Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Will 2 male swans build a nest?
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 13 March 2016
In Response To: Will 2 male swans build a nest? (Lisa)

Hi Lisa:

Yes, male swans will mate and nest without producing eggs. Two female swans will mate and nest, producing non-fertile swans.

The near drowning behavior is the larger male trying to mate with the smaller male. Male swans are responsible for building the nest regardless of the genders. Even though the males will not produce eggs, they will still build the nest and sit on the nest. Yes, this does occur and is somewhat hysterical as they will sit and protect their nest until the hormone levels go back to normal. This can take approximately 1-2 weeks, or until the swans get bored sitting and understand that nothing is going to happen. Then, they will return to their normal behavior.

There are several issues with this nesting.

First, walking back and forth across the highway is going to get them killed by a car or a predator that can attack them. They need to be coaxed into staying on one pond.

Second, do not place any supplemental food on the ground or anywhere near the nest as you can attract predators that may attack the swans. Ants, mice and other pests can also be attracted, so you do not want to feed directly on the nest. Place the supplemental food (1/2 poultry pellets mixed with 1/2 cracked corn) placed in the water approximately 6-7 feet from the nest and at least 3 feet in the water. You can also add some lettuce to supplement their vegetative needs. This supplemental feeding may cause the birds to stay in your pond permanently as they have a readily available food source daily.

You will need to feed the swans 2-3 times a day or place a feeder (dog café) with food inside and teach them how to use it. The feeder should be mounted on a 5 foot pole, in 3 feet of water with the feeder approximately 3-5 inches off the water. Once you place the food in the feeder, let the swans see you scoop some food out of the feeder and into the water. Prop the feeder door open by jamming food between the feeder lip and the door so that it cannot swing closed and hurt the swans. But, they will get the idea this is where the food is available. Once you see them feeding from the feeder, then you can close the door and they will learn to open the trap door and feed at will. This should keep them in the same pond and not want to walk across the road. Once food, nesting and shelter is addressed, the swans should stay.

3. If the swans produce eggs, then let them progress through the nesting phase. Hatching takes place 30-45 days from the time that the last egg is laid.

4. Once the cygnets are 1-3 weeks of age, you must have them pinioned (a portion of the part of the wing responsible for flight is amputated-and required by state law). Then, you will be responsible for finding them a good home and you may need a breeder's license if you do have cygnets.

Hopefully, you will not have this issue as many states want to see the Mute Swans killed so that they can introduce the larger Trumpeter Swans for trophy waterfowl hunting purposes. Therefore, you may need to be extremely careful when seeking any veterinarian, wildlife rescue or state wildlife assistance. By state law, you may be required to either get a breeder's license and/or state officials may destroy the birds, cygnets and nest.

This does not mean that you should dissuade the swans from trying to nest, as they will do so with or without your intervention. More than likely, if you have not seen cygnets prior to this time, you have two males and will not have to worry about cygnets. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Will 2 male swans build a nest? -- Lisa -- 13 March 2016
Re: Will 2 male swans build a nest? -- The Regal Swan -- 13 March 2016