Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 17:54 UK

Greedy swans cost farms 250,000

Greedy swans eating watercress

Large numbers of greedy swans on a Hampshire farm are costing watercress growers about £250,000 each year by eating their crops.

The birds have been dining at Drayton Watercress Farm in Alresford for the last six years.

Farmers estimate that the birds eat up to 50 tonnes of crops each year and say they are hard to scare off.

Farmer Tom Jesty said: "If you try to chase them off they peck at your ankles. They can get nasty."

The watercress is protected by netting when it is very young but the nets must be removed to allow the crop to grow.

Natural England recommends farmers use loud bangs to scare the birds away.

But Mr Jesty, of the Watercress Company, said: "Unfortunately they take no notice of gas guns, they know they're safe - they're the Queen's birds."

Print Sponsor

Swan attacks river's rowers
09 Apr 09 |  England
Swan recovering after ice rescue
16 Jan 09 |  Sussex

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific