Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Mute swan family order
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 9 April 2016
In Response To: Mute swan family order (Lisa)

Hi Lisa:

Are you absolutely sure that you have 3 females and a male? Usually, females will not chase a male, and normally a male will not be too defensive towards any female. He may nip and chase, but he will not be as defensive toward a female as he would be towards a male.

Our guess is that you have the mother swan, the young male swan and the two remaining are a brother and sister that are now pairing and do not want the odd man out interfering. This dynamic should work its way out. In fact, the young male may take the mother as a mate if she is willing. However, re-pairing after the loss of a mate is an individual species/member attribute.

As long as the mother swan can enter and exit the water to feed and bathe there should be no problem. This is the same case with the swan that is being chased. However, if these two cannot enter and exit the water to bathe, preen, eat and drink, they can experience stress which can lead to dehydration, starvation, illness and possibly death.

The dynamic should change in a couple of weeks once the hormone levels go back to normal levels after the nesting/mating season. Should the two that are chasing produce young, then they may still act defensive around the nest and young. How big is the lake? If the lake is couple of acres where the swans can go to one side and be separated, this should not be a problem. If this is not the case and the situation gets detrimental to the health of the chased and mother swan, you may need to capture the chased swan and provide him with a new home. If he is able to fly, you will need to place him in a home that he can be readily captured every 4 months to clip his wings (not pinioned-amputation of a portion of the wing which should be conducted at 1-3 weeks of age. Otherwise, it is very difficult procedure on an older swan which must involve major surgery and anesthesia. Some swans don't make it through the procedure). Clipping involves a pair of scissors and the feathers are clipped which is easier on the older swan, but must be conducted at least 4 months of age or the swan can fly away. In Florida, this is not a good situation due to predators such as alligators that the swans are not familiar.

Should you need to find him a home, please let us know and we will try to assist you. Until then, see if the situation does not calm down and everyone begins to get along once more. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Mute swan family order -- Lisa -- 7 April 2016
Re: Mute swan family order -- The Regal Swan -- 9 April 2016