Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 21 March 2014
Yes, you can use a dog café. Remove the bottom of the café since this is where you would put water under the dog feeder for a dog. Secure the dog feeder on a 7 foot fence pole (5 1/2 inch diameter) that is driven into the water 3 feet from the bank (to prevent ants and other pests such as rats, raccoons). The pole should be driven into the water approximately 2 feet so that 5 feet is above the water. You may have to adjust the feeder depending on the height of the water. You want the bottom of the feeder to sit approximately 3-5 inches above the water. Secure the feeder on the pole using 2 u-bolts (you will need to drill four holes on the back of the feeder). There is a photo of this type of feeder on a previous post. If you cannot find it, go to our website (www.theregalswan.com) as we have a photo on the website or you can google, swan feeder The Regal Swan.
Place a mixture of cracked corn and poultry layer pellets in the feeder. Make sure that the swans are near you when you place the food in the top of the feeder. Show them the trap door and scoop food out of the feeder to the swans. Keep the trap door slightly ajar so that they can see the food in the feeder. You will need to teach the swans how to use the feeder, but they will eventually catch on.
The cracked corn and poultry layer pellet WILL NOT FLOAT which will still provide the required nutrients, but will not stay on the water to attract and keep the geese in the area. The swans' long necks will be able to get under the water and access the food and they will self feed. Also, the feeders will need to be checked weekly and cleaned if necessary. If the food becomes wet in the feeder, it can form a mold which can make the swans sick.
This readily accessible self feeding may help alleviate the problem of chasing the other swans from the area as there will be no need for completion in feeding. You may need to place two feeders on opposite sides of the pond which will further facilitate harmony. The young birds may be males (you need to have the swans sexed-probing is not that accurate, especially if these are young birds, so you may need to have a feather sample submitted for DNA Sequencing-much more accurate test and can be conducted easily by an experienced veterinarian). This sexing is important to understand the dynamics of the pond. If you have two males and two females, you will obviously have the potential of increasing your swan numbers which may not be conducive to you habitat. If there are 3 males and one female, one male will take the mother as a mate and the other 2 males will bond and go about their business. They will mate, nest, but obviously no eggs produced.
Finally, most of the chasing and nipping is normal behavior at this time of the year because the testosterone levels are at their height during mating/nesting season. These hormone levels will eventually subside and everything will usually go back to normal. However, if there is extensive aggression to one or more swans, they can seriously get hurt and chasing each other from the pond into areas that vehicles, domestic or wild animals can attack the birds is not conducive to the health of the swans. If the behavior does not settle down, then you will need to find a good home for the two additional swans. Should you need help finding a good home, please contact us. The Regal Swan
Messages In This Thread
- 4 swans co-existing + Feeding station that can be installed on the edge of the water -- Laura -- 20 March 2014
- Re: 4 swans co-existing + Feeding station that can be installed on the edge of the water -- The Regal Swan -- 21 March 2014