ANIMAL-LOVERS in Reading can help desperately hungry swans this winter by feeding them - but only with certain foods.

Areas in the Thames where swans tend to flock such as Reading often leads locals to feed them, however rumours which have circulated recently leave people wondering whether they should be giving food to the birds.

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The charity Swan Support posted on Facebook to inform people about what to feed hungry swans.

The post said: "All swans along the Thames, especially in flocks such as Windsor and Reading, are hungry at this time of year.

"Weather conditions and the fast flow of the river means they are using more energy than usual, and their natural food is scarce.

"If you want to help them, please feed them with any of the following: bread, poultry corn, mixed greens, oats, pellets.

"Please ensure all food is placed in the water, preferably in a shallow area where they can dip easily and where there is not a strong current to take the food away.

"If you have any concerns about the health of a particular swan, please call us on 07968-868172 or 01628-876336. We respond 24 hours a day."

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The reminder comes after the charity reported cases of dead swans in Caversham last year, which was due to a lack of food following people's fears about feeding the animals.

A post by the charity last year said underweight swans had been dying in Reading.

It said: "This unbelieveably low weight is a direct result of him starving to death due to a lack of food.

"The swans in Caversham flock have been fed bread for many years, but due to the public being given inaccurate information regarding the suitability of feeding bread to birds, this has completely stopped.

"This dead bird is the second we have picked up in this area within the space of a week."