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Advice on feeding swans during the winter months

'Swans are not greedy creatures and will only eat what they need'

The swans along the Kennet & Avon are always on the look out for food and Datchet-based charity Swan Support has this advice on what to feed them.

'All swans are hungry at this time of year. Weather conditions and the fast flow of the water means they are using more energy than usual, and their natural food is scarce. If you want to help them, please feed them with any of the following: bread, poultry corn, mixed greens, oats, pellets. Please ensure all food is placed in the water, preferably in a shallow area where they can dip easily and where there is not a strong current to take the food away.'

Many people think bread is bad for swans but this is a myth as explained by the Swan Sanctuary in London, which says: 'The simple answer is no, mouldy bread should never be fed and bread should not be the only diet of a swan, but bread is not dangerous to swans.

'If you want to feed swans then give them fresh bread (mould is poisonous to them), grain such as wheat or corn, and fresh greens such as lettuce or spinach.

Like Swan Support, they also advise that the food be thrown onto shallow water, so that the swans can swallow some of the water with the food. The sanctuary says 'feeding them on land is environmentally unsound and encourages the swans to leave the water whenever they see people which can bring them into harm from cars, dogs etc.'

They add 'swans are not greedy creatures and will only eat what they need'.

Swan Support offers a 24-hour helpline and says if you have any concerns about the health of a particular swan, please call them on 07968-868172 or 01628-876336.

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