Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Pinioning and breeding
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 18 March 2017
In Response To: Pinioning and breeding (Michael)

Hi Michael:

No, pinioning does not affect breeding, however if the male is more than 3 weeks of age, the pinioning must be conducted under anesthesia. Some birds cannot tolerate the anesthesia and may die under the procedure. Additionally, the older swan will have a very difficult time with the procedure the older they are due to the pain, amputation of nerves, blood vessels, bones and soft tissue. Flight feather clipping may be more humane, but must be completed every 4-6 months of age. Clipping is not permanent and one must be very vigilant in observing how quickly the feathers may grow.

There is no guarantee that either swan will accept the other. Because Trumpeter Swans, especially males are so large, they can inadvertently kill the female as well as any other waterfowl in the area.

Finally, what will you do with the cygnets (baby swans) once they are juveniles as both parents will chase them from the area, again causing possibly injury, stress and death? The swans will need to find a good home and you will need to provide all veterinary care and other documentation prior to selling or giving the young swans away as they are federally protected. We are sure you are aware of this as the zoo or whomever purchased the swans will need to have a federal possession permit on site. This may also require a breeding permit for these birds.

FYI, the reason that the federal and many state wildlife officials are promoting the killing of Mute Swans to free their territories to Trumpeter Swan introduction, as well as promoting the breeding of the Trumpeters in captivity is to increase their numbers for Trophy Waterfowl hunting purposes. So, if your Trumpeter Swans should have cygnets, the cygnets and their future cygnets may be used for hunting purposes. In many cases, these "captive produced cygnets" are being raised in captivity and then placed in wild settings to help increase the numbers. This "introduction" in Yosemite failed as Trumpeter Swans did not know where or how to find food. When the federal government stopped their supplemental feeding, the introduction failed. All of this information was stated by state and federal wildlife officials at the 2014 International Swan Symposium attended by swan, wetland and waterfowl specialists from around the world.

For this reason, we would ask that you consider the reasoning behind introducing a male swan for the production of future swan cygnets. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Pinioning and breeding -- Michael -- 17 March 2017
Re: Pinioning and breeding -- The Regal Swan -- 18 March 2017