Indian Runner Ducks Easy Care Guide

The body shape of Indian Runner ducks is among the most unique in the duck family.

The members of this breed more closely resemble penguins or feathered bowling pins than they do domesticated or wild ducks. Contrary to popular belief, however, they are capable of much faster speeds than penguins and do not waddle when running.

Upon their initial introduction to the United States, Indian Runner ducks were commonly referred to as “Penguin Ducks.” These ducks are bred almost solely for their eggs and not for consumption as meat. The Indian Runner Duck, like other types of domesticated ducks, is unable to fly.

Interestingly, when raised in captivity, these ducks can live for as long as 12 years. Indian Runner ducks have a short lifespan in the wild, averaging only two years.

You may also want to read about the best duck food.


In profile, an Indian Runner duck looks like a cylinder. Its legs are set much further back on its body than those of any other species of duck. These ducks are able to run, as opposed to just waddle, due to their body structure and leg placement.

Indian Runner ducks have skulls that are shaped like a wedge. Their beaks are needle-like straight, and their eyes sit high on their heads.

Indian Runner ducks have shorter, more compact tails than many other types of domestic ducks. From their tails to their heads, Indian Runners are usually between 20 and 26 inches in length.

The average weight of a full-grown drake (a male) is 3.5 to 5 pounds. It is common for adult female Indian Runner ducks to weigh in at around four pounds.

There is no other type of domesticated duck that has as many color options as this breed. Chocolate, black, white, blue, light brown, dark brown, and a brownish green are the most common colors seen in Indian Runner ducks.

Indian Runner Duck

Egg production of Indian Runner Duck

On average, hens of this breed will produce 300-350 eggs per year. Indian Runner duck hens can lay eggs in a variety of pastel blue and white tones. The large eggs that these duck hens produce typically weigh between 2.8 and 3 ounces.

After four or five years of regular laying, a hen may see a decline in egg production but not necessarily in egg quality. Provide the with a good layer food.

Unlike most other duck species, Indian Runners don’t long for rain or water when they’re trying to have babies. Because drakes often mount hens in ponds in a rough, nearly drowning fashion, this can be a huge benefit to the hens.

Hens of the Indian Runner duck breed almost never start nesting. This species of duck is unusual in that it will construct a nest and then use it to lay eggs. However, once the ducklings have hatched, they need to be quickly gathered up and placed in a brooder if you want them to survive. Very few hens of this breed show any signs of maternal instinct, and they consider their job finished as soon as the ducklings emerge from their eggs.

Indian Runner Duck for you?

Initially, Indian Runner ducks can be shy or anxious, but once they’ve established trust in their caretakers and are no longer threatened by their surroundings, they can become friendly.

You can lessen the likelihood of this reaction by handling the ducklings frequently after they hatch.

Be wary, though; due to their exuberant and easily frightened natures, ducklings of this breed have been known to leap from the incubator the moment the lid is lifted.

Indian Runner ducks may not be as hyper or vocal as guinea fowl, but they do have a heightened panic response and have been known to leap over three-foot barriers in order to escape a loud noise or perceived or actual danger.

Ducks that have just escaped a confined area will quickly flee from anything that doesn’t look like a duck.

When allowed to roam freely, Indian Runner ducks are among the most entertaining duck species to observe.

They will play in the water and run around like idiots for hours on end, only to be forced to return to foraging when their stomachs start to rumble.

About the Author
The Poultry Feed Team

The Poultry Feed Team

I am Ehsan from The Poultry Feed Team. We all started out as poultry novices ourselves, so we know just how confusing it can be to try and figure everything out on your own. That's why we're here! We want to help you become the best caretaker of these lovely feathered animals.