SWAN notes

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MY first task this week is to thank everyone who has helped us with the hedgehogs. We have had people calling in daily bringing us canned food and mealworms as well as giving donations.

We really appreciate this and it is lovely to see people when they call in. It is no problem to have visitors as the recovery room is just full of hedgehogs and they don’t mind folks being about.

Some of our hogs have been sponsored and one who was known as ML42 is now named as Orinoco by his sponsor. I did think it was an odd name but I remember my daughters having Wombles and the faces did resemble those of a hedgehog. So, well done everyone and do please continue to help and visit to see for yourselves how the hogs are growing.

The last week has brought in a few swans too. Most are from the Newcastle area and have come from some of the lakes in parks. Very few pairs of swans actually hatched cygnets this year, probably because nests were washed away in the constant rain and the weather being cold caused the embryo chicks to die in the egg. We have three cygnets with us at the moment all are very underweight and weak but doing okay. They are eating well and should soon get fit and well again.

We also have three swans in two newcomers with Geordie accents, both in very poor condition, one is very lightweight and the other has a feather condition which gives the normally white plumage a pink tinge. He will be with us some time as new feathers will have to come in to replace the infected ones.

One other swan is paying us a return visit. He was with us earlier this year and has a swelling on his foot although this does not prevent him from bossing the youngsters about. He was being so naughty on Sunday that we decided he should have a pen on his own. It was pelting down with rain but they needed separating.

Kay came out with me and we decided to carry the two weaker swans in to the large pond with the youngsters and bring bully-boy out into the small pond. We carried through the two birds but before we could grab the swan hook to get the trouble maker out of the pond he had launched himself across the pond and had jumped onto the weakest of the other swans and began biting and beating it with his wings. Kay ran round and grabbed the offending bird – she can move quicker than me – and took him out into the other pen while I checked the victim.

It must have been a shock to him being jumped on for nothing but I carried him in under the covered section of he pen and gave him his own personal bucket of food. He was very quiet for a few minutes but soon began tucking into his lunch. By this time me and Kay were soaking wet but David had the kettle on for a coffee. The bully is now in solitary confinement, fortunately he is ready for release and he can go as soon as the river level goes down a bit.

That’s all for this week. I think Jackie and Graeme will be reporting next time.


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