Every year during the first week of October, the Falconry & Wildlife team at Leeds Castle set aside the week for their Annual Swan Check.
With over 20 captive bred swans across the estate, it is important that the team check they are happy and healthy! This year 11 Black Swans, 8 Whopper Swans and 2 Trumpeter Swans had their Annual Swan Check.
Their annual health check involves weighing the Swans to make sure they’re maintaining a constant weight throughout the year, checking all the feathers to make sure they’re in good condition, checking feet for sores or any other problems and checking that the microchips they have still work and are in place. The team also takes the opportunity to take DNA samples from those whose sex is unknown, this way they can keep a track of the male and female ratio.
And the results are in…
Mark Brattle, Falconry and Wildlife Manager, confirmed that all the swans are in good health with no major problems; across the species the Black Swans put on 10lb, the Whoopers put on 9.5lb and the Trumpeters put on 8.5lb. This will probably because the Trumpeters and Whoopers are the first swans the public see and feed.
The largest and heaviest Leeds Castle Swan is Tobias, the Male Trumpeter Swan, who weighed in at 30lb, a 5lb increase since last year!
Over the coming months you will start to see yellow numbered rings appearing on all the swans,; it will allow the team to be able to keep an eye on individuals, meaning they don’t have to catch them every time to find out who is who. The team have a list of all the swans with them in the vehicles, so if you ever want to know about any of the swans, please don’t hesitate to stop and ask them or contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org.