THE FIRST CYGNETS OF 2018 HATCHED AT ABBOTSBURY SWANNERY – WITH ROYAL CONNECTIONS!
The first cygnets of 2018 have hatched at Abbotsbury Swannery – a very welcome sign that summer can’t be far away. In keeping with the excitement that is building for the forthcoming Royal Wedding, the father is not from Abbotsbury but an incoming ‘Crown bird’, which means that unlike the swans that hatch at Abbotsbury, it can be claimed for the Queen.
The arrival of the first cygnet at Abbotsbury, for many, signals the start of summer; particularly welcome in Dorset after a cold and snowy early spring.
The Abbotsbury swans have established over 120 nests this year, and the sight of the newly-hatched cygnets in nest 4 has delighted visitors to the Swannery. The next nest is expected to hatch over the weekend, with hundreds more new arrivals emerging over the next six weeks.
About the Swannery
The Swannery is the only place in the world where visitors can walk through a colony of Mute Swans, get close up to their nests and eggs and see the cygnets hatching right under their noses. Visitors, particularly children, can also participate in the mid-day and afternoon feeds. Abbotsbury Tourism, who also run the Children’s Farm and Subtropical Gardens, won the Dorset Echo Industry Award for Best Contribution to Local Tourism in June 2017 and the swannery attracts visitors from across the globe.
The swans lay an egg at two day intervals (anything from one to twelve in all) and incubation does not begin until the clutch is complete. This ensures that all the eggs in the nest will hatch on the same day, 35 days after the final egg of the clutch has been laid. Towards the final days of the incubation, the parents and cygnets make contact by calling to each other through the eggshell!
The Swanherd and his staff feed the swans three times a day, the adults on wheat and the cygnets initially on chick crumb, a crushed pellet full of protein, along with grass cuttings. Their parents also stir up natural foods such as algae and invertebrates from the bottom of the water and pull up vegetation for their young.
Visitors can walk safely among the nests while hundreds of baby swans are hatching out on to the paths. This tremendous spectacle is one of the highlights of the English summer
History of the Swannery
Abbotsbury Swannery was established in the 11th century by Benedictine monks, who farmed the swans for food. The swan population at Abbotsbury Swannery can double in June and July, when non-breeding swans from surrounding areas seek sanctuary as they become temporarily flightless do to the annual moult of their flight feathers. In November and December, the population triples when hundreds of other swans arrive to come to feed on the plentiful eelgrass growing further down The Fleet Lagoon.
To save money buy tickets online before your visit to Abbotsbury Swannery, Gardens or Childrens Farm – with even more saving if you buy a passport and visit all three attractions!