Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 4 January 2014
Is there some way that you can break the ice so that the swans can have water access? You will need to break a hole approximately 12-15 feet in circumference and hope that the birds will access it. If the birds cannot fly from the ice and are trapped, they can drown if they fall into the water and cannot get back out, they can freeze as the water will be warmer than the ice itself and can die from predators which will be able to walk across the ice to attack the birds. They also need water to drink.
Are your temperatures going to be warmer in the next few days? If there is severe winter winds and snow, the birds will not be able to fly. But, if the weather improves and they can take off, they will probably leave the area.
If you are going to feed the swans, they need to be fed in water approximately 3 feet from the bank. Lettuce, cracked corn and poultry layer pellets will help sustain the birds. Bread is of no nutritional value.
If the swans come onto the bank and stay during the night, predators can grab them which is why they need to be in water for protection. Also, they need water to feed or they can choke which is another reason that a break in the ice would be beneficial. We hope that this information is of benefit. The Regal Swan