How to Keep Runner Ducks?
Runner ducks are known for their high egg production and unique appearance. Raising runner ducks combines the advantages of keeping ducks and the thrilling experience of watching penguin-like ducks foraging around your yard.
Runner ducks require minimal maintenance, and they are also hardy. These ducks can tolerate different weather conditions.
Raising these ducks can be a valuable hobby, thanks to their incredible egg production and active foraging lifestyle.
Tips for Raising Runner Ducks
Raising runner ducks can be a rewarding hobby for every duck keeper, whether you are a seasoned or beginner duck raiser.
Like raising any duck breed, there are some things you should understand when raising runner ducks.
These tips for raising runner ducks will help you raise a thriving flock in your homestead.
Housing and Environment
Runner ducks are some of the most incredible social birds. They prefer living in groups and can do well in confinement, although they sometimes like stretching their wings and legs outside the cage.
The ideal coop for your runner ducks should provide around 4 to 6 square feet of coop space for every duck in your flock. Such ample coop space suits runner ducks because they have more enormous wingspans, requiring more space to waddle and flap. There are only a few special housing conditions for these ducks.
A dry and clean coop will help make these active ducks happy and healthy. Runner ducks are active waterfowl and like having access to water. That’s why wild runner ducks inhabit rivers, ponds, lakes, marshes, and wetlands.
Having a pond on your lawn is best to ensure these attractive ducks have somewhere to swim and cool themselves off during hot weather.
Diet and Nutrition
Runner ducks don’t have special dietary and nutritional requirements. Because these ducks are omnivores, they can consume various foods, including insects, worms, and slugs in your lawn.
Their diet also includes grass and plant material. Runner ducks are avid foragers, and they get the bulk of their diet through foraging in spacious free-ranging areas and ponds. Their favorite foods include snails, slugs, mosquitos, small fish, small reptiles, and greens.
Providing your runner ducks with various foods is good if you raise these birds in confinement. Egg-laying runner ducks require loads of protein to keep their reproductive systems active.
Therefore, a protein-rich layer feed is crucial for your runner duck hens. Furthermore, ensure your ducks have calcium supplements because this mineral help boost egg yield and also helps the ducks grow strong bones.
You can introduce some happy treats to your runner ducks to keep them happy. For instance, you can let the ducks snack on kitchen scraps, although spicy leftovers aren’t suitable for these birds.
Furthermore, you can get some mealworms for your runner ducks. These ducks love mealworms, which are also a rich source of protein for these birds. Runner ducklings should consume a nutritious starter feed since they aren’t mature enough to consume tough foods, unlike adult runner ducks.
Runner ducks should consume fruits and vegetables to supplement commercial duck feed. Zucchini, leafy greens, vegetable peels, and non-citrus fruits suit these birds.
Health and Care
Runner ducks are extremely hardy dual-purpose birds. Besides their egg-laying prowess, these ducks are easy to care for.
Furthermore, they can survive in almost all weather conditions. Most importantly, runner ducks are resistant to many duck diseases. While these ducks aren’t prone to diseases, unlike other breeds, your runner ducks may occasionally catch some diseases, especially ducklings.
For instance, runner ducks are prone to duck plague, a highly contagious and fatal disease usually affecting ducklings. Free-range runner ducks can be susceptible to Avian cholera and duck virus hepatitis due to interacting with wild birds.
So it helps to vaccinate your runner ducks against common duck diseases to ensure your flock remains healthy. Furthermore, ensure your runner ducks live in clean conditions because dirt can make your ducks vulnerable to diseases and external parasites.
Clean their coop regularly and discard the smelly droppings. Furthermore, ensure the ducks have comfortable bedding inside the coop.
Unlike chickens, runner ducks aren’t perching birds, so good bedding can help keep the birds comfortable.
Behavior and Socialization
Runner ducks are pretty docile and friendly birds. These ducks are skittish than other duck breeds, so they are easy to scare. Notwithstanding their timid nature, runner ducks are wonderfully social and easy to tame.
These birds feel comfortable and safe around their owners. They live in tight groups, and you rarely see a lone runner duck foraging in the fields.
Runner ducks are independent foragers who spend time in groups foraging for bugs and insects.
Breeding and Raising Runner Ducks
Runner ducks are great ducks for beginner duck raisers. Anyone can raise these ducks, provided they accord them good care.
Runner duck breeding is becoming popular today thanks to the many benefits like low replacement cost, less space requirement, less feeding, and more egg production. When breeding runner ducks, incubating eggs is a more viable option because runner hens rarely go broody.
Therefore, getting those cute ducklings from your runner hens can take several seasons. Furthermore, hens will only sit on a couple of eggs once they go broody, so you shouldn’t expect to get many ducklings from your hens.
Incubating eggs can also guarantee more successful hatching if you look forward to expanding your duck flock.
Benefits of Keeping Runner Ducks
Runner ducks are becoming a common sight in many homesteads today. These penguin-like ducks are some of the friendliest dual-purpose birds anyone can raise. They are hardy, attractive, and easy to care for.
There are multiple benefits of raising these ducks. Kindly check these benefits of raising runner ducks in your homestead.
Like other duck breeds, runner ducks have a voracious appetite for grubs and bugs, making the birds a great natural option for pest control in your garden. Your runner ducks will be handy in helping rid your lawn of those nasty pests.
They will run their beaks into the soil, searching for pests and insects. Many duck raisers attest to the benefit of having runner ducks to reduce the pest population around their properties.
Unlike chickens, runner ducks are great for pest control because they hunt for bugs without scratching the soil. Your runner ducks won’t leave behind holes and scratches on your lawn as they hunt for grubs and bugs.
A large flock of runner ducks is an excellent way to eliminate pests in your garden.
Eggs and Meat
Most people keep runner ducks in their yards because of eggs and meat. As great dual-purpose birds, runner ducks are great birds to raise for meat and eggs.
Their eggs taste much better than chicken eggs. Runner ducks’ eggs are also healthier than chicken eggs. These eggs have higher mineral and vitamin content per gram, depending on your runner ducks’ diet.
Runner ducks are also excellent layers compared to other duck breeds. Runners lay up to 200 eggs yearly, although some runner duck subspecies can produce as many as 300 eggs annually.
Their eggs contain more omega-3 fatty than other duck eggs. Because runner ducks are weather hardy, these birds can continue laying in winter.
Runner ducks are also outstanding meat producers. The meat from these ducks tastes excellent. Although it has a higher fat ratio than other poultry meat, the fat is flavorful and less creamy.
Anyone who wants wonderfully tasting meat should consider raising runner ducks on their homesteads. Moreover, the meat from runner ducks has plenty of protein, which keeps you healthy by repairing and building your muscles.
The meat is a plentiful iron source, vital for the blood-making process. Runner ducks are also fast-growing birds, and you can slaughter these ducks a couple of months after raising them from ducklings.
Runner ducks are low-maintenance birds and some of the most affordable birds to raise, especially when keeping free-range runner ducks.
These ducks are avid foragers and will eat anything that comes their way, so you will only have to spend a little on commercial duck feed. Being omnivores like other ducks, runner ducks can consume anything provided it isn’t harmful or toxic.
These ducks also don’t have special needs. You don’t require a fancy coop to raise these birds.
A spacious and clean coop is all you require to raise the ducks. Most importantly, runner ducks are pretty hardy, so you won’t need costly medications to keep diseases at bay while raising runner ducks.
Drawbacks of Keeping Runner Ducks
While raising runner ducks can be rewarding and fun, they are drawbacks to keeping them. These are some of the shortcomings of raising runner ducks in your homestead.
They are Noisy
This is the biggest drawback of raising runner ducks. These ducks can be too noisy for some people. They also tend to be noisy at night, especially when they sense danger.
Runner ducks aren’t the best breed for people living in serene areas or urban neighborhoods.
Those raising large flocks of runner ducks complain about how noisy the birds can be, especially when something scares them.
Require Larger Space
Runner ducks aren’t ideal for duck raisers with limited space. That’s why those who raise these ducks live in rural homesteads where they can provide their flocks with large spaces to roam.
You will also require a lot of space when keeping runner ducks indoors. Runner ducks are active and can’t thrive in confined spaces.
They prefer to roam around open fields and large areas where they can get plenty of grubs, bugs, and green grasses. Furthermore, runner ducks don’t thrive in confinement, so they aren’t great ducks to raise in urban areas.
Require Access to Water
Runner ducks are avid waterfowls that require access to water throughout. That’s why wild runner ducks inhabit areas close to water bodies.
These graceful swimmers won’t thrive without water access, so you must invest in a water pond while raising these ducks.
Runner ducks are some of the friendliest and most attractive dual-purpose ducks. While they may be noisy, these ducks are easygoing and complement every homestead. They have great eggs and meat.
Furthermore, runner ducks can be great birds for rural dwellers with large spaces.
Runner ducks are also easy to raise, for they have minimal requirements, unlike other poultry.