cygnet and swan on Mill Island, Nantwich (pic by Jan Millar)

A baby swan witnessed by many walking near Nantwich Riverside and lake in the summer, has been killed.

It’s feared the popular cygnet, the only survivor of three eggs from a nest of mating swans on Mill Island, was attacked by a dog.

Hundreds of residents had watched the swan family with interest and photographed the natural spectacle unfold close to the town centre over the past few months.

cygnet Ziggy on Nantwich RiversideAnd the surviving cygnet appeared to be enjoying her Nantwich surroundings, as these pictures from local resident Jan Millar show.

But RSPCA staff fear it was attacked earlier this week after staff were alerted to the badly injured bird.

It had to be put to sleep at RSPCA Stapeley Grange wildlife centre as its injuries were too severe to survive.

Jan Millar, who had nicknamed the cygnet Ziggy, said: “I have been photographing the family since he hatched.

“I contacted Stapeley Grange and sadly they confirmed a cygnet was attacked on Nantwich Lake on Tuesday had to be put to sleep as its injuries were so severe.

“It’s so sad.  Ziggy had beaten all the odds to be born at all.

“Nantwich had taken the whole swan family to their hearts, and now we have all lost something special because of someone not controlling their dog around them.

“I wanted to share this, my last photo of him, with all who were so fond of him.

“I am also sure the RSPCA could be grateful for any information about the incident.”

(All pictures courtesy of Jan Millar)

Baby Ziggy with mum and dad near Nantwich Lake


  1. Jo Trans says:

    Got to say that I agree with the Furious Nantwich Resident – I am a dog owner who has lived close to the lake for almost 8 years.
    In that time, I have walked my dogs at least twice a day, every day around the lake and along the river – MY DOG HAS NEVER BEEN LET OFF THE LEAD IN ALL OF THAT TIME, when I approach wild fowl I always shorten the lead to a maximum of a couple of feet.
    None of this is difficult, so why do so many dog owners have so much difficulty being similarly considerate – I have lost count of the number of times that my walks have been spoiled by other peoples dogs roaming free – on a side issue, has anyone else noticed how these are usually the owners who also develope temporary blindness when their dogs squat?.
    Surely, if enough people petition the council a bylaw could be passed making us of a lead compulsory, that way wildlife, people and domestic animals could enjoy the open space along side each other.

  2. Mike says:

    Here is one videofeed of Ziggy for those are interested:

  3. Another furious Nantwich resident says:

    I fully support a dogs on leads only rule around all Nantwich riverside footpaths.Far too many dog owners let them run loose on what is now a very popular area with lots of small children and wildlife around.One loose dog frightened my granddaughter by jumping at her and covered her in mud.I’ve enjoyed watching the cygnet grow up and this senseless attack sickens me.

  4. Mike says:

    Absolutely sad and useless. The owner of this incident needs to be identified, punished and made public by name. If not next year can happen the same.

  5. John says:

    Some dog owners just don’t see what their little darlings get up to do they? Like hundreds of others, I watched the cygnet grow, and I’m saddened by its death. In the scheme of things, it’s a minor event, but it does show how thoughtless some people are (no doubt the same people who stand by as their dogs try to take a piece of my leg, or force off my bike into the path of traffic)

  6. Phil and Carol. says:

    My partner and I don’t ave much to say that’s good about the RSPCA,but they couldn’t ave been doing their job very well.

  7. Graham says:

    An elderly lady witnessed the incident, saying a man let his greyhound dog off the leash. It’s instincts took over and went straight for the sygnet. Not only is it tragic for the sygnet and parents but also heartbreaking for the many children and adults who have watched the sygnet thrive.

  8. Yvonne Charlesworth says:

    What time did this happen as me and my husband were walking
    across the bridge at the weir about 2.30 on Tuesday
    afternoon and the swans were there with the cygnet, I feel
    very sad about this as we have watched the swans from
    building the nest to the birth of the cygnet.

  9. Riverside resident says:

    This news is very sad and will anger all the people who had grown to love the new little resident. Hopefully the feelings will run deep enough to ensure that dog walkers keep a check on their dogs when around the feathered friends we live amongst!!!

  10. Sue says:

    I am so upset by this.
    The problem is that even if you keep your dog on a lead around the wildfowl, the birds are so tame that they come up to you.
    I know of someone whose dog bit a swan last year. She was on a short lead and the swan came up to her and was agressive to the dog, so the dog retaliated.
    Obviously I don’t know what happened here, but maybe the dog was on a lead and the cygnet went up to them because it was so tame?
    It might even be an idea to have a dog free zone around where the birds are.
    It is an overreaction to say ‘keep your dogs on leads at all time’. Dogs need some free running or they don’t get enough exercise. It’s just common sense not to let your dog off the lead around wildlife. it’s just asking for trouble.
    I feel so desperatly sad for those poor swans after everything they went through trying to have the baby.

  11. Jane says:

    Cygnet attack. This is very upsetting. I am a dog lover but I am so angry that people still think it’s essential to let their dog off the lead around the lake when there is such a high number of wonderful wildfowl who ‘live’ there. Should the council impose a ‘lead only’ ban on the pathways around the lake?

  12. Furious Nantwich Resident says:

    It’s an absolute disgrace. how sickening to find out that this poor cygnet has been killed by no fault of it’s own by yet ANOTHER stupid brainless owner letting their dog off the lead. Why did they not interveen? Action needs to be taken now this cannot go on. The owner of this incident needs to be identified, far too many dogs are being let to roam free without any control. The river and lake is home for those swans and they’re having to put up with this on a day to day basis. All of my dogs are kept on leads when they go for a walk AT ALL TIMES and I have to put up with brainless idiots letting their dog run up to mine starting fights and causing trouble.. then just walk by all smug..

    A campaign needs to be started to stop this from happening again. This poor cygnet was just starting it’s life and was adored by many many people!!! what a disgrace the owner needs to hang their head in shame!!!!!

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