Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Swans safe from predators on a pound without fencing?
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 24 December 2013

Hi Rebekah:

If the birds stay on the bank, especially at dark (sunset, sunrise or nighttime), they are very susceptible to predators as predators are nocturnal and hunt at night. Waterfowl do spend their time at night in the water, however, if they come out of the water to dry out, feed (if you place a feeder or food near the bank) or just rest, then, a predator can kill them.

If you place a fence around the pond, it will have to be high enough that a predator cannot climb over the fence or dig under the fence. If you have foxes or coyotes, they can access the fencing by digging. If you have bobcats or panthers, they can not only dig under the fence, but they can climb and leap over the fence, so the fence would need to be relatively higher than 10 feet unless it was an area that you could enclose the top of the fence over the pond area.

If they are legal in your area, you might try a fence, on the outside of the fence (AWAY FROM THE POND AND SWANS), you might try a couple strands of electric fencing (one strand approximately 3 feet from the fence and another strand approximately 6 feet. That way, if a predator circumvents the first strand, it still would encounter the second strand. Again, you will need to check with your local officials to see if the electric fence is legal in your area.

Also, on the perimeter of the fence, you might install motion lights so that if a predator is in the area, the swans will be alerted and move into the water. The problem with relying solely on the motion lights is that if the swans get too use to the lights tripping, they may not move away and the lights might alert a predator that swans and ducks are in the area.

The only guaranteed way of protecting the birds is to bring them indoors at night. They can be trained to come in approximately 2 hours before sunset and released back onto the pond 2 hours after sunrise. Usually, the birds will immediately go into the water after being released and should stay there for a couple of hours even if the predator is in the area. But again, your time of day in releasing onto the pond and bringing the birds indoors should be significantly altered so that the predator does not learn a pattern and set-up shop prior to your marching them in or out.

The indoor shelter must allow for some ventilation (no open drafts and too cold), provide water and food, protected against pests such as rats and ants accessing the food, cleaned regularly and safe from a predator crawling or digging into the shelter. The flooring of the shelter must be free from slippery surfaces so not to hurt the bird's legs or feet. Straw (mucked regularly) will suffice. We hope that this information is of benefit to you. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Swans safe from predators on a pound without fencing? -- Rebekah -- 24 December 2013
Re: Swans safe from predators on a pound without fencing? -- The Regal Swan -- 24 December 2013