I bought my first ducks at the local feed store on Good Friday 1999. Since I had never had any kind of ducks before,
I got a variety to fill the minimum purchase requirement.
Three Khaki Campbells, two Welsh and one classic white Pekin.
Or so I thought.
My "Pekin" became my first runner.
What a wonderful surprise she turned out to be.
|Whitey with her first babies. Dad was a Khaki Campbell.
She had the most curious way of looking at the humans who were speaking to her. And she always stood head and shoulders
above the rest. When she started getting chestnut brown feathers, I suspected something was odd about my Pekin.
I went to the library to see what I could find about juvenile feather color versus adult feather color and discovered what
I really had.
She was a fawn and white runner.
I had never heard of such a thing.
What a weird duck!
I was hooked!!
|Whitey and her first babies. Here you can clearly see her tiny ankle feathers.
Whitey was a special duck in many ways. She had a dozen tiny feathers on the outside of each ankle. She was
a reliable egg machine. We discovered she loved tomatoes and would coming running from the
far corners of her yard at the sight of her treat tray and the sound of us quacking. Most of all, she was a wonderful
mother. Nothing could deter her from her brooding duties. Not even a bulldozer working all day, sometimes within
20 feet of her nest. Whitey even attempted to care for her daughter's babies when she abandoned them. They had
shared their two nests and all hatched at the same time. She was one smart duck. She knew we meant her no harm
and was always calm and easy to catch.
What's the Point?
The reasons I designed this site are to help others see what runner
ducks look like up close and to share my experiences with these entertaining ducks. As such, I have used the best
quality pictures available in order to show the most detail. Generally the pictures load as fast as the narrative reading
time, but sometimes it might take a little longer.
I didn't want to sacrifice quality for speed and I trust you will find it worth
I will be adding pictures and pages as my duck flock grows.
A quick note about navigating on this site. My original site has out grown
the free space alotted to me by Earthlink. So I am building more on an auxiliary site. All the pages are on the
navigation bar below. The ones in BOLD will come up in a new browser window so you won't have any trouble continuing
on the parent site. But you will need to turn off your pop up blocker to let the new window open.
A word of caution about parts of this
site incase you don't look on ducks as edible pets.
I feel I should let you know a bit about my outlook on keeping ducks.
When I first purchased those 6 ducklings from the feedstore, I knew I could only keep
3 as adults with the space and housing I had at the time. I had no idea that anyone would buy adult ducks ( that seems so
silly now). But because of that, I assumed I would have to eat the extras. Which is what I did. I even ate a Khaki Campbell
hen. What a foolish thing to do! But because I got into this hobby partially as a food source, that prepared me for the responsible
management of the drake to hen ratio and what to do with deformed or injured birds. I once read that runners are not a beginners
breed. Since I had only had Whitey and a few other production quality runners at the time, I thought that was a ridiculous
statement. But having had some show quality runners and their offspring, I would have to agree with that now. The more highly
bred (closely bred, line-bred, in-bred or whatever you want to call it) the more likely your chances of having to deal with
genetic deformities. So I am in the process of completely redoing this site to include that side of my experiences with runners.
No, I won’t be including a step-by-step guide on how to cull and cook your birds. But I did take pictures of the deformed
ones I got this year. If you are going to pursue show quality, you need to go into it with your eyes open. Even world-renowned
breeders can still produce genetically deformed birds. They may be otherwise healthy and active, but they don’t belong
back in the gene-pool. By the same token, it is that same close breeding that has produced some truly stunning birds. Some
of which I have had the pleasure of owning. In addition to the genetic defects that may require culling, I also can’t
see spending a fortune on sick or injured birds. That is not to say that I won't some day since I have several that are cherished
family members. But by and large, I try to keep things in financial perspective. Those that have not distinguished themselves
in some way and are injured beyond repair, but otherwise healthy, are eaten so as not to waste them. Some have been just too
much a part of the family to even consider that and were given a proper burial. More on those things in the pages I’m
building in the coming months.
One last thing on the culling subject. Whether the bird has a permanent pardon or is
destined for the dinner table, I treat them all alike. I do my best to provide a clean, safe and entertaining environment.
These are highly active birds with a lot of personality and curiousity. They form bonds with each other and get upset when
they are separated but still within earshot. So while most sources will tell you to pen up cull birds overnight without food,
I don’t. I leave them with their buddies until the moment I am ready to “do the deed”. So while I may eat
some of my birds, they are allowed to live as happy a life as possible until that time comes. As innocent animals, they deserve
nothing less. If I could keep and raise ducks without eating them, I would. Culling is a project I really DON’T enjoy.
If nature would provide 3 to 5 hens per drake and all were genetically sound, I would be ecstatic!
Thanks for visiting. Hope you enjoy it.
Or, atleast, find it informative.