Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Winter Shelter for Mute Swans (Missouri)
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 10 December 2014
In Response To: Winter Shelter for Mute Swans (Missouri) (Elizabeth)

Hi Elizabeth

As long as you keep a large section of the pond unfrozen, they should be fine. Swans will not willfully use any lean-to or over hang type shelter. If your pond has an island, you can place straw on the island and the swans may use the straw for warmth.

Whatever you do, you do not want to entice the swans to come out of the water along the perimeter banks as predators will attack them. This is also one of the reasons for keeping a large section of the pond unfrozen so that predators cannot walk onto the ice, the swans drown or have no food.

If your weather turns extremely severe, you can bring the swan indoors into a shed, garage or barn as long as the structure cannot be accessed by predators digging under or crawling in/over to access the swans. You can place straw or other non slick flooring down for the swans. Maintain fresh water with food submerged in the water bowl. Keep it clean so that ants, mice and other pests do not invade the swan structure. You may actually get the swans to go into the structure if you train them. If they are stubborn, you will have to capture them.

The indoor structure should be well ventilated, but no open drafts and free from gas, chemical or other toxins.

Lastly, if you keep the swans indoors, they do not have to be in water. You can mist the swans with warm water once a day to promote their cleaning and oiling of their feathers. Once you know when you will be releasing them back onto the pond, you will need to drench the swans in warm water for a couple days prior to their release. It is extremely important that they preen the water from their feathers and re oil them or the swans could actually sink and drown from lack of water repellency. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Winter Shelter for Mute Swans (Missouri) -- Elizabeth -- 9 December 2014
Re: Winter Shelter for Mute Swans (Missouri) -- The Regal Swan -- 10 December 2014