Runner x Welsh Harlequin - Color and Fertility Questions

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by malndobe, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. malndobe

    malndobe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I purchased a bunch of Indian Runners for eggs and herding. Have found them to be good for herding, but a little more flighty/reactive than I would like overall. I lost half my drakes in a coyote attack so I need to build up my flock again, I'd like to have 15-20 drakes.

    I was talking to some people at a herding trial this weekend, the ducks being used were Welsh Harlequins and we were discussing the possibility of crossing the Welsh Harlequins with my Runners to get a bird a little heavier than the Runner, but with the longer Runner legs, and a slightly less reactive/flighty personality.

    So my first question is what would the resulting ducks look like? I have fawn and white, black, and chocolate Runners.

    Next question is about fertility. They mentioned somone else has been crossing Runners and Muscovy and getting excellent ducks for herding. A Runner body type (upright) but heavier, with a calmer less flighty personality. One thing they liked is that the drakes have very low sex drive, and the ducks lay very few eggs which helps make for an easier to care for flock, and this was common with hybrids.

    Personally if I do this cross I would like the ducks to still be good layers, the drakes would be used for herding but the ducks would be kept for egg laying.

    So what can I expect to get?
     
  2. learycow

    learycow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Muscovy ducks crossed with any other breed give you MULE DUCKS. These are ALL sterile.
    If the muscovy is the mother and other duck is the father, the females will lay sterile eggs and males will mate but are also sterile.
    If the muscovy is the father and other duck the mother, the female offspring won't be able to lay eggs. The males and females are both sterile as well though.

    If you cross runners with welsh, the offspring should be fertile and able to reproduce. However, like with the muscovy, the offspring and their genetics will differ based on the runner being the mother or the father.

    These are two breeds I have not crossed before so can't give you an advice from experience. But when crossing breeds, the offspring will all be different in some way. You don't always get the best of both breeds. You may end up with some that get the worst of both breeds, best of both, or some in between.

    They should be decent egg layers as welsh are excellent for eggs and runner are good. So I would expect egg production to be in the 200-300+ range for the ducks.The males may not be as great for meat as you are hoping. Runners are small, and welsh are fairly small as well. They are bigger than runners, but not bred specifically for meat so don't expect meat ducks too much larger than the runners.

    As for personality type, you could get all kinds. If you definitely want welsh for crosses, I would suggest buying from a breeder who breeds for personality type. Hatchery welsh tend to be skittish and timid like the runners. But you can breed them to be more docile which would help them be less flighty
     
  3. malndobe

    malndobe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you. I'm actually not looking for meat birds, the drakes will live long lives being happy ducks foraging, swimming, and mating 98% of the time, and being used for herding purposes the other 2% of the time. Probably not the happiest time for them, but since I'm very serious about the dogs treating the livestock correctly, it's not a big negative either.

    It was more a case of what to do with the girls, since I don't use them for herding, would they be good for egg production. Sounds like they will be, so I probably won't be eating anyone any time soon.

    I will be selecting for temperament in the offspring, so a few may get rehomed or eaten if they are to skittish to work with. Although I don't think even my straight runners are to skittish, they have their use in training the dogs since you don't want your livestock to always be easy, but for use in trials or teaching certain skills I need a calmer duck also.

    I went ahead and purchased 2 of the WH drakes that were being used at a recent event, since they are proven to have the temperament I'm looking for.

    Any idea what the offspring might look like? It doesn't really matter, but I couldn't find any photos online and the duck genetics calculator I found didn't have pictures either.
     
  4. kswaterfowl

    kswaterfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a friend that just got some of this cross for the same reason I have pictures of hers if you would like to see them. They can be a whole range of colors depending on what colors the runners are. my e-mail is [email protected] if you want pics. We breed Welsh Harlequins and Gray Runners, and have crossed them in the past when we bred Trout runners, but never crossed the grays and WH's
     
  5. learycow

    learycow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can you post the pics here? I would love to see them as well!
     
  6. kswaterfowl

    kswaterfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here is a link to my blog, http://www.kswaterfowl.blogspot.com/ the first post is full of the pictures. It is a work in progress, as I am putting together a reference page for this specific cross.
     
  7. learycow

    learycow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very interesting!

    I see on there that you breed magpie calls. Do you sell ducklings or adults?
     
  8. kswaterfowl

    kswaterfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    only adults for local pickup only. We don't ship birds, we didn't hatch any this year, but we let our hen sit on her eggs and she kept getting disturbed so nothing hatched. Hopefully we will have enough to incubate in the Brinsea this coming year.
     
  9. learycow

    learycow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK, bummer, I would've bought some if you were able to ship!

    My call hen had the same issue this spring. She laid 2 small clutches. The first ended up being all dud eggs. The second she abandoned half way through due to another hen that kept bothering her on the nest. I have her and her mate separated now so hopefully she will hatch some for me in the spring! Good luck with yours as well!
     

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