can swans eat bird seed

Swans are majestic birds: feeding swans, ducks and other water birds has been a family pleasure for hundreds of years. Over the past few years, though debate has raged over whether we should be feeding swans bread, or feeding them at all. In this article, we are going to take a thorough look at the issues and come up with some answers for you on the question of what to feed swans.

They eat weed and algae. They prefer to eat on the water as this is the most energy-efficient for them. Swans feed by filtering the water to take out the food they want. So it’s not unusual for them to take in small frogs, fish, molluscs or insects with the vegetation they like.

The swan’s natural diet is not very nutritious. As anyone who ever went on a diet will tell you, greens don’t tend to have many calories. They are also low in protein and hard to digest. So the swan has to eat a lot of weed every day to get the energy it needs.

An average adult swan weighs around 25 lbs. They need to eat between 25 and 35% of their body weight each day to keep healthy. That’s six to eight pounds of weed and algae every day.

The best foods for swans and larger cygnets are grain (like wheat) and vegetable matter (like lettuce and potatoes). Other options include corn, chopped cabbage, spinach, frozen peas, and floating specialized swan and duck food pellets. To prevent luring birds onto the bank, food should be thrown into the water.

They can thrive in an area with short grass blades and will graze large, grassy fields. During the winter, flocks of Bewicks and whooper swans can be observed in potato fields, where they eat the leftover potatoes from harvest.

Swans consume aquatic plants from the riverbed, which they can reach with their long necks. They capture the mollusks that cling to the plants and consume worms, tiny fish, and frogs.

Swans typically don’t need extra feeding because they can find plenty of food in the wild. Extra food is only useful in extremely cold weather. Swans enjoy eating bread, which is OK as long as it’s not moldy, but feeding them a lot of it can lead to nutritional issues.

Consistent with guidance from The Canals and the RSPB This includes bread, cakes, pizza bases, cooked meats, butter-filled sandwiches, and meat products because they are high in fat, sugar, salt, and other additives. In addition, if left in the river unattended, they will decay and grow mold, which can lead to serious digestive issues.

Other Items on the Menu

Swans’ preferred food source is plants that float on the water’s surface. These are easiest to get at. However, if necessary, the swan can submerge itself or turn over in the water to reach deeper-rooted vegetation. Additionally, because of its long neck, it can reach plants that other waterfowl cannot.

Swans can also eat on land if they need to. They will happily crop short grass. Surprisingly, though, they will even consume potatoes, spinach, lettuce, and other leafy greens. Feeding on the land is not ideal for swans, though. Walking is far less energy efficient for them than swimming. And on land, they are more at risk from predators.

What are the Best Things to Feed Swans?

Specialist Swan Food. One of the best things you can provide to supplement the swans’ diet is specialist duck and swan food; however, the “Ban the Bread” campaign may appear a little underhanded. It has a balanced nutritional profile and naturally contains many of their favorite grains. Additionally, if it floats, letting it feed in the way that uses the least amount of energy for it

can swans eat bird seed

Bread. We’ve seen that giving swans a small amount of bread is perfectly acceptable. So long as it’s not mouldy. Mould can be toxic for swans and other water birds.

Leafy greens. Offering swans leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, a small amount of cabbage, or other leafy vegetables is a healthy and natural way to feed them.

Potatoes. This is a weird one. But swans will eat raw potatoes. After harvest, flocks of them have been observed crossing potato fields to pick up the leftovers.

Vegetable peelings. Peelings from potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables make a fantastic, free food source for swans.

Grains and unsweetened breakfast cereal. Grains are part of the swans’ natural diet. So unsweetened cereals or popcorn are good to offer.


What’s the best thing to feed swans?

Grain, such as wheat, and vegetable matter, especially lettuce and potatoes, can be fed to swans, together with corn, chopped cabbage, spinach, frozen peas and floating specialised swan and duck food pellets are the most suitable foods for swans and larger cygnets.

What grain do swans eat?

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.

Can you feed nuts to swans?

Can Swans Eat Nuts? Nuts don’t outline a few piece of a swan’s ordinary eating schedule, so don’t offer them. As another choice, have a go at tossing a couple of green peas or corn onto the ground rather than into the water.

Can you give seeded bread to swans?

The Swan Sanctuary I feed the swans here on Isle of Dogs most days, with wholemeal or seeded bread and lettuce leaves and have been doing so for over 10 years. I’ve been advised there’s a specific bread which swans can eat? Any bread is fine to feed as long as it isn’t mouldy, brown bread is better.