INDIAN RUNNER DUCK COLOURS
Fawn Runners, plus Fawn-and-White, were the original colours
imported into the UK. Since then the Runners have branched out into
White, Black, Chocolate, Cumberland
Blue, Mallard, Trout
and White. More recently produced are the Apricot and Blue Duskies,
Silver ('Streicher') and Apricot Trout (Blaugelb in Germany,
Crossed with other types of ducks, the Runner produced nearly all the Light Duck breeds (such as the Campbell and the Abacot Ranger) which have a lower carriage than the true Runner. There are now many standard colours of Runner in the UK, and several more in Australia and Germany.
|Fawn& white Runners|
When did the birds reach Europe?
It is possible that the Dutch ‘found’ the Runner in Indonesia and brought live specimens to Europe. Just before the end of the sixteenth century the Dutch entered, and for a time dominated, the race to control maritime trade to the legendary 'Spice Islands' of the East Indies.
For centuries middlemen from the Far East had controlled the trade in nutmeg, mace, cloves, pepper and cinnamon. The Europeans wanted to go straight to the source, the Moluccas, northeast of Bali, and the initial
race was won by the Portuguese. In 1511 they reached these Spice Islands and brought a full cargo back to Europe.
The Dutch sought influence in the area too. Cornelis de Houtman was sent by Amsterdam merchants to Lisbon to discover as much information on Portuguese routes to the Spice Islands as he could. The Dutch also benefitted from the knowledge of Jan Huygen van Linschoten with his years of experience with the Portuguese.
In 1594 Dutch merchants founded the 'compagnie van Verre' (long-distance company/ far distant lands company), and in 1595 four ships left Amsterdam and reached Banten (Bantam), a north-western port in Java. They then went on to Bali and returned in 1597. The first expedition was not a commercial success, returning with just enough pepper to cover their costs (Dutch Ships in Tropical Waters: Parthesius). Nevertheless, subsequent trade was very profitable and led to the Dutch founding the United East India Company (VOC) in 1602 . Later the Dutch built the walled fortress of Batavia – now Jakarta.
Chickens and ducks are both mentioned as live-stock for consumption and for producing eggs on outward and on homeward VOC voyages. Some of the birds taken on board for egg-producing may have survived the voyage and been brought into the Netherlands. It has also been recounted that salted 'pingouin' ducks were part of the cargo of one of the VOC ships. On occasion, outward bound ships actually picked up marine penguins from the seas off South Africa. These birds saved the crews from starvation on trips in the mid 1600s.
Dutch painters, in the 1600s, depicted crested ducks and pied ducks. These genes may have come from the Far East. Certainly birds bearing a close resemblance to Runners are depicted in seventeenth century Dutch art and suggest their arrival in Europe at this time.