Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 3 February 2016
There are several considerations prior to obtaining swans. Below is a brief synopsis:
1. Do you need a permit to possess the swans from your state wildlife officials?
2. If you get birds of opposite gender and they can reproduce, you may need a breeder’s license from the state and you will be responsible for all veterinary medical care including pinioning (the amputation of a portion of the wing so that the birds cannot fly-this must be conducted between 1-3 weeks of age). You will also be responsible for finding new homes for the cygnets (baby swans) once the parents chase them from the habitat prior to the next breeding season. Swans can produce 1-8 cygnets a year.
3. What predators do you have in your area? The swans will need to be protected from predators and inclement weather, which means you may have to train them to come indoors or into a secure pen at night 1 hour prior to dusk and released back onto the pond 1 hour after dawn. You may need to change-up the times of release to and from the pond so that the predators do not catch on to the release time and attack the swans.
4. Besides the nighttime pen or indoor facility, you will need to build a pen for the introduction process. The swans will walk away from your pond if you just drop them into the pond and do not use an acclimation pen. The acclimation pen is built so that ˝ of the pen is in the water and ˝ of the pen is on land. There should be a zero entry and no slippery or abrasive surface should be used in either structure as they can cause life threatening injuries to the birds’ legs or feet. The pen must be completely enclosed top to bottom so that predators cannot dig under the pen to attack the swans or climb over and into the pen to access the birds. A feeder using ˝ cracked corn and ˝ poultry layer pellets should be used so that the birds can feed at will, but protected from pests such as ants and rats. An indoor night time pen must be cleaned daily so that pests do not accumulate. Additionally, the feeder must be cleaned frequently so that mold does not accumulate which can sicken or even kill the birds. Finally, they should be fed lettuce to help supplement their diets, especially if there is not enough aquatic vegetation for them to eat.
5. Do you have the time to care for the swans? Care is extremely labor intensive. You can’t just drop off a captive swan into a setting and expect them to be safe. You will need to be on guard constantly to ensure that they are not sick, susceptible to predators, etc.
Should you still want to procure swans, we would suggest that you contact Bob Knox 847-875-3947.
We would strongly suggest that you procure two male swans so that you do not have to care for cygnets on a yearly basis. The male swans are much larger and may be able to fend off a predator should they get attacked, even though there is no guarantee. Because of their larger size, the male birds may have more of a fighting chance against a predator rather than the smaller females. The Regal Swan