feeding bread to swans

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Swan Expert 1 year, 7 months ago.

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  • #61559 Reply

    Sally Goulden

    You were kind enough to give Steve Knight at the swan sanctuary Shepperton UK some information regarding the research you have carried out on feeding bread to swans. I am their veterinary surgeon. Are there any papers or research on this that you have published, or that I could see please? I would be delighted to have some evidence at long last to counter all this internet spurious information about the damage bread feeding does. Sally Goulden BVetMed MRCVS

    #61560 Reply

    Swan Expert

    Hi Sally:

    I am going to send you the information to your private email as this site will not allow for the large upload necessary to get the info to you. The Regal Swan

    #61583 Reply

    UK Swan Lover

    The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said it holds little nutritional value and suggested instead giving them a range of alternatives, including cake crumbs, crushed biscuits, grated cheese, leftover jacket potatoes, breakfast cereal, overripe strawberries and porridge oats.
    Granary breads with seeds are marginally healthier than cheap white sliced loaves but still simply fill the birds up without doing them enough good.
    Experts say the issue is particularly important at the time of year when young are being raised.

    Val Osborne, head of wildlife inquiries at the society, said: “There are many other household foods that would be much better for them.

    “Bread doesn’t actually contain any of the vital ingredients to provide birds with the energy they need to breed and feed.

    “The RSPB is asking people to consider alternatives such as porridge oats, cake crumbs and potatoes.”

    #61607 Reply

    Martin kelly

    Hi. Would you be so kind as to email me the same information that you sent to Sally Goulding.

    #61611 Reply

    Swan Expert

    Hi UK Swan Lover:

    We are not advocating not providing the swans with alternative foods such as cracked corn and poultry layer pellets. We are advocating bread for those indivuduals who may not have these foods readily available or cannot afford them. We are stating that the negative impacts of bread that has been spread by wildlife officials, bird feed companies and others do not hold up when investigated scientifically. Bread is a good energy source during the winter months. Also, note, the RSPB does not say bread is bad. They state to use cake crumbs and crushed biscuits which contain some of the same contents as bread, only some cake and biscuits may contain more sugar than bread which may not be as healthy. Again, we are promoting bread as a supplemental food to prevent starvation. If all that people have is bread, or can afford, then feed bread. It beats the alternative of death. The Regal Swan Foundation

    #61612 Reply

    Swan Expert

    Hi Martin

    Sally Goulden is a licensed veterinarian and submitted her credentials. Because the research is specifically written for Licensed veterinarians, you would need to provide us with your appropriate credentials. If you are not a licensed veterinarian, you can contact Wendy Hermon, Swan Support or Steve Knight, Swan Sanctuary, to confirm that their veterinarians are in possession of our research. These two swan rescue groups are promoting the feeding of bread to swans. The Regal Swan Foundation

    #61615 Reply

    Martin kelly

    There is clearly much public confusion and concern regarding this issue with your organisation apparently at the centre of it. In view of this I would have thought that you would have considered it appropriate, if not your duty, to publish your research on the subject. Or at least make it available to any member of the public who takes the trouble to request it. After all, at the end of the day it was probably the public who funded it or part of it and not the vets.

    Regarding your site not allowing large uploads, perhaps you could request your site developers to increase the value of the PHP setting ‘maximum upload size’ to accommodate it. It only takes a few minutes and would remove any potential suspicion that you might not want the public to view the information for some reason or other.

    I presume the link below presented by The Regal Swan® Foundation, Inc is associated with yourselves. In which case it would appear that the relevant links to the functions and structures for swan habitats do not work or have been removed. In particular the Swan Food and Water Requirements section. Perhaps you could look into it.

    #61616 Reply

    Swan Expert

    Hi Martin

    We were asked to weigh in on the feeding of bread by the U.K. officials, after they had already endorsed the feeding of bread to swans.

    At that time, we provided Her Majesty’s Swan Marker, Her Majesty’s Swan Warden, veterinarians and Diector of Operations, Swan Support and the Swan Sanctuary a copy of our research which was peer-reviewed and published in Exotic DVM, a journal published by and for Licensed veterinarians. If you go online and search for this info, you will in fact ascertain three points:

    1. We did in fact get published

    2. The publication is out of print and archived.

    3. If you can access the archives, you must provide your licensed veterinary credentials. We do not control access to these archives.

    Our research discussed various veterinary protocols, drugs to be used, dosages of various drugs, etc. All involved, including our veterinarians and those at the swan sanctuaries have agreed that the information should only be provided to licensed veterinarians. None of us want to be responsible for someone (with no veterinary experience misinterpreting the data or trying to procure the drugs and experimenting on a swan or other animal. If you look at one of the posts, someone has already stated they were going to conduct their own research on swans. We know for a fact, this person is not a licensed veterinarian. Exactly,what we do not want to occur. So, our releasing information to only licensed veterinarians, has nothing to do with hiding anything. It is totally to protect the swans and other animals from being extremely injured or killed by someone who thinks that they conduct this type of research with no veterinary training.

    #61617 Reply

    Swan Expert

    No one paid for the research except out of our pockets. No public funding has ever been used for our research. Lab tests were provided as an in-kind donation from private laboratories due to the technicality of developing blood chemistry panels exclusive to swans and titre testing for vaccines. So, again, no public funding was provided. Sheila Bolin, The Regal Swan Foundation

    #61654 Reply

    Martin Kelly

    “No one paid for the research except out of our pockets. No public funding has ever been used for our research. ”
    Sorry but I’m confused. Do you mean your own individual personal pockets? Or do you mean the pockets of your charity, which I understand is in part if not wholly, funded by public donations.

    I’m also not sure as to what you mean by “in-kind donations”in respect of research costs. I found this article referring to some of research you carried out in 2007 into what was causing some U.K. swans to turn pink. The paragraphs that are confusing me are as follows:

    “Once the Orange Lake tests were successfully completed, the Florida researchers advised UK swan caretakers to begin washing their affected birds in (the domestic washing up liquid) Fairy Liquid”

    “Fairy Liquid has been part of the British repertoire and is a trusted brand recognized for its mildness to hands, and its long lasting formula. All Fairy Liquid products are endorsed by the British Skin Foundation”

    “In July, Procter & Gamble’s Fairy Liquid will sponsor 10 members of The Regal Swan to travel to London, by special invitation, to travel with Her Majestys Swan Warden and Her Majestys Swan Marker along the Thames river, during the annual ceremony of ‘Swan Upping’”

    Was this funding a necessary part of the research project and therefore covered by in-kind donations, or was it simply a good will gesture from Procter & Gamble for advertising your endorsement of their product?
    I’m Sorry if I’m bothering you, but I’m just trying to understand your methods and funding policies. If you were a U.K. charity I would be able to ask these questions of the U.K. charities commissioners under the freedom of information act.

    #61660 Reply

    Swan Expert

    Hi Martin

    Just because you ask for donations, does not necessarily mean you receive donations.

    Out of pocket means that we have directly paid for the research ourselves. We decided at the onset that we were going to conduct research regardless if funding was not available, which it wasn’t in most cases. In the vaccine titre testing and blood chemistry, we sought sponsorships from three laboratories to conduct the tests. There were two important reasons for this, one, we did not have the facilities to conduct the tests and second, the equipment, protocols and vaccines were proprietary under the various drug companies. We personnally paid for all other research costs to include equipment, printing of relevant charts and other documents, phone expenses, travel, meals, hotel accommodations, fuel, rental cars or buses (to transport staff and equipment).

    The sponsorship by Proctor and Gamble was an in-kind donation of Dawn Dish Soap and Fairy Washing-up Liquid. This was a necessary part of the research. Through DNA Sequencing and other testing, we established that bacteria caused the condition. Since we found no internal related bacteria, it was readily determined that the bacteria was external (topical). We then, had to develop a means to remove the bacteria and someone mentioned various products along with P&G soap products as they had been safely used in wildlife to remove oil from petroleum spills. We contacted Proctor and Gamble to procure samples of Fairy Liquid in the U.S. so testing of both products could begin as well as other products (non-P&G) that could theoretically be used. We had to conduct additional testing to determine if there were specific ingredients within the various products tested which would show efficacy against the bacteria and identify the specific agent(s). Once that testing was completed, we were able to positively recommend and identify specific ingredients that showed efficacy and the (P&G) products were chosen. Finally, we asked P&G to sponsor several caseloads of Fairy Liquid to be used in the U.K. to wash affected swans along the Thames in an expanded field test. Swans affected with the bacteria were taken to a swan sanctuary where many volunteers began washing the swans and the swans were kept for one week at the sanctuary to test for further efficacy. At the end of the trials, we donated the unused soap product to a U.K. swan sanctuary. We hope this information is of benefit. The Regal Swan

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