Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 15 May 2015
There are several factors regarding winter weather. The most important two are freezing of the pond and no shelter so the swan cannot get dry and stay warm. The fountain/aerator should keep the pond from freezing. However, should you get a severe winter storm and the water freezes, the swan could drown if it fell through the ice or be attacked by a predator walking on the ice to get to the swan. If there is such a severe winter that you have constant heavy winds, especially 50 mph or more, and sleet/snow for several days so that the swan is in danger of being hit by flying debris or blown into objects or cannot get dry and therefore, cannot maintain body heat, he should be brought indoors. Swans can stay indoors for a couple of weeks at a time as long as they are placed on non slick non abrasive surfaces such as sheets, straw, etc. You do not want to cause any leg injuries from steep or slick surfaces. The rocky surface along his outdoor habitat needs to be removed so he can climb out of the water without hurting his legs or feet which can be fatal to waterfowl.
Should you keep him indours, his food needs to be placed in water so he does not choke. Feed him 50% cracked corn mixed with 50% poultry layer pellets submerged in water. Provide him with chopped lettuce to supplement his vegetative needs along with bread as a treat. A happy swan means less of a hassle to you because he doesn't want to be indoors. If his needs are cared for; food, shelter, water, clean bedding changed frequently and treats he will do just fine. Keep him squirted down with warm water 1-2 times a day to make him preen and keep his feathers healthy. Before you take him back outdoors to release him onto the pond, make sure you drench him in water 1-2 days prior to releasing him. You have to ensure he has oiled his feathers and preened before releasing him so that he is water repellent and does not drown when reintroduced back into the pond. The Regal Swan