Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Swan nesting station
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 4 December 2015
In Response To: Swan nesting station (Tom)

Hi Tom

The swans will probably not use such a man made structure. The best thing you can do for them is to add a few more bushes. They will use that much more, not only for shelter, shade, but also nesting. If you can plant a small hedge --bushes, then you not only supply ample shade , but an area that you can fence during nesting. You would use the hedge in a U-shaped configuration. 2 bushes on the left side, 2 on the right and 2 on the back with the pond serving as the front of the hedge.

You could easily fence the perimeter of the hedge approximately 2 feet from the hedge, using a 6 foot fence which would keep out people during nesting. You would also want to to set the fence (bottom rails) on top of poultry fencing so that predators cannot dig under the fence to access the nest. You would also place straw, (not hay because hay stays wet and can cause a mold to form in the nest and sicken the swans, especially the cygnet). Place the straw in the middle of the hedge when you start seeing the swans beginning to mate in the spring.

The hedge needs to be in place as soon as possible so they get used to the hedge. If you plant any trees, make sure they are not near the hedge as predators could use the tree to access the nesting area.

Ramps have to be used with extreme caution because they are slippery and can be too steep to be used by the cygnets. Cygnets and the adults can slip or fall from the ramp which can cause leg and foot injuries that could be fatal for the birds. If a leg or foot injury prevents waterfowl from being able to walk, enter or exit water, it results in a critical condition that they may never recover. Additionally, pond edges, especially around the hedge/nesting area must be a zero entrance so that the cygnets can easily climb in and out of the water to not only prevent injury, but also drowning. The substrate around the habitat should be free from rocky or abrasive surfaces such as concrete, gravel etc., because the swans can get a condition on their feet known as bumble foot caused by a staph infection.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have more questions. Additionally, we have a book listed on this website as well as that may help you with the swan habitat as it explains exactly what is needed to provide a safe and healthy habitat for the swans. We know the swans will provide you and your residents many years of joy. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Swan nesting station -- Tom -- 4 December 2015
Re: Swan nesting station -- The Regal Swan -- 4 December 2015