RSPCA warns swans are turning pink because park visitors keep doing one thing

Two affected swans were cleaned up and released

Barney Davis
Thursday 07 March 2024 15:12 GMT
Related video: Volunteers contribute to swan protection efforts in NW China's Xinjiang

Park visitors have been urged to stop feeding swans bread after several of the protected birds turned pink because they ate mouldy crumbs left in the water.

Visitors to Moses Gate Country Park in Bolton called the RSPCA after spotting the bevy of swans looking tickled pink.

The charity said the group of birds were suffering from “pink feather syndrome”, which can result in swans struggling to swim and fly.

Not so pretty in pink: Swans are being transformed by their diet
Not so pretty in pink: Swans are being transformed by their diet (RSPCA)

The condition is caused by a fungus which occurs when bread starts to decay in water.

People are being urged to feed the protected birds cabbage, spinach and lettuce or bird seed instead of bread.

RSPCA animal rescue officer Stephen Wickham, who collected the swans, said: “We know how much people enjoy feeding swans, ducks and geese, however, it’s important to make sure they are given the right food.

“Unfortunately, bread fills them up without giving them the nutrients they need and it can affect their health.

“We’d encourage people to offer them finely chopped greens, such as cabbage, spinach and lettuce, as well as mixed corn, grain, wheat or bird seed.

“Any feeding should also be done in moderation and only as a supplement to their natural diet.”

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