Who can tell me about Runner Ducks?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by bfrancis, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. bfrancis

    bfrancis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Who can tell me about Runner Ducks? My wife is thinking about getting runner ducks to help her "garden" next year. My only experience with ducks is migratory and me in my waders...

    Seriously though, although we have a bunch of poultry, treat me a newbie to give me Runner Duck 101. Housing, feed, husbandry, incubation temps, drake to hen ratio, special considerations...you get the idea.

    Quick backdrop setup...looking a getting a quad, if ratio is good, they will not be free ranging, they'll be in a penned area (already familiar with FT Knox type runs)...other than that open canvas, will build to suit as they say.

    Thanks in advance for all the comments.
     
  2. sy7up

    sy7up Out Of The Brooder

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    yes I can, Her name is Alicia ducky taylor she help me with my frist and only duck hatching,did'nt know what it was ging to be because they told me it was a muscovie and it;s a pekin very dizzy ducky. she she has runner ducks they win shows, she lives in austraila, I'll post you back with her email address.
     
  3. sy7up

    sy7up Out Of The Brooder

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  4. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

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    [​IMG] Hey there sy7up.

    How is Low Rider?? Is she still laying with the colder weather setting in now??

    bfrancis - Runners are amazing. Good breed choice for your wife. They really are great in the garden, cleaning up bugs and clearing some of the undergrowth. You do need to be careful with them around a vegie garden though- as just like other duck breeds they will quickly demolish anything that looks good to them.

    I have a floating number usually between 15- 25 of different ages. All mine are hand raised as they can be a bit flighty and handling them often from a young age can keep them quieter. Runners are a great egg laying breed, and dont often go broody, but I do find them relatively easy to incubate and hatch. They have such incredible characters- and not matter what age provide so much entertainment with their daily goings on.


    Housing can depend alot on the space and materials you have available, but aside from making sure they are safe from predators making sure that the area is easy to clean should be a consideration. They would need to be provided with water- and will make a huge mess with it. Apart from providing a receptacle for drinking that is deep enough for them to get their whole heads into ( needed for cleaning their nostrils and eyes. ) a small swimming pool at least in the warmer months will make for much happier ducks. Making sure that the area used for " bathing" is an area with good drainage is important.

    One great feature of the Runners is that they come in so many colours. Certain colours are more common in some countries than others- but cross breeding between different coloured birds can be a great experiment in genetics, I have been doing a little of that myself and have managed to get a combination of parents who have offspring I can sex at hatch by colour alone.

    Incubation temps are the same for other poultry- but its the humidity that is different. I generally have my incubator on 55% for the first 25 days and then up to 80% for hatching. It can depend a little on your machine and the climate where you live. I have mine separated for breeding in pairs trios and larger groups with 3 males and 10- 12 females of laying age, each group size works well- and fertility in my flock is always high.


    For some further information- and chat about Runners there is a group on facebook with plenty of photos of the different colour available, and with members from around the world there is a heap of experience members can share about their Runners.

    http://www.facebook.com/groups/117239115030006/

    I could go on for about forever about Runners, they really are just such a huge part of my life and totally amazing birds...... but there are also a few other members on hear that have Runners and Im sure would love to share some of their experiences with you....


    Oh...and just in case you arent completely sold on the idea of getting some Runners.... Did I mention just how darn cute they can be ???

    [​IMG]
     
  5. bfrancis

    bfrancis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the info!...think we will be getting a quad this spring.
     
  6. FarmrGirl

    FarmrGirl MooseMistress

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  7. bfrancis

    bfrancis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nice pics, great article!

    With the 8 that you do have, what does coop look like that you keep them in? Do they lay eggs willy-nilly or do you have a nest box? What do you feed yours and protein % ? with your 8 what is the male to female ratio?

    Thanks!
     
  8. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My duck set up is really simple. I bought a 300$ chain link dog run from Lowes, scattered straw on the dirt floor, put in a small pool, a large dog house and put up an old trampoline tarp on one side and across the top for shade. I joined the run to my standing horse fence to make it even larger. I free range during the day but if I kept them penned full time, I would put down sod in the run instead. I house 23 ducks at night in this setup, and it would certainly keep as many as 6 ducks comfortable all day every day.
    You'll need to tweak the idea depending on what kind of predators you have near your home. Hardware cloth or tiny box wire along the bottom of the walls to keep weasels and snakes out and baby ducks in, netting or a roof over the top to keep out hawks or raccoons that like to climb etc. I live in Arizona and I don't have a lot of predators to speak of thanks to my dogs.

    At the bare minimum inside the run you will need comfortable surfaces for the ducks to walk, a house that is a wind break with a waterproof roof (any non toxic materials you like. I've seen duck houses composed of stacked straw bales), a spot to eat, and a reservoir for baths/swimming.

    Ducks are waterproof and they don't have any exposed parts you need to worry about getting frostbitten as you do chickens. They are very cold hardy, heat hardy, wet hardy and disease resistant. Laying duck breeds lay a greater quantity of eggs per year than any laying breed of chicken, larger eggs, and have a longer laying life than chickens to boot according to Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks- used on amazon from 2$ + shipping. I highly recommend this as a Christmas gift for your wife to feed her interest in ducks until spring.

    Laying ducks do very well on the same layer feed you give your chickens, as ducklings they will need more niacin than you will get in a chick starter. If you only want eggs you don't technically need a drake, they don't marshal the hens quite like a rooster does with his chickies either. But if you want a quad or a trio, you'll only want one of them to be male.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  9. grawg

    grawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just as a word of caution, runners can be very nervous depending on where and how old you get them. I got mine around 4-6 weeks old, and while they are not as skittish as they once were, they are by no means comfortable with me in close proximity. Now many members here will say their runners are quite tame, and to me the common element is that they got them very young, day old or so.

    I also got runners as garden helpers and can't wait for spring to unleash them in my garden at spring to help me fight the never ending war vs slugs and jap beetles... do you figure they will eat squash bugs as well?
     
  10. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My ducks love squash bugs. There's something you can plant in your squash beds to turn off the bugs though, I just don't remember what it is.
     

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