Help! Swan attacking my flock!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by anniele27, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. anniele27

    anniele27 Chirping

    Apr 10, 2014
    Last spring I got 15 ducks (in april 2014) and 3 embden geese (in july 2014) that I raised in a brooder and then released onto my 7 acre lake. This is a neighborhood lake and also has a variety of wild and domestic fowl on it, including a swan pair. We were hesitant about how our flock would get along with the swans since the swans often chase off the wild Canadian geese that come to visit. But we had no problems with the swans and our flock, they seemed to get along well. Over the winter we decided not to pen our flock up at night anymore. They worked with the swans to swim around and always keep a little area of water unfrozen and everyone made it through the winter just fine! Since the water has thawed we have noticed the swans getting more aggressive about our flock staying on our land but that was fine because they rarely left our land anyway. But now the swans have suddenly turned and seem to want them dead! They come up on our beach and chase, attack, and hiss at the flock. Even though i have pekin,ruoen,and runner ducks they can fly pretty well and have no trouble escaping the swans. The embden geese are very large and cannot fly well, though they usually would still get away or if they were caught by a swan, the swan would grab at their neck a bit them then let them go right away.

    Today I witnessed the swan separate one of our girls (gracie) from the boy (gilbert) and the other girl (gidget). the male swan had chased gracie into the lake while the female swan grabbed her neck and held her down then the male got on too and it looked as if they were drowning her. With all this commotion and me screaming, my mini schnauzer jumped her fence (which she never does) and came charging into the water which scared the swans off my goose, I was then able to call my dog back before she got to Gracie, though she didn't seem that interested in her anyway. I brought the geese up to the upper level of my yard where the swans can't get too (they're too big to walk up the stairs) and gave the geese food and water in buckets. So for now they are safe but i will have to take them back down at dusk to their pen (which is right on the lake) to eat and then they get let out in the morning where the swans are waiting. I can scare the swans back by using a paddle but they aren't satisfied until the geese are out of view and the beach is theirs, devoid of humans too (yeah they attack and chase us as well, they never did so in the past though).

    I know birds have a pecking order and that was what it was at first i believe. If gilbert got too close to the girl swan the boy would come over and bite at him then gilbert would leave. But now I'm really worried for my geese! They have started laying eggs and we wanted them to be able to nest but the swans came up and attacked them then destroyed their nest. I have checked everywhere around the property and the swans have not nested anywhere near us, in fact every year I've lived here they have nested in the same spot across the lake.

    I guess my question is: do you think the swans could/would really kill my geese? If so, what could I possibly do about it to establish our land as our flocks once again?
  2. Amykins

    Amykins Crowing

    May 11, 2013
    Swans will ABSOLUTELY kill your birds if given the chance! I'm betting they're mute swans, we have a pair on my own 'community lake' and they kill the wild mallards all the time. They're non-migratory and horrifically territorial, and because of that the native trumpeter swan is being driven to near-extinction because mutes will move in and take over while they're south for the winter.

    This is a pretty serious problem. If you hadn't been there, your goosey would be toast! Poor thing...I hope he's recovering okay after the attack! As for how to keep them separated, I'm afraid I wouldn't have a good answer. Short of keeping them penned all the time, they can't free-range unsupervised with those two white dinosaurs stalking the pond.
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    This time of year your also seeing mating behavior the swans have claimed the lake as theirs they will most likely brood and raise signets and they will not tolerate other water fowl near their babies. This is not going be an easy summer for your flock . I saw a couple years ago where a man in a canoe was attacked by Swan while his mate was nesting near by the man was drowned. What they are doing is only natural but can sure make everyones life miserable.
  4. anniele27

    anniele27 Chirping

    Apr 10, 2014
    oh my goodness! Well thanks for the information! That is scary i didn't know they were that mean! They are mute swans, they were purchased for a manmade lake in a ritzy neighborhood near ours but walked over here to live at our natural lake. After the first year of the manmade lake owners coming and corralling them back to their lake only for them to end back up at ours (via walking since their wings were clipped) they gave up and the swans became permanent residents. They have tried to nest each year but have not succeeded in hatching or raising any signets. The son of the people who own the land they nest on waits until they're done laying then destroys their nest so they leave. It is sad but also his elderly parents live there and can't go into their own backyard without being attacked. They continued to nest there every year though, but usually not until mid april.

    I have moved food and water to the upper level of my yard where the swans can't get to (we're on a hill that goes down to a deck then down more to the beach and lake). I am trying to encourage the geese to spend more time up there during the day and then returning them down to their pen at night for safety. I think I may even set up one of their old baby pools too so they can splash around. Luckily the swans have not claimed the entire lake just the area immediately surrounding our land and the area near where they chose to nest so I walked the geese over to the other cove and the swans leave them alone. I have given up the hope that our geese will be able to nest though ):

    I am hopeful that the swans will go away across the lake to try to nest again and give my geese a break. Then when they don't have babies they will be calmer again like they have every other spring.

    Thank you for the information! We have been looking at moving to a house with land, taking our flock, and building a pond for them. If the swan situation does not get better we will have to do that.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015
  5. Icravepoultry

    Icravepoultry Chirping

    Mar 28, 2015
    Maybe ask the old owners of the swans if they will sell them to somebody so they can make some extra money and they wont be able to attack any thing

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: