Chicken Nugget – The Indian Runner Duck (….ok, so its not a chicken)

The Indian Runner first appeared in this country around 1850 when a sea captain brought some to Whitehaven in Cumbria. They are believed to originate from India though some references state Malaya as its source. The ‘runner’ aspect comes about exactly as would be expected, they run and don’t waddle like most other ducks, with a upright posture and manner of movement not dissimilar to that of a penguin. They are also flightless so there is no requirement to clip or pinion the birds to keep them within their enclosure.

A fully grown 1 year old Indian Runner duck



Indian Runners are egg laying ducks with good strains laying in excess of 220 eggs a year, in fact many hold them to be the principal egg laying pure duck breed. They are a sociable breed and providing there are enough ducks to go around, drakes will happily cohabit in the same flock. Weighing only 4lbs they do not consume as much food as larger laying ducks and are considerably skilled foragers who, given a large enough range, will seek out all manner of tit-bits.

They come in a wide variety of colours too, from the original Mallard colouring, through blacks, whites and fawns to more exotic colours such as chocolate and lavender.

They are relatively easy to incubate but do grow at a significantly faster rate than chicks. The below sequence of pictures shows the same flock as they grow.

Indian Runner ducks at 1 day old



One of the flock at 2 weeks old


The flock at 4 weeks of age


Now at 8 weeks of age


The flock at 14 weeks old


Sexing the ducks on sight at this age is not simple for the untrained eye as the distinctive tail curl of the males is not yet present. Its far easier to sex on sound. The ducks “Quack”, the drakes making a rasping noise.

Fantastic birds to keep & work with, so if you have space and fancy a few ducks then they don’t come much easier or productive than the Indian Runner.

4 Replies to “Chicken Nugget – The Indian Runner Duck (….ok, so its not a chicken)”

  1. I have 3 female runners who are lovely pets. Fully grown now as they are 10 months old and living with khakis and teal. Why are they not laying when I give them layers pellets each day and access to my garden?

    1. Its possible they are laying, just not where you are looking and under a shrub somewhere. The other possibility is that their diet needs changing and they need to be put on a duck pellet instead. Are they ‘quacking’ at all?

  2. I have had Indian runners in the past and have been sold males when I asked for females. I am looking for some chicks now but I’m having trouble finding a decent breeder. I live in the Kent area if anyone can recommend someone I would be grateful.

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