Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Mute swans that do not reproduce
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 7 September 2016
In Response To: Mute swans that do not reproduce (Paul)

Hi Paul:

There are two questions here. How old are the birds as older birds may not produce offspring once they reach a certain point in their life. Second, are you absolutely sure you have a male swan? Female swans (as will two male swans) will mate and nest during the nesting season. Female swans will lay eggs, obviously not fertile and male swans will not produce eggs during this time period. So, the first thing to do is to contact a licensed veterinarian who can take a feather sample (with DNA tissue) from both swans and submit them to a licensed DNA laboratory. If you have a male and a female, it may be the female that is sterile, it may be the male or there may be an anatomical/genetic issue in both swans which prevent the production of viable cygnets.

In either case, the last thing you want to do is to separate these two swans as they are now a bonded pair and not only would this be inhumane and cause stress in the swans, but there is no guarantee that either will accept another mate if something happens to one or the other (separation, death, illness, etc.).

The next thing you must consider is how badly you want cygnets before making a decision regarding the two. If you want cygnets, then you will need to find a good home for both of the above swans with ample protection against predators and other problems. Then, you will need to purchase a certified male and female swan. We would suggest that you use a reputable swan specialist like Bob Knox (Knox Swans and Dogs) who will provide you with certification of gender, age and health status.

The second thing you must consider is if your state allows you to breed Mute Swans as many states are now killing Mute Swans so that they can bring in the larger Trumpeter Swans for Trophy Waterfowl Hunting purposes. This means that you will be responsible for procuring and maintaining a breeder's license through your state, provide pinioning (one wing is partially amputated at 1-3 weeks of age by a licensed veterinarian to insure that the cygnets cannot fly), provide all other veterinary care and documentation that the cygnets are healthy, pinioned, age and gender information provided prior to selling the cygnets. Mute Swans can produce 1-8 cygnets per year and you will need to find a safe habitat for them as your pond will be overrun by chasing fighting swans as the parents will chase the cygnets from the area prior to each nesting season. So, these are the hard issues that you must consider. We hope that this information is of benefit to you. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Mute swans that do not reproduce -- Paul -- 7 September 2016
Re: Mute swans that do not reproduce -- The Regal Swan -- 7 September 2016