Tall, slender, racy and elegant are some of the words that could be used to describe the Indian Runner duck.
The Runner, as they are better known, are a most unusual breed that run rather than waddle as most other ducks do. With their upright stance, it’s a case of once seen, never forgotten.
I have had a long association with the breed. As a child my uncle obtained a dozen ducklings which were these very unusual looking Indian Runner ducks.
Unfortunately, the first batch contained 11 drakes and just one duck and this turned out to be a Fawn Indian Runner.
This was the 1970s and, try as I might, I struggled to get a matching drake.
I was put in touch with a duck breeder from Dundrum in County Down who had a drake but was looking £9. This was definitely beyond my means.
Thankfully, a family friend came to the rescue and a Fawn Drake joined the duck and within a short time I had a small flock of them.
Over the years the most popular colour has been the white feathered variety and, with so many colours of Indian Runner ducks now available, the Fawn has been maintained by just a handful of dedicated keepers here.
When exhibited, the Fawn variety has excelled on the show bench. On the vast majority of occasions either a White or Fawn Runner wins the Best of Breed competition and regularly secures one of the top accolades of the show.
A number of local waterfowl exhibitors have enjoyed success with this breed.
Ginny McKee, from Ballymena, had great success with her Fawns, winning Best of Breed and Champion Waterfowl time after time, particularly with one exceptional duck that shone above the rest of the Fawns.
I was overjoyed to have one of my Fawn ducks placed second against Ginny’s birds at a show, such was the standard of her ducks.
Since then a number of waterfowl keepers have enjoyed show success with their Fawn Runners.