keeping swans in the winter

Discussion in 'Ornamental Fowl (Swans, etc.)' started by alexa, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. alexa

    alexa New Egg

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    Jun 10, 2010
    We are looking to get a pair (probably mute) and need advice on how to overwinter them. They will have plenty of lake for the summer but this will be deep frozen during the winter since we are in Massachusetts. I notice that many of the posters here are WI/MN/IN so I would appreciate advice for what these birds need for winter care.

    Thanks!
     
  2. spectrumranch

    spectrumranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:We usually consider 3 options:

    1. Put an areator in the lake to keep it open, as long as they have open water Mutes, Whoopers, Trumpeters will winter just fine on the open water.
    [​IMG]

    2. Put them into a barn, chicken coop, barn stall, etc with a good layer of bedding (straw or wood chips) with dish of water. May want to consider getting a heated water bucket. This is what we do with our Black, Blackneck & Coscoroba swans.

    3. Build a pen with a man made pond and let the water flow thru it all winter.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. alexa

    alexa New Egg

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    Great response, thank you.

    I had been assuming 2, but both 1 & 3 are interesting ideas. Your birds look pretty happy in both the photos.

    In our case we couldn't fence the ice side of the open water and I presume they need to be protected from whatever coyote/fox are around - do you fence the entire pond or is this not an issue? Do you bring them in if it is getting really nasty out?

    We could put them in a barn - could they share the same space with some chickens or would they terrorize the little birds?
     
  4. spectrumranch

    spectrumranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Most of our ponds are within our fences- but they are not always predator proof. If the area that the areator keeps open is large enough then they will be safe on the open water. When it gets really cold the open area will freeze up more, but as soon as the temps come back up a little it will open more area back up. Unless a bird looks as if it is having a problem we leave them out.

    The one that we bring inside- are usually just kept with other waterfowl. If you do have smaller birds with them, then do not use a bucket for water, because if a smaller bird jumps into the bucket it will drown.

    We are working on a small waterfowl building this summer that will have a pond inside with constant flow water that will be heated for our more tropical waterfowl.
     
  5. alexa

    alexa New Egg

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    Jun 10, 2010
    We'll get together with our neighbors and see what looks good.

    I really appreciate your guidance. I'll be back with pictures of what we do and probably more questions along the way!

    One more - can we feed swans what we feed the chickens: kitchen scraps with grains?

    Thanks very much.
     
  6. bdfive

    bdfive Chillin' With My Peeps

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    South of Blanco, TX
    Been a while since anyone's posted to this thread. I'm doing research on wintering Australian Black Swans and coming to the conclusion they don't tolerate the cold like other breeds do. Anyone have advice for me. I'm in the Texas Hill Country and we can have days of freezing weather with nights dropping into the teens. Presently my pair of Blacks are herded out of their kiddy pool for the night. I'm thinking since they are used to the practice I probably need to continue it. They are 2 and 4 months old. I'm trying to decide how to build their habitat and now thinking winter swimming may not be in their best interest regarding health. Please, can those of you with Black Swans share your experiences with me. Thanks much.
     
  7. blueraven

    blueraven Chillin' With My Peeps

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    s
    what kind of aerators do you use for your pond, we have a small pond so I think we would only need one.
     
  8. bdfive

    bdfive Chillin' With My Peeps

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    South of Blanco, TX
    Sorry, I should have seen you already covered what to do with Back Swans during the winter. Thanks. Can you tell me at what temperature the Black Swans should be put in their shelter. What is too cold for them? You mention wood chips for bedding. Do you mean the bundles of fine pine shavings or something more coarse. I'm assuming fine chips ..... have read they need "soft" beneath their feet. We presently are digging out huge rocks with a big backhoe where their habitat will be. One of them had maybe a foot sticking above ground but once dug out is the size of a volkswagon. Many more close to that size. What are my options to cover the ground with? Anything other then sand and grass? I have no experience with waterfowl. My expertise is with peafowl. I use heavier large pieces of mulch that lasts a while in them but am I right in understanding that mulch would be to abrasive for their feet? We can pick up trailer loads of that free from the county or for $10 a load at another location. Months ago I found some bagged wood chips at Home Depot that were round with no sharp jagged pointy edges. Was so happy but next time I went to buy some it had changed to what is normally found. I do so much appreciate your help as does Gunther & Gracie that deserve the best existence I can give them. I do adore them.....I love them!
     

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