A site dedicated to the proper care and general information of mute swans

Swans Are Vegetarians

November 23rd, 2015 | Posted by LadyNerkle1 in Swans Are Vegetarians - (Comments Off on Swans Are Vegetarians)

 To Provide a Healthy Diet for your Swans you need to Think Vegetables.
80 % of their Natural Diet is Plant Material. 

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                               SWANS ARE VEGETARIANS.

Swans are Vegetarians

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**** You are the BEST Person to ensure your Swans receive a Healthy Diet.
**** When you care for “Captive” Swans they depend on YOU !!!

Swans Are Vegetarians

Giving Swans plenty of variety in their Diet can help reduce
the possibility of Boredom and increases their Happiness
and overall Quality of Life.

Feral Swan on Creek

If Mute Swans were living in the Wild, they would have a Feeding Range of 3-5 Square Miles to find what Foods their Bodies require to be Healthy.

Wild Tundra Swans

Wild Tundra Swans

Wild Tundra and Trumpeter Swans Migrate Hundreds to Thousands of Miles Annually… They will have a wide variety of Plants and Insects to Graze on.

Trumpeter Swans

****** Feeding Swans
Swans living on Natural Fresh Water Rivers/Creeks/Ponds/Lakes will typically eat Pond Weeds, Duckweed, Stonewort and Wigeon Grass, some Algae as well as Tadpoles, Worms, Slugs and a WIDE Variety of Insects.

Swans Eat DuckWeed

DuckWeed is a Great Natural Floating Food..  Feeding Swans
Swans will learn where to find their favorite Underwater Plants.

Swans Grazing on Plants

A Pond with Natural Underwater Plants will be Grazed on ALL Day.
There will be Insects and Underwater Critters that will help provide Natural Protein and Calcium.
Captive Swans
Once we Pinion or Clip to Ground a Swan, they are “Captive” for us to enjoy.
They are Classified in most States as “Captive Exotic Poultry.”  PETs !

Swans are Vegetarians

These Swans depend on us to help them have the Nutrients that their Bodies need to be Healthy.Swans are VegetariansSwans are Vegetarians

*****Older Swan Cob

Healthy Swans may live 20-30+ Years.

The Oldest Know Swan was a Male Mute in England, that lived to 104 Years.

Male Mute Swan

The Grain-Poultry Feed Mixture adds Nutrients that a Pond may not provide.

Food for Swans
With the Pond Plants, Lawn Grass and Poultry Feed Mixture Swans will do nicely.

Golf Course Pond

If Lawns that Surrounding a Pond are Treated with Weed and Insect Control Products and the Chemicals Run/Drain into the Pond they will affect the Natural Pond Environment.  There may be very few Under Water Plants and Few Insects.  This is typical of Golf Courses, Hotel Grounds, College Campuses, Some Public Park Ponds and many Private Lawns.

If you use Lawn Care Service or Treat your Lawn.. Check what is Growing in your Pond.

Pond Spillway

Putting Vegetables, Grains, Grasses into or onto your Pond may cause Obstruction where your Pond Drains.

Floating Lettuce

This Material may collect where you have a Pump Filter.
Start with small amounts, try different areas until you know want works best for your Swans and their Water Environment.
Swans are Vegetarians

If Free Floating Vegetable Cause a Problem at your Spillway..
Put their Vegetables in a Weighted Basket or Handle-less Bucket.Pond Spillway

With the Lush Summer Lawn Grasses to Graze on..
Watch for Under Chin-Tongue Impactions..
Short Cut Grass is a Common Culprit..
Swans are Vegetarians

Swans enjoy the Tender Grass Growth..
If you Only Mow 1/3 of the Grass along the Pond each Week.
Leaving 2 Areas Grow.. Five to Six Feet along the Pond Edges.Swans are Vegetarians
Then the Next Week, Mow a different Area.. (Rotating)
There will be Some Longer Grass Blades for the Swans to Graze on.Swans are Vegetarians

Under Tongue-Chin Impaction

Swans are Vegetarians

Plus the Longer Grasses will have more Insects for them to
Munch on.                             ….. (-; (-: (-; (-:
Swans are Vegetarians**********************************

Feeding Swans in Winter

ADDING Vegetables, especially during Cold Weather Months will add to the Swans’ overall Healthy Diet.  They will enjoy seeing you stop by their Water Environment to Visit, when you have Vegetables for them.

Hand Feeding Swans

*****Hand Feeding Swans

Swans Lettuce

Swan Cygnet Vegetables

I Cut – Shred – Chop – Enough Vegetable Mix for Several Day.Swans are Vegetarians
Swans are Vegetarians
Most Lettuce and Vegetable come from the Western States…
During the Summer Garden Vegetables may come from Outside the USA.
Listen for any Warning or ReCalls for Contaminated Vegetables & Fruit.
Feeding Mute Swans
SWANs LOVE Vegetables…

Swans Love VegetablesSwans are Vegetarians

We have an arrangement with a local Country Club. Their Kitchen saves their Discard Vegetables for us. We stop in once or twice a week.Discard VegetablesThis saves them BIG Bags of Discard Vegetables going to the Landfill.
AND, our Swans EAT very well.. (-;

Vegetables for Swans
      “Thank You” – to the WSCC Kitchen Staff.Swans are Vegetarians

Swan White Bag Effect

If you can make an Arrangement with a Restaurant, Farmers Market Vegetable Vendor, Grocery Store Salad Bar, etc., you will Save Money and You will have Happy Swans.

Waterfowl and Vegetables

Swans are VegetariansSwan VegetablesSwans are Vegetarians
Swans ENJOY assorted Vegetables.Swans are Vegetarians
They do not need Vegetables Everyday.  But are Happy for them.

Swans are Vegetarians


MOLDs May Contain Toxins that will Make your Swans VERY Sick.

Swans Benefit

Vegetables help add Fiber to their Intestinal Tract during the Winter.
Swan Vegetables

Most Swans will Instinctively KNOW Lettuce is GOOD to Eat.

Swans are Vegetarians

When you are preparing a Salad for your Dinner, save the Trimming that you would normally toss..

Cygnet Salad Greens

Vegetables are more Beneficial in the Cold Winter Months when Water Plants and Grasses are Dormant.

Swans are Vegetarians


Remember Swans DO NOT have Teeth.
Chop or Slice Firm Root Vegetables THIN.

SWAN Vegetable
Cut into Small Pieces: Carrots, Radishes, Cucumbers and their Peels.Swan VegetablesSwan Vegetables  I Like to Chop Enough for Several Day.. Bag..Ready to Go. Cygnet Vegetables

The White Cabbage Leaves Sliced into thin Strips..
The Outside Dark Green Cabbage Leaves are too Tough.
Swan Vegetables

The Yellow-Green Leaves of Celery might be eaten.
Some Swans Love Kale & Spinach.

Swan Vegetables
Swans may Eat Steamed Leftovers Vegetables like Corn,
Green Beans, Cabbage, Cauliflower & Broccoli.

Cut Seedless Grapes in Half.      Strawberry Caps.
Some Swans like Watermelon in the Rind
– left close to the Water’s Edge.

Mute Swan Watermelon

Sweet Fruits Fallen from Trees may attack Bees and Hornets…
Swans are Vegetarians
Discard them so Swans will not be Stung !!

Swan Apple Swans LOVE APPLEs……

Cut Unpeeled Apples Cut into Quarters or Slices for Adult Swans.. Chopped for Cygnets.  They can NOT Bite into a Whole Apple.

Swans Apples

Swans Apples

If you have Apple Trees (Untreated) Toss a few Fallen Apples onto the Pond. Break them Open first, the Swans can not Bite a Whole Round Apple.
Swans are Vegetarians

Floating Vegetables

Vegetable and Fish

*****Swans are Vegetarians
If there are Fish in your Pond that Eat the Vegetables.. try Putting the Veggies into a Stone Weighted Basket in Shallow Water.

Basket Swan Vegetables

Basket Swan Vegetables

After 24 Hours, dump and let the Fish have them..

Floating Vegetables

Watch which Vegetables/Foods Float and which SINK.
 Feeding Swans
Place Vegetable that SINK..
like Thin Slices of Carrot in Shallow Water.

Carrots SinkSoften Dried Corn

Whole Dry Corn is a Favorite Sprinkled into Shallow Water.
Whole Dried Corn will Soften a bit in the Water..
Swans seem to like it Soaked in the Water for a few Minutes.


Swans are Vegetarians
                              LETTUCE – SALAD GREENs

Swan Lettuce

Swans will Generally Eat All types of Lettuce.

Salad Greens for Swans

Not all types of Lettuce are Equal.

Swans Romaine

Romaine Lettuce has the MOST Nutritional Value.

Romaine Swans
Swans Love Romaine Bunch Butts. Toss them out onto the Pond.

Swans Romaine

Romaine Lettuce Bunches have Long Dark Green Outer Leaves that are generally Discarded. These Large Dark Leaves have the MOST SunShine Nutrients !!

Swans Romaine Lettuce

Carrots Vitamin A

Next to Carrots, Romaine is an Excellent Source of Vitamin A,
a Good Source of Dietary Fiber, Multiple Vitamins, Minerals and Tryptophan.

Romaine Lettuce has measurable Pro-Vitamin A (Carotenoid-Betacarotene), Vitamin K, Folate-Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3 (niacin), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).

Romaine Lettuce contains the Minerals Manganese, Chromium, Potassium, Molybdenum, Iron, Calcium and Phosphorous.
The fiber in Romaine Lettuce help keep the Swans’ Colon healthy.

Swans Romaine

Bottom Line –
Romaine Lettuce contributes to a Healthy Diet for Swans.
Swans are Vegetarians
Occasionally, we Mixed some Drained Tuna Juice onto the Lettuce.
THAT was a BIG Hit..  The Swans Really Enjoy the Fishy Taste..
Swans are Vegetarians

Swan Lettuce

Iceberg Lettuce – Crispy, Watery Green Leaves in a tight Ball…
Iceberg Lettuce has little Nutritional Value.  But, they Love it.
SO….  Romaine for a Healthy Diet…  Iceberg for Fun !

Swans are Vegetarians
Swans will eat every bit tossed to them.

Swans Lettuce
Toss a whole Head of Iceberg onto their Pond, the Swans will take turns biting “The Ball”.
Swan Lettuce Play

                             “Lettuce Play”  “Let-Us-Play.”

Swans Lettuce Play

If you like Special Types of Lettuce.. and what you purchased will not be used by your Family…. OR you have more then you will eat.
If is worth a try, rather then discarding the excess, Butter Head, Boston and Bibb Lettuces – Swans will eat these..
Plus Leaf Lettuces – Green Leaf and Red Leaf.

Swan Cygnets Lettuce

Leafy Vegetables like Arugula, Spinach and Watercress add variety.
Swiss Chard Leaves were a Big Hit.. Collard Greens not so much..Swans are Vegetarians

Q: Is it Safe to Eat the Edges of Lettuce Leaves that have turned Brown?
Q: What Causes Lettuce to Turn Brown?
Swan Lettuce
                          Lettuce and Pesticide Residues

Floating Lettuce
Lettuce is one Food that Pesticide Residues is commonly found.

Virtually all Drinking Water in the U.S. contains Pesticide Residues.
Pesticides are present in most Food in very small trace amounts.
The Negative Impact on our Health is well documented.
The Liver’s ability to process Toxins, the Body Cells’ ability to produce Energy and the Nerves’ ability to send Messages can all be compromised by Pesticide Exposure.

It is important to protect your Swans’ Liver.. by feeding them properly.

Swans are Vegetarians

REMEMBER Swans need a Lower Protein Diet.. to protect their Liver. Then they will be able to DeTox what they Drink and Ingest.
A Diet High in Protein will cause Fatty Liver Disease and GREATLY shorten your Swans’ Lives.

Swans with Fatty Liver Disease – Lipidosis look Full Body and Healthy. But, they are developing High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease..
They may Suddenly, without warning Die of a Stroke, Heart or Renal Failure.

Swan High Protein Lipidosis

Swans are Vegetarians
The Images here have mainly the Vegetables we have shared with our Swans.
The Large Crisp Romaine Leaves are Nice for Hand Feeding your Swans.
Swans are Vegetarians

It is Relaxing to Spend time with Swans..

Swans are Vegetarians
Feeding them should be Beneficial for both the Swans and their
Care Takers.
Swan LettuceFeeding Swans

Feeding Swans on the Ground is Environmentally unsound and encourages the Swans to leave their Water. Food left laying on the Ground may develop MOLD which can be FATAL to the Swans. BEST to keep all Food item at least along the Water’s Edge.

Vegetables Sink

Placing any Food in the Water close to the Water’s Edge allows the Swans to see the Foods that sink (Corn/Carrots)… and there is less chance they will be surprised by a Snapping Turtle.
Feeding Swans

*****Snapping Turtle Vegetables

 BEST to REMOVE Snapping Turtle from Your Ponds.

Feeding Swans

Fish and harmless Turtles will get to know where you commonly feed the Swans and will often wait close by to clean up the Leftovers.
This is helpful, there is nothing left to Sour or Rot.

Feeding Cygnets


We find ways to place all their Food in their Water.

Swans Vegetables

If Swans have to leave their Water to eat they become vulnerable to Predators, Dogs, Cats, People.
Swans in the Water are SAFER. It is also more Natural for them.

Swan Vegetable Basket

Feeding from Containers is a challenge where the water level changes quickly.  Be creative.

Swan Vegetable Basket

DO NOT place Feed Containers on HOT Surfaces.
Remember, in the Summer many surfaces GET HOT!!
A Swan’s BIG Flat Feet may BURN and BLISTER…NOT GOOD !!

In the Bitter Cold Days of Winter, a Swan’s WET Feet can stick to Icy Surfaces.. just like our Skin would. Swan are Safest in Liquid Water.

Frozen Carrot Ball

By the end of October there will be very little for the Swans to eat in the River/Lakes/Ponds/Creeks of Pennsylvania. Most Underwater Vegetation will become Dormant for the Winter Months.

There is very little in Pennsylvania for Swans to eat
from Halloween to St. Patrick’s Day.
Five LONG Months…

I have observed Swans trying to eat the dark, decaying remains of underwater plant material – YUCK!
Black, slimy, decaying leaves – YUCK ! Anything for a few Calories.

Cygnets Salad Greens

Captive Swans need Supplemental Feeding to remain Healthy.

A Female Swan will produce a Healthier Clutch of Eggs if she has “Greens” through the Winter Months.

Salad Green Basket

If you can SAFELY place Lettuce and Vegetable out on an Icy Ledge.. the Swans enjoy this as a Salad Bar.

Swan Icy Salad Bar

Swans will need time to adjust to new Foods offered, and will eat different items in the Winter and the Summer.
Example: Celery Leaves seem to be an acquired taste. Once they are exposed a few time most Swans enjoy the tender yellow-green Leaves.

Tasting Lettuce

Each Swan has Foods they likes and dislikes, just like People.
Swans are Vegetarians

Swans Salad Greens

You will get to know what will just be wasted. Try small amounts of a new Food for a week or two and observe what is eaten.
Swan Vegetables
Once they Eat their Vegetables….
Swans are Vegetarians
Your Swans will Enjoy a FEW Treats.Feeding Swans

Swans will eat their Favorite Foods first..
Keep “Treats” from becoming their Primary Nutrition.
Swan Treats
GOOD Snacks/Treats are Whole Grain Cereal.
A Cup of Plain Cheerios, Kix or Plain Corn Flakes, Bran Flakes occasionally,
will be enjoyed.
Avoid Yeast and Colored Dyes that many Cereals have.

We gave our Swans a few One Inch Squares of Honey Graham Crackers.

Graham Crackers Swans
These have NO Yeast and they Float.. and can be Frisbeed out to the Swans.

When Tossing Treats to Swans…
Toss to the Dominate Female first.
Then to the Dominate Male…
They will Take Turns.
Many Swans will Snort “Thank You” for Food and Treats.
Swans are Vegetarians


NO ONIONS, Garlic, Mushrooms or Avocados..
These will upset a Swan’s Stomach..

Avoid Salty Foods. Avoid Sugary Foods.
Little or NO BREAD, Crackers, Chips or Pop Corn..
NO Meat or Dairy..

This Information is a Work in Progress…..
As I learn more I will add to this information..
Compiled by (C) L.M.Sweger           UpDated        December  2020
Swan VegetablesSwan Vegetables