. Blue, black, chocolate, and fawn and white. [​IMG]
     
  5. TOP KNOT

    TOP KNOT Chillin' With My Peeps

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  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    While they are laying, most lay at least five a week. Laying season has changed a bit each year, getting shorter. The first year, they went 16 months laying, then a month or two off. Then there was about 14 months laying, then two or three months off, then when we brought Bean and his girls into the flock, we went on strike for five months, and laid for 8 months.

    So they are good layers, and I feel that stressors can affect their laying. I don't mind them taking time off. Their fertilizer is always good, they always eat pests and weeds, they are such a good bunch of critters - some of the best company I have ever known.

    I sneak around to collect eggs. They go out to the pen, I gather eggs. Sometimes they move the nest, not often. Sechs was broody for maybe four months this past year. Two or three others were broody, too. I have used wooden eggs, or eggs I am sure are not fertile. I mark certain eggs and if someone is broody, let her sit on a few and gather the fresh ones each day.

    After a while I swap out the eggs since I don't want explosions.
     
  7. TOP KNOT

    TOP KNOT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ha! when I was in 4th grade, I found a "huge'' egg (a goose egg) that sloshed??? I shook it and shook it.....until it popped [​IMG] Oh no!!!!! (We rented then from a poultry guy.) I had NO idea!!?? YUCK!
     
  8. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Yes, they can get pretty nasty.
     
  9. TOP KNOT

    TOP KNOT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, how old will they be when they begin to lay? I am excited about this!! I have 16 girls and 4 boys coming! The same day I have 55 chicks coming too! I will be on vacation from work, so I can keep a close eye on them for 2 weeks. I picked up an old oak book case with no shelves from a chiropractors office that moved. Its 4' wide x 6' tall. On its back its the best duck brooder ever! So its 4x6 1 foot deep. Awesome! Our pole barn has heat so a red lamp on a tri- pod and I am set! I want to raise them to be friendly.
     
  10. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    You have been thinking ahead, yay!

    Please be prepared for surprises, don't let them get you down.

    Here are some random thoughts, thinking back on raising eleven runner babies.

    Wow, they go through water FAST.
    Wow, they grow FAST.
    And they fling their poop sometimes. Pretty far.
    They are not all alike. Some like it warmer, some cooler, some are friendlier than others.
    The morning they turned three weeks old, they started acting like I was the Grim Reaper, screaming and clamoring to get away from me.
    They ate shavings, so I kept them on old towels
    Some were afraid of the dark and needed a night light.
    How do I get eleven fuzzy butts into the bathtub? And back?
    Why do they eat the center out of the puppy pad?

    We had a brooder. It became Brooder I. Because there was Brooder II, then Brooder III before the weather cooperated enough for them to be outdoors in their own house - Little Fort Knox. If something can break in, it will. Protect those babies. I used electric fence also.
     
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