Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Winter care for mute swans
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 21 January 2016
In Response To: Winter care for mute swans (Karen)

Hi Karen:

If these are wild swans and can fly, they will not use a man-made shelter. Had they been captive, they could have been trained to come in at night. The only thing that you can do to help them is to install an aerator/de-icer. This will ensure that the pond stays unfrozen and inaccessible to predators that might walk across the ice and attack the swans. Frozen ponds will cause drowning, predator attack, dehydration and starvation. So, the only thing that can be done in this particular scenario is to use an aerator/de-icer to maintain full-time open water supply.

Should they become stuck on the ice, you may need to intervene, but this is extremely dangerous as you do not want to fall in if the ice breaks. Hopefully, if the weather begins to turn, they will know to migrate farther south or at least into another area with more open water during the inclement weather. The last thing you want to do is feed these swans to keep them in the area. Now, having said this, if the weather turns so drastically and they do not have food and they are not leaving, then they may need supplemental food (1/2 cracked corn and 1/2 poultry layer pellet). Do not place the food on the bank or directly on the ice. You will need to throw the ice into the open water so that predators and pests are not attracted to the swans and can attack them. Lettuce can also be provided to supplement their vegetative needs which are scarce during the winter months. You will need to ensure that it is not illegal for you to help out wildlife prior to feeding them. We hope that this information is of benefit. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Winter care for mute swans -- Karen -- 20 January 2016
Re: Winter care for mute swans -- The Regal Swan -- 21 January 2016