To Provide a Healthy Diet for your Swans you need to Think Vegetables.
80 % of their Natural Diet is Plant Material.
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 !!!
Giving Swans Plenty of Variety in their Diet can Help Reduce the Possibility
of Boredom and Increases their Happiness and Overall Quality of Life.
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 and Trumpeter Swans Migrate Hundreds to Thousands of Miles Annually…
They will have a Wide Variety of Plants and Insects to Graze on.
Mute Swans are NOT Migratory Birds. They do NOT Migrate.
All the Summer Plants they Feed on are Unavailable for Months.
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.
Due to Organic Excess, Some Ponds have Lots of DuckWeed.
DuckWeed is a Great Natural Floating Food..
Swans will Learn where to Find their Favorite Underwater 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.
Once we Pinion or Clip to Ground a Swan, they are “Captive” for us to Enjoy.
They are Classified in most U.S. States as “Captive Exotic Poultry.” PETs !
These Young Swan Cygnets Depend on us to Help them have the Nutrients
that their Bodies need to be Healthy.
Healthy Swans may Live 20-30+ Years.
The Oldest Known Swan was a Male Mute in England, that Lived to 104 Years.
The Grain-Poultry Feed Mixture Adds Nutrients that a Pond may not Provide.
With the Pond Plants, Lawn Grass and Poultry Feed Mixture Swans will do nicely.
If Grassy Lawns that Surround 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.
Many Pond Owners Love having the Colorful KOI Fish in the Waters.
A Large School of ANY Species of Fish – KOI – Carp – Bass – Trout – Blue Gill…ETC.
Will Consume their Share of the UnderWater Plants.. They Need to EAT Also.
If you use Lawn Care Service or Treat your Lawn..
OR have a Large School of Fish… (-;
Check what is Growing in your Pond.
Sweep Down in the Water 2 – 3 Feet with a Garden Rake or Cultivator.
Are you Snapping Under Water Plants.
Putting Vegetables, Grains, Cut Grasses into or onto your Pond
May cause Obstruction where your Pond Drains.
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.
If Free Floating Vegetable Cause a Problem at your Spillway..
Put their Vegetables in a Weighted Basket or Handle-less Bucket.
With the Lush Summer Lawn Grasses to Graze on..
Watch for Under Chin-Tongue Impactions.. Short Cut Grass is a Common Culprit..
Under Tongue-Chin Impaction
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.
Then the Next Week, Mow a different Area.. (Rotating)
There will be Some Longer Grass Blades for the Swans to Graze on.
Plus the Longer Grasses will have more Insects for them to Munch on.
….. (-; (-: (-; (-:
The Swans will Enjoy seeing you Stop by their Water Environment to Visit,
when you have Vegetables for them.
ADDING Vegetables, Especially during Cold Weather Months
will Add to the Swans’ Overall Healthy Diet.
Hand Feeding your Swans is a Nice Activity.. It Socializes the Swans.
With the Young Female Below – We Needed to ReEstablish Trust..
YEAH ! She Loves Lettuce.
Hand Feeding our Rescued Swans and Cygnets Helped to Socialize them.
When you are Feeding your Swans,
Give the First Treat to the Pen, then the Cob and then the Remaining Swans/Cygnets.
I Cut – Shred – Chop – Enough Vegetable Mix for Several Day.
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.
SWANs LOVE Vegetables…
Vegetables Allowed to Float Out on their Pond.. the Swans can Graze at Will.
Remember Carrots SINK… Put them in Shallow Water.
Our Sweet “Spring” LOVED Radishes.. She would Eat as many as she Could Find.
We had an Arrangement with a Local Country Club.
Their Kitchen would Save their Discard Vegetables for us.
We Stopped in Once or Twice a Week.
This Saved them BIG Bags of Discard Vegetables going to the Landfill.
AND, our Swans EAT Very Well.. (-;
“Thank You” – to the WSCC Kitchen Staff.
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.
Swans ENJOY Assorted Vegetables.
They do not need Vegetables Everyday. But are Happy for them.
DO NOT GIVE THEM ANY MOLDY VEGETABLES.
MOLDs May Contain Toxins that will Make your Swans VERY Sick.
Vegetables help add Fiber to their Intestinal Tract during the Winter.
Most Swans will Instinctively KNOW Lettuce is GOOD to Eat.
When you are Preparing a Salad for your Dinner, Save the Trimming
that you would Normally Toss..
Vegetables are more Beneficial in the Cold Winter Months
when Water Plants and Grasses are Dormant.
Remember Swans DO NOT have Teeth.
Chop or Slice Firm Root Vegetables THIN.
Cut into Small Pieces: Carrots, Radishes, Cucumbers and their Peels.
I Like to Chop Enough for Several Day.. Bag..Ready to Go.
The White Cabbage Leaves Sliced into Thin Strips..
The Outside Dark Green Cabbage Leaves are too Tough.
The Yellow-Green Leaves of Celery might be eaten.
Some Swans Love Kale & Spinach.
Swans may Eat Steamed Leftovers Vegetables like Corn,
Green Beans, Cabbage, Cauliflower & Broccoli.
Cut a Few Seedless Grapes in Half. Strawberry Caps left close to the Water’s Edge..
Some Swans like Watermelon in the Rind Floating out on the Pond.
Sweet Fruits Fallen from Trees may Attract Bees and Hornets…
Discard them so Swans will NOT be Stung !!
Swans LOVE APPLEs……
Cut Unpeeled Apples into Quarters or Slices for Adult Swans..
Chopped for Cygnets. Swans can NOT Bite into a Whole Apple.
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.
If there are Fish in your Pond that Eat the Vegetables..
Try Putting the Veggies into a Stone Weighted Basket in Shallow Water.
After 24 Hours, Dump and let the Fish have them..
Watch which Vegetables/Foods Float and which SINK.
Place Vegetable that SINK.. like Thin Slices of Carrot in Shallow Water.
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.
The Bright Yellow Flowers and Leaves of Dandelions are a Welcome Treat !
LETTUCE – SALAD GREENs
Swans will Generally Eat All Types of Lettuce.
A Floating Head of Iceberg Lettuce is a Fun Lunch.
Not all Types of Lettuce are Equal.
Romaine Lettuce has the MOST Nutritional Value.
Swans Love Romaine Bunch Butts. Toss them out onto the Pond.
Romaine Lettuce Bunches have Long Dark Green Outer Leaves that are Generally Discarded.
These Large Dark Leaves have the MOST SunShine Nutrients !!
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 helps keep the Swans’ Colon Healthy.
Bottom Line –
Romaine Lettuce Contributes to a Healthy Diet for Swans.
Occasionally, we Mixed some Drained Tuna Juice/Oil onto the Lettuce.
THAT was a BIG Hit.. The Swans Really Enjoy the Fishy Taste..
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 will Eat EVERY Bit of Salad Greens Tossed to them.
Toss a Whole Head of Iceberg onto their Pond, the Swans will Take Turns Biting “The Ball”.
“Lettuce Play” “Let-Us-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.
It 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.
Leafy Vegetables like Arugula, Spinach and Watercress add Variety.
Swiss Chard Leaves were a Big Hit.. Collard Greens not so much..
Q: Is it Safe to Eat the Edges of Lettuce Leaves that have turned Brown?
Q: What Causes Lettuce to Turn Brown?
Lettuce and Pesticide Residues
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 Safely.
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.
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.
It is Relaxing to Spend Time with Swans..
Feeding them should be Beneficial for both the Swans and their Care Takers.
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.
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.
BEST to REMOVE Snapping Turtle from Your Ponds.
SNAPPING TURTLEs are NASTY BEASTs
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.
WE DO NOT FEED OUR SWANS OUT of their WATER/Pond.
We Find Ways to Place ALL their Food in their Water.
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.
Feeding from Containers is a Challenge where the Water Level Changes Quickly.
Be CREATIVE !
Swan Folks in our Network have Shared some of their Feeding Ideas.
Feeding Stations for Swans.
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.
Occasionally, I have Frozen Chopped Veggies into a Mold for a Hot Day Treat.
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.
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.
If you can SAFELY Place Lettuce and Vegetable out on an Icy Ledge..
the Swans ENJOY this as a Salad Bar.
Swans will Need Time to Adjust to New Foods offered,
and may 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.
Each Swan has Foods they Likes and Dislikes, just like People.
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.
Once they Eat their Vegetables….
Your Swans will Enjoy a FEW Treats.
Swans will Eat their Favorite Foods first..
Keep “Treats” from becoming their Primary Nutrition.
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.
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.
FOOD TO AVOID – DO NOT FEED TO WATERFOWL
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 JUNE 2021