Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 11 April 2017
You need to build a pen completely enclosed top to bottom so predators cannot climb over and into the pen or dig under the pen to get to the swan. The pen should be 1/2 on the bank and 1/2 in the water with a feeder (food is 1/2 poultry layer pellets and 1/2 cracked corn-with supplemental lettuce) inside the pen.
Keep the swan in the pen for approximately 2 weeks until the swan understands that this is its new habitat and you are its new keeper. If you release the swan directly onto your pond without the use of an acclimation pen, it will begin to wander to search for its old habitat. The pen also lets the swan know its boundaries and understand if there are predators are in the area, especially at night.
Feed and speak to the swan to acclimate it to you and your voice. Then, you can release it onto your pond. Ensure that there are no steep areas of bank or abrasive areas that the swan has to climb into and out of the water as this can cause serious leg and foot injuries. Also, ensure that any area that you do not want the swan to access is properly enclosed. If a swan cannot see on the other side of a habitat, it will not try to leave. You must ensure that there are no areas that predators (i.e., coyotes, panthers, raccoons, foxes, alligators, etc.) can access your pond and attack the swan. If any of these predators are in the area, you may need to use the pen as a safe night pen until you can check the habitat before releasing the swan onto the pond daily.
If you can provide a small island in the center of the pond or 8-10 feet from the bank, place the feeder near the island, the swan will go back to the feeder.
After releasing the swan from the pen, move the feeder to the island and hopefully, the swan will stay nearby especially at night and away from the bank if you cannot keep him in the pen overnight.
You will definitely need a boat with small motor to capture the swan in the event of a major emergency as the swan will not come to you. You will also need to find the name of the swan's veterinarian so that you have this resource if needed. Enjoy! The Regal Swan