Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Indian Runner Duck

I did my yearly venture to the Wisconsin State Fair this past weekend, and through the masses of Beef Cattle, Dairy Goats, and Pigs, I stumbled upon an unusual breed of Duck that I hadn’t encountered before- Indian Runner Ducks! (Unfortunately they were roped off while I was there and could not get any good pictures. Alas.)
Indian Runner Ducks

These strange looking birds resemble bowling pins more than regular ducks. They stand upright, like Penguins do, and they conveniently were once referred to as “Penguin Ducks!” They are a hardy, but high-strung breed, and are excellent foragers.

The name “Indian Runner Duck” is a bit confusing, as there is no evidence that these birds actually came from India itself. Rather, it is believed that they originated in the East Indies, on the islands of Bali, Java, and Lombok. “Penguin Ducks” were brought to England by the 1830’s, and may have been in the Netherlands even earlier, due to the trade conducted by the Dutch East India Company.

The first standards for the breed were developed at the turn of the 20th century, and have been changed and added to over the years. There are now nearly a dozen recognized color varieties, including Silver, Trout, Fawn & White, and Apricot. They are notable not only for their uprights posture and running movement style, but also because they are amazing egg layers. A single Duck can lay 200 eggs per year!

Status : Domesticated
Location : Originated in the East Indies
Size : Diameter up to 20in (50cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class: Aves -- Order : Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae -- Genus: Anas -- Species: A. platyrhynchos -- Subspecies: A. p. domestica

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