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Winter Water Wake..
Keeping Water Moving and Mixing to Prevent Freezing.
For Folks New to Swan Care..
Where you Live will be a BIG Factor for this Topic.
Every Water Environment is Unique..
The Time to Plan is Late Summer – Early Fall..
When Caring for Swans or other Domestic Waterfowl…
There are TWO HIGH Priority.. Tips/Rules.. For Winter Care,
>>>>>> Open Water and Plenty of Healthy Food.
Open Liquid Water Keeps the Waterfowl Warm.. and Safer..
Food is Energy to keep them Warm.
IF you are in a Climate with Mild Winters..
and Water Environments that do not Freeze.. Great !
In any Area where Winters are Mild and the WaterWays
only Freeze Occasionally for a Few Nights/Days..
It is Good to be Aware and be Prepared..
For those of us who Live in Northern States, we have Four Seasons..
From Cool Rainy Springs to HOT Dry Summers,
Time to Prepare Autumn-Fall into Freezing Winters.
Healthy Swans do Very Well as long as they can keep their Feet
in Liquid Water.
Healthy Swans Fare Well OutSide During the WINTER.
Swans will try to find the Warmest Water in their Pond..
even a Degree or Two Warmer.
Some Lucky Water Environments have Large Open Water
Areas ALL Winter due to Active UnderGround Springs.
The UnderGround Springs may be 50 – 52 Degrees as
they Flow into the Pond or Lake Water.
It is “Swanderful” to have a Water Environment that is Totally Ice Free !
The Surface of the Average Fresh Water Pond/Lake Freezes at 32 Degrees Fahrenheit.
The Depth of a Pond will Also Determine when the Surface Water
will Freeze.. For a While the Lower Warmer Water will Rise and Mix.
The Deeper the Water.. the Slower the Freeze..
We Mounted a Minimum – Maximum Thermometer on the Shady Side of
a Post Near the Pond. The Pond Average Temperature is Different from
the Local Official Weather Forecast Station..
Brackish Water.. DOES Freeze..
Ocean Water Freezes just like Freshwater, but at Lower Temperatures.
Sea Water Freezes at about 28.4 degrees Fahrenheit because of the Salt in it.
When Sea Water Freezes the Ice contains very little Salt
because only the Water Part Freezes.
Salt Ice: It is generally Weaker http://lakeice.squarespace.com/
It Weakens more Quickly when Thawing. It Thaws at Lower Temperatures.
If Swans or Cygnets are “Frozen Out” of their Water then they are subject
to the Air Temperature and if it is Cold enough, they may Freeze.
I DO Know of Swans that Froze.. VERY Sad Stories.
Captive WaterFowl are Helpless when Ponds/Lakes are Completely Frozen.
The Image Below is of a Minnesota Trumpeter Swan that Suffered Painful FrostBite. A Swan’s Feet are SOooo Important to their Survival in the Wild.
The Photo Image below… is a Muscovy Duck whose Feet Suffered FrostBite.
Lots of Care did not Save this Duck.. Parts of its Feet kept Dying..
You can See the Left Leg is Black. Eventually the Duck Died.
The Bitter Cold Spells during January-February have Often taken Tolls..
Sad Swan News is more Frequent. Predators have been the Main Reason.
When Ponds Freeze, it Forces Swans into Unsafe Areas.
Most Swans are Killed when NOT in their Water..
It is a Good Idea to have Equipment Ready for DeIcing.
A Stable Boat and EXTRA People to Help.
Installing Circulation-DeIcing Systems is a Summer – Fall Project..
SomeOne will be OUT in the Water.. to Place the Units.
A STABLE Boat is Needed for Most Installations.
Working in a Water Environment that is ALL OPEN is Helpful..
Dealing with Ice is not Instinctual for Swans.
In True Wild Swan Populations, Tundra & Trumpeters, the Parents will
Teach their Cygnets about Ice or take them to Warmer Areas.. Migrate.
Mute Swans are NOT Migratory Swans..
They will Move about Seeking OPEN Water..
Each Time we have Moved our Swans to a New Pond,
they needed to Learn about the Icing on their New Home Pond.
The First Year is the Trickiest for both the Swans and their CareTakers..
Swans will Learn..
Winter Care For Swans
About Half Way Down this Topic Page.. there are some
Examples of Young Cygnets/Swans Learning to Deal with Ice..
Swans are Safest in an Area of the Pond or Lake at least 4 Feet Deep..
Shallow Water is Less Safe..
The Depth is more important then the Diameter of the Opening in any Ice.
Most Predators can not get to the Swans if they are Floating Over 4 Feet of Water.
A Diameter of 25 Feet or More is Ideal.
** You DO NOT Want Predators to Reach your Swans.
Always Check at SunSet and SunRise that the Swans are IN Liquid Water.
I DO UNDERSTAND about WINTER WORRY..
I know in my Logical Brain that Healthy Waterfowl
will be Fine in Open Water with Adequate Food Support.
I DO Understand the Feeling of WANTING to Help and Protect
the Swans from the Elements.. Been There !
I can not tell you how Many Nights I have barely Slept..
I am Under a Warm Electric Blanket..Safe inside.
While Outside the Wind and Snow is Whirling..
and our Swans are Outside in Frigid Winter Weather.
Many Times, I was UP before Dawn, before Coffee,
Dressed like I am going to the North Pole..
and OFF to the River or Pond to Check on our Swans..
They were ALWAYs Fine..
Happy to Greet me for some Morning Treats..
Standing at First Morning Light in Ankle-High Snow Shivering….
..and Watched the Swans Playing-Bathing in the Icy Cold Water.
Relieved I would Trudge back Home for COFFEE..
After Loving Swans for 17 Years (2004-2021)..
I Still have to Tell MYSELF they will be OK.. They are Healthy and Well Fed.. They will be Fine. (Sigh..) and then Try to Sleep..
Working with and Visiting Swans, we have seen many,
many Swans on their Ponds with Ice and Snow all around.
They are Swimming, Playing, Bathing in the Icy Water..
They are SO Well Insulated.. It is Amazing.
Our Adult Swans have been out Full Time – Year Round..
They will be 12 Years Old in the Spring-Summer of 2021..
You Worry because you Care for them.. That is Good..Normal..
The Best Gauge I have Found is >>> How are the Ducks and Geese Doing ?
If Small Ducks and Medium Size Geese are Doing OK
on your Winter Lake or Pond.. then Healthy Swans should do OK..
Just Remember there are NO 100% Rules.. when Caring for Swans.
To KEEP an Area of Water Open-Liquid. – A “Winter Wake.”
YOU DO NOT WANT Equipment that uses HEAT.
It is NOT Practical to use Heating Element Equipment in a Pond or Lake.
These are for the Decorative Landscape Ponds or Animal Water Container.
YOU WANT Circulation.. Moving and Mixing Water.
Most Pond/Lake Systems will need Electric Service..
There are Solar & Winds Mill Units..I have no Experience with these..
Be SURE you have SAFE Electrical Service.. GFCI
We had Licensed Electricians Install ours..
NOT a DIY Project for Me..
Where to Start your Research.. READ LOTs of INFO..
Every Water Environment is Different..
Do what you can to Learn about the Area of your Pond or Lake
that you want to Keep OPEN Water. – Especially the Depth..
Websites with LOTs of Information
AirMax – Pond and Lake Aeration Systems
The Pond Guy.. has a Service to Assist with Planning
for DeIcing Equipment..
KASCO Marine…Pond & Lake De-Icing – Kasco Marine
KASCO has a Service to Assist Customers Select the Proper Equipment.
https://kascomarine.com/ – Is a GREAT Resource
for Learning about the Different Systems.
There are Many Companies with All Kind of New Products..
There is LOTs to Learn.. All Useful Info.
For Most DeIcing Systems..
Generally, the Lower your DeIcing Equipment
the Larger the Water Surface Opening will be.
Circulating Equipment will have the Added Benefit
of Improving the Year-Round Health of most Ponds..
Organic Pond Plants like DuckWeed and Algae may Over Grow the Surface,
Reducing the Oxygen Values in the Pond..
The SAME Horse Pasture POND 12 Months Later.. CLEAR SURFACE…!!!
Organic Material Breaks Down in Stagnant Deeper Areas of a Pond…
Over Time this can Smell Nasty.. Is Unhealthy for Fish..
This Creates an Unhealthy Condition in a Pond.
Circulation of the Lower Pond Water will Help Prevent
Anaerobic Bacteria Growth in the Lower Levels of Ponds,
Improving the Dissolved Oxygen through the Water Layers.
Your Pond Fish will be Healthier.. You will Reduce Fish Kills.
There are Various Methods of Deicing Winter Ponds/Lakes.
None are Appropriate for All Water Environments..
We have used a Variety of Equipment in Different Ponds..
I have Organizing our Experiences .. These Topic Pages are Listed.
CREATING a “Winter Wake” for Swans
OOPs MOTHER NATURE SURPRISED US.
Winter Wake by SubSurface Diffusers
Submersible Pump for Open Water in Winter
Shallow Water Circulating Aerators
DeICING a Shallow Water Area with Bubble Hose
DeIcing with a SUMP PUMP
There are 4 Basic Types.. Every Pond Situation is Different.
These ALL Require having Electric Service Available.
IF THERE is Electric Available by the Pond – Lake.
Threading Any Electric Cable through PVC Conduit for Added Safety.
An Example: I Spoke with a Lady who Rented a Ditch-Witch Trencher,
Buried the Electric Cable from the House to the Pond.. Installed the New
Aeration Equipment.. It Worked for about a Week.. THEN STOPPED !!
Some Critters had Dug Down to the Cable and had a Shocking Good Time.
Loose Electrical Cables and Extensions are TANGLE HAZARDs.
Electric Cables are Vulnerable to Rodents, Fish & Turtles Chewing on them..
>>Short-OUT !! – Possible Electric Leakage into the Water.
Having a Timer to Run the Units just at Night.. Helps with Electric Cost.
Or Turn these On-OFF as Needed.. Being Ready is what is Important..
# 1 Fountains – Aerators Some Convert to DeIcers.
There will be a Support Structure on the Surface.
* Electric Cable in the Water -Aver. 100 Feet Cable.
These have a Motor with FAN-Propeller..
Should be DOWN at Least 5 Feet..
# 2 Bubble Diffusers.. Compressor and Weighted Air Hose.
There is NO Support Structure on the Surface.
* NO Electric Cable in the Water.
for Deeper Waters 6-8 Plus Feet
We Installed a Bubble Diffuser System in One Pond..
It is a RELIEF not to have an Electric Cable in the Water.
AND there is NOTHING on the Surface of the Water.. Nice..
I am NOT Crazy having the Compressors – They Hum..Vibrate.
But, I Decided this is Safer then having Electric Cords in the Water..
Try to keep any Compressor away from your Home.. Noisy – HUM..
The New Compressors are Quieter..
Having a Timer.. Allows for the Compressors to Run Only at Night.
# 3 Submersible Pumps.. and/or Sump Pump.
* Electric Cable in Water – Limited Cable Length.
Works Best if Down at least 3-5 Feet.. IN LARGE BUCKET.
Works Well in Area of the Pond without a lot of Leaves
and Field Drainage Debris.
This Submersible Pump Set-Up did Keep a Nice Area Ice Free.
Can be Useful Until you have a Chance to REALLY Evaluate
Where you would want a more Permanent System..
In Mild Climates – For a “Just in Case” it Might Freeze this Winter..
Maybe you just need to keep your Feeding Area Open…
Over All this is a Less Expensive Set-Up.
It is a Good Idea to have an Extra Back-up Pump Ready to Swap-Out
if the Pump in Use Fails… Especially when the Weather is Nasty.
NOTE: Winter 2015-2016: The Pumps that Draw Water in
and Discharge have a VERY Common Problem.
They PULL Leaves, Pine Needles, Twigs, Junk, etc…
Toward the Unit.. Clogging them.
If your Pond has a lot of Debris.. these are a Pain.. !
If your Pond is Fairly Clean.. then these are Workable.
The Pond Below was Using a Sump Pump.. It Seemed to Work Well…
#4 Bubble Hose Diffusers.. for Shallow Waters 2-4 Feet..
Compressor and Weighted Air Hose in the Water.
* NO Electric Cable in the Water
Bubble Hose can be Useful if you Need to Keep a Feeding Station Area Open.
Bubble Hose or a Garden Hose is attached to a Compressor.
These NEED to be Open to the AIR.. and Protected from the Weather.
This One is in a Gazebo and Up Under a Table..
Protecting ANY Electric Cables in Conduit…is Helpful..
Conduit is Cheap. Replacing Damaged Electric Cable is Expensive.
Most Water Circulating Equipment DEPENDS on Electricity.
If you have a Prolonged Power Failure..
Then your Swans and other Domestic Waterfowl are AT RISK..
It is a GOOD Idea to have a Back-up Plan.. Know what you will do..
IF YOU NEED to GO OUT onto the Ice.. to Get your Birds..
Especially, if they are Stuck in Ice..
LET Someone know if you are going out onto Ice.
Sliding in a Boat/Kayak might Work.
This Ladder Idea Distributes your Weight..
AND WEAR a Life Jacket !!! First Rule BE Safe..
We ALL Love our Swans and Cygnets..
BUT Keep People SAFE First ! ! !
This Shallow Pond is Very Close to Freezing..
From EMail Messaging with a HomeOwner in OHIO…
They had a Mature Cob on their Lake.
Normally there is a Natural Area of Open Water. ???
The Shared Image Below – There might be some DeIcing on the Right.. ??
They were Expecting Temperatures to Drop to 30 Below Zero.. COLD !
The Liquid Water will be at least 33 Degrees..
But, the Wind Chill.. may be what is TOO Much..
If “Swanee” is Shivering.. then he is not Coping with the Cold.
Knowing the Weather Forecast, there was Reason to Worry.
I Suggested he Shelter his Swan for a Few Day..
It would be Better to be Safe then Sorry..
Adding: Inside an Unheated Build.. it can get VERY Cold..
Provide Something for the Swan to Snuggle into.
An Area around their Dock was Expected to Remain UnFrozen.
He Placed a Carpet over the Dock, Mounted a Heat Lamp Under
the Dock to Create a Warm Air Space..
The Swan Never went Near the Dock..
Floated out in the Open through the Coldest Nights.
The Swan’s Legs were in the 33 Degree Water..
I was Worried that the man might Set his Dock on Fire
from the Intense Heat of the Heat Lamp Bulb. (All was OK..)
For Folks with Docks.. there are Under Dock Mount Circulating DeIcers.
Personally, I would NOT Use These with Swans…
There is a FAN Propeller.. NO Guard.
I would be Afraid that Nosey Swans would Put their Beaks
into the Fan and get a Nasty Cut..
These 3 Month Old Cygnets are Curious and Nosey.. Exploring Everything.
WE are BLESSED !
Our Swans Now are on Ponds with Natural Open Areas.
The Pond where our Swans are this Winter has an Incredible
UnderGround Spring that Flows into the Pond at 54 Degrees..
and keeps 1/2 of the Upper Pond Open. They have their own Hot Tub !
YES ! ! … We Finally DO NOT need to add a DeIcing System.. ! !
So Far, they are doing Well there.. (Sigh) We are Very Lucky..
You are Doing the Best Thing.. You are Preparing and Learning.. (-;
PA SwanLover Linda Compiled from our Experiences February 2021
A Winter Wake is a Disturbance in the Surface
of Water that Inhibits Freezing.