Friday, May 4, 2012

He’s an Odd Duck

Don’t tell anybody, but he is rapidly becoming my favorite. Not everyone likes Mr. Duck at Conner Prairie, but as you know I’ve always been one to root for the underdog. He seems to like me in return and is willing to sit in my lap or arms for hours while being petted and otherwise inspected by curious guests.

duck

He is an Indian Runner Duck. A rare breed that was imported from India and Malaya into Brittan in the 1830s. They were referred to as Penguin Ducks because of their upright stance. Like penguins, the Indian Runner cannot fly, nor do they waddle, instead their leg position allows them to run at a remarkable pace.   Historically the ducks were trained to stay near a herder with a bamboo pole. They were driven out to forage rice paddies during the day, then back to a bamboo hut at night to lay their eggs. Centuries of this type of arrangement produced a breed that were good walkers, excellent foragers and prolific layers.

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Ancient stone carvings suggest that this breed of duck has been domesticated for over 2000 years. They are raised not for meat, but for their egg laying ability; a hen can lay over 180 eggs per year.

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The breed standard has a wide variety of colors, hens often sport different markings than drakes. Mr. Duck’s color is called fawn & white. Unprotected they generally live 5-10 years, in captivity even longer.  I sure hope he lives that long, I think he’s pretty cool.

16 comments:

Diannia said...

He's very handsome. I think he needs some girlfriends!

Karen said...

He's beautiful ! Thanks Christine for the great information -- I've never seen one.

Karen

Florida Farm Girl said...

Hey, I learned something today! Is he the only one of his kind at the Prairie? He needs some company, me thinks.

Christine said...

He is the only one of his kind, but he lives with the chickens.

I'm gonna tell Mom! said...

Now I want a duck.

Tombstone Livestock said...

A lot of Border Collie trainers will use Indian Runner Ducks for starting young dogs. They are fun to watch when they are in a group, they will bunch up and run around like they are velcro'd together. Look like a bunch of bowling pins.

Kelly said...

He is a pretty cool duck. I love his color. We can't have ducks. Labs and ducks don't mix well.

Elaine said...

He is such a handsome boy!! I love it that he's a real pet, too. What a treasure.

Jocelyn said...

Love, love Runners. We have a few here, and they are the most personable of all the different types of ducks. Not to mention that they are hilarious to watch walk around. Little bowling pins with beaks, that's what they look like.

Diane Cayton-Hakey said...

HA! What a funny looking breed of duck! It would be hard to waddle though with that slim and trim build.

Michelle said...

I've always liked the looks of runner ducks, but never knew much about them. Thanks for the information!

Nancy K. said...

I think Mr. Runner needs a Mrs.! It would be cool to offer the guests an ocassional treat made with DUCK EGGS!

You're really good at your job, aren't you?

;-)

Karen Anne said...

How can anyone not like Mr. Duck?

I too think he needs a Mrs. Duck.

Jayne said...

I've never seen an Indian Runner duck before. He's quite the handsome fellow.

Becky Caudill said...

What a beautiful animal!

The Mama said...

This duck was always my kids favorite. We have many pictures of Mr. Duck from our visits. Since I am making my way backwards through your blog, I know he has since found a new home. My kiddos will be very sad to hear it. Just thinking of him makes me chuckle.