The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Update on the Indian Runner Ducks. Happy on the hill.

free range Indian Runner Ducks“They have settled in so well. I expected a few problems but they are getting on fine.” S poured the tea as the ducks toured the garden in a neat crocodile line outside.

“In fact, Eric(a) loves hanging out with the grown up boys. And she’s extremely bossy with the older female ducks.”
Eric had always hung back and given Freddie and Tipex first dibs on everything. I was delighted that she was finally putting her flat, webbed foot firmly down.

“Look, they are coming up to the wood. I love seeing them waddle past.”
We watched the small line of nodding duck heads pass beneath the kitchen window. They climbed the bank under the oak trees and disappeared into the wild wooded part of the garden. They were chatting with gentle, fuzzy quacks.

I quickly identified ours. Freddie and Tipex were in the middle of the group. Eric towards the back. They looked content, absorbed on their mission. Indian Runner Ducks are busy people.

I don’t miss the stink or the skiddy ˜duck end’ of the run. But the garden is strangely silent without the ducks. They were always so involved when I went down to the run.

Filling the drinking fountains was a huge pleasure. They would shake their heads through the spout of water, loving the sensation and drinking on the fly. When everything was in place, they savoured the cool fresh water with the enthusiasm of camels drinking from a forgotten oasis. Then nuzzle each other and drink again. When I put down a bowl of vegetables, served with water and pinhead oats, there was always an enthusiastic rush of flappy feet.

Now they have a vast paddock and a decent sized garden to enjoy. Their culinary horizons have expanded way beyond the confines of our run. They have access to ˜wild meat’, in the form of countless slugs and snails. In the spring they will graze on the sweetest meadow grass.

No longer the outsiders, they are enjoying life in The Chicken Lady’s small duck community high up on the hill above our village.

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  1. Richard in Kentucky USA

    I have 11 indian runners. Mom is fawn and white. Dad is black. The 9 “kids” are a grayish, blueish color, with black penciling on their feathers. They are beautiful birds.
    My problem, if you can help me, is that Mom has not laid any eggs since she hatched the 11 egges she laid in march of this year.(1 duckling was very undersized and expired, the other somehow ended up with a badly broken leg, and I had to put it dowm).
    Mom and Dad are in a community pen with their offspring. Could this be the problem? Should I separate the parents from the offspring? I am an old hand with chickens, but pretty new at ducks. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you in advance,

  2. “They looked content, absorbed on their mission. Indian Runner Ducks are busy people”.

    Love that comment!

    Have always wanted Runner Ducks but life here in the Aleutians with our Winds, Eagles and Foxes, well – It was hard enough with Chickens all those years ago. So I shall have to be content with periodic updates of the little Runner People in your neighborhood.

    Just found your site while looking for good Apple & Berry Jelly/Jam recipes. We are having a bumper crop of Salmonberry this year – they are akin to raspberries/blackberries.

    I generally use apples when making jelly/jam instead of commercial pectin which now costs an arm and a leg and is full of all kinds of weird stuff. “Back in the day” when a package of Pectin cost $.11 it just had apple pectin in it. Now – well… ook.

    Also, apples don’t overwhelm the delicate Salmonberry flavors. If anyone knows of good sources in the Western US for Organic Apple varieties I’d love to know of them. I’d like to experiment with more different flavors.

    Meanwhile, it has been a cool, dry, mostly overcast summer here on Unalaska Island, but one with high solar gain I guess, because a few days after a light rain saw an astonishing number of the glorious red berries and there are more to come. Hopefully we won’t have a blasting wind storm – the kind that blows the bushes to shreds.

    Our Blueberries are also splendid. Last winter’s high snows seem to have prevented the Ptarmigan from eating all the buds and there are literally TONS of berries everywhere. I pick them for Jelly/Jam and also dry them for winter use in just about everything I cook. Sounds strange I know, to toss dried blueberries in Stir-fry’s for example, but it works.

    The occasional Wild Strawberries, Cloud Berries and Moss Berries are also numerous this year, so my jelly/jam making will be interesting with more combinations of ingredients possible than in quite a while.

    Thanks for being there. I will return often.

  3. So pleased that they have settled in okay and are happy – their new home looks a wonderful exciting place for them.

  4. The Organic Viking

    I just discovered that you emailed me a week or two ago about my blog being down. Thank you for the heads up and sorry I didn’t reply before! Rather stupidly, I don’t actually check the viking_sal email very often since I get most mail to my university account. Looks like i should investigate ‘forwarding!…

    Lovely to hear that the ducks have settled in!

  5. I love the gentle mutterings of hens and ducks as they go about their business and when you remove that the silence is deafening, even if you weren’t particularly aware of it before. The crowing competetion I once heard between neighbouring cockerals was not such a pleasant sound! It is lovely to hear that the ducks have settled in so well and are in such idyllic surroundings. Mrs Boss did such a good job in raising them and they are just up the road for regular visits and updates.

  6. farmingfriends

    It’s good that you can still enjoy the ducks without the mess and the mucking out!!! I am glad that they are happy at their new home.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  7. Awwwww Thanks for the update. Glad they have settled into their new home and it sounds like they are enjoying life. Doesn’t it make you feel proud that you raised such lovely beings.

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