Runner Ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by rgn87, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. rgn87

    rgn87 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wanna get some runner ducks but have a few questions. One: how much space do they need? (if I got say 6-10). If I let them free range will they wander? They really can't fly, or they can't fly like a mallard flies? Any other information or pictures you can offer will be awesome.
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    rgn87,

    There is some variability between flocks and individual runners - here is what we have going.

    I have ten runner females, black and chocolate. Their "summer cottage" is a 4'x8', 4' tall double-walled insulated plywood box with a Dutch door for me, and a sliding door for them. The slider goes to a porch (the veranda, I call it), that is covered on all sides with half inch hardware cloth. The veranda is also 4'x8', so that's the room they have at night when nighttime temperatures are above 40F (That is its own story).

    In the colder times, I have them in a more or less 60 sf pen in the walkout basement, where it is in the mid 40s F. During the day when the weather is decent enough (20s or above if sunny, 30s or above if not), they are outside in the garden (when I can watch them), which is about 500 or 600 sf, or in their 10'x16' completely enclosed, sides, top, bottom, day pen.

    They bathe in a 2'x3' 10" deep concrete mixing pan.

    Based on my ducks' behavior after jailbreaks, mine wander, but not terribly far. I have worked very hard and long to get them to bond to me, and they more or less stay nearby, but I don't leave them unattended for more than minutes at a time*, and with the exception of a few "jailbreaks," they are in an enclosed area at all times. That is less to keep them close than it is to keep them alive. We have a long list of predators, daytime and nighttime, in our area. Others who have raised runners but less intensively, write that they do roam all over the place.

    Their flying is what I would call wing-assisted jumping. They can get a foot or so off the ground and stay airborne for up to six feet, on a good day. Or they can scale a tilted fence while flapping their wings.

    Take a look on youtube at amiga350. There are some video clips so you can see what they are like doing various things.

    By the way (and you didn't ask this but I'll volunteer it). I love these birds! [​IMG]

    ETA: * gosh that sounds like I never ever leave the property! I don't leave them unattended in the gardens for more than minutes at a time - when I need to go out, they are either in their basement shelter - in cold weather - or locked in their day pen/veranda/house complex. If I will be gone after dark, I either lock them in the house/veranda and turn on the electric fence, or have the ducksitter come by before dark and do that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
  3. sableboi

    sableboi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Runners are awesome. We used them for Herding Practice for our BorderCollies...cool little ducks!
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Amiga, I have fallen in love with your girls they are precious, I have showed your youtube video to all who will watch it. Got to have some, now that my husband and I are retired and I don't go anywhere for very long I could really bond with them. Thanks for sharing!
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Thanks, Miss Lydia. Those ducks are precious to me. They gave us nine eggs this morning!
     
  6. zippy3

    zippy3 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 7 female runner ducks (3 fawn and whites, 2 blues, 2 chocolates), one female Cayuga duck and a male goose (White Chinese). As I live in northern VT, they have an insulated duck house that is 9" x 8", which works out to 8' per animal, which is, I think, considered generous. But that is because I keep them inside all day when the weather is 20 degrees or below. You will certainly work out a different housing plan since you live in a warmer locale.
    Their house has a timer that controls a 75 watt bulb for 16 hours of light and I am getting 5 - 8 eggs per day since last fall, when they matured around 20 weeks of age.

    They also have an outdoor enclosed pen that is roughly 110 sq. ft and summer access to range inside an electric net fence (roughly 40' x 40') which I move around the yard. The predator list up here is very long, so they are locked inside the house every night. In the winter, they are allowed into the enclosed outdoor pen during daylight hours when the temp is warm enough.

    None of the ducks are inclined to fly far, The farthest I have seen is a wing assisted jump about 6' high, with a 20' glide, mostly when one gets seperated from the flock. They are easily herded. When they were young, I could lead them around, but now I mostly walk behind them with my arms out and herd them from behind. Sometimes I can get the goose to follow me and they will follow him, but not consistantly.

    The goose acts as a watch dog...his breed is very talkative, so if he sees or hears something, he tells everyone. He will watch for predators about 80% if the time when they are out grazing.

    I suggest you purchase a book such as Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks by Dave Holderread. A book gives you so much more info than you can get from a forum such as this. I found that I needed to refer to different parts of the book as the ducks grew.

    Setting up, I spent the most money on housing and fencing, but the electric net fence is worth every penny, as you can put them in it and be pretty confident that they are safe and won't wander off. I bought the 4' high one, but I think I might have been OK with a 3' high one, since I do put them into their house every night.

    I have let them completely free range in the summer when I am home...they can wander pretty far, especially when the slug supply in the yard was cleaned out by them and they were looking for more. The older they got, the farther they would go from the house. Even dogs can be a problem, even if you don't have foxes, coyotes, weasels and racoons.
     
  7. rgn87

    rgn87 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for all the replies I greatly appreciate them. I constructed a fenced in area underneath my deck. It is about 20 ft by 8 ft, and then a separate 10 ft by 4 ft run. I have a sunken area to put a kiddie pool, and I will line the ground with wheat straw. I am planning to get about 10 runner ducks, i am thinking the faun and white, or maybe the black. Does anybody have any improvements I can add to this set up. Also I live in the South, so it never gets to cold, but it does get very hot, do I need a structure for them to sleep in at night. I also plan to have a small patch of grass for them to forage. Can you guys maybe post some pics of your runner ducks.
     
  8. gofasterstripe

    gofasterstripe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:If you look back just a day or so you will see a whole thread on Runner Ducks and pictures [​IMG]
     
  9. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My 3 runner girls have the "dog yard". It's now the duck yard. It's a small fenced area off the deck with pea gravel. Their pool is out there and their food and water dish. They used to spend a lot of time there, but now they spend more time out in the yard being ducks.
    At night, they come up on the deck and head into their duck house (dog house) and get closed in. On nights when it is going to be below 40, I put in bins with pine straw.

    You are going to want to make sure you can hose the area down if that's all they will have. Especially in the summer. I hose down the duck yard daily in the summer if it hasn't rained hard enough for long enough to wash stuff in. So far this winter, every few days.
     
  10. rgn87

    rgn87 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Am I crazy or is ten ducks gonna be a little much?
     

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