Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 2 June 2017
You can use straw that must be mucked on a daily basis to prevent pests such as ants and mice. Although the cygnet needs water to bathe and drink, it cannot have an unsupervised water feature until approximately 3-4 months of age when the uropygial gland will start working to render the feathers water repellent and feathers start to develop. Otherwise, the cygnet will drown and/or be susceptible to infection from lack of warmth. Even at 4-5 weeks of age, you will still need to closely monitor the cygnet while swimming to insure that it can safely exit and enter the water feature. Swim time should be limited to 5-10 min at a time 2-3 times daily, based upon the cygnet tiring. Then, you must completly dry the cygnet.
As the cygnet gets older and larger, then swim time increases.So, from now until the cygnet is approximately 3-4 months of age, you cannot provide it with a water feature, only a small pan of water with a 1-2 inch depth. The cygnet can climb into the pan if it wants to, but the lip of the pan cannot be sharp or too high or the cygnet may suffer detrimental feet and leg injuries. You must closely supervise the entrance into the water.
The food (poultry layer pellets and cracked corn) should be placed in the water. The cygnet must have water to drink as it eats or it can choke. Very finely chopped lettuce should also be placed in the water. Water and food must be changed 1-2 times a day depending on the appearance of the water.
Once the cygnet reaches 3-4 months of age and is strong enough to enter and exit water on its own, you need to sink a small water feature, (zero entrance), no steep banks or slippery areas. The depth of the water should be approximately 3-4 feet depending on the size of the cygnet.
Once the cygnet is able to swim the food should be placed at the bottom of the water feature to teach the cygnet how to reach under water to retrieve its food. As the swan grows, the size of the water feature also increases--size, length and depth. A sunken kiddie pool can be used depending on the size of the habitat. Again, cleanliness is of utmost importance as swans will poop in their water resources. So, as the water feature increases you will need to think about a pump to drain the water feature and a valve to add water. As the cygnet is moved to a small pond, you will need to add an aerator/de-icer.
On another note, the cygnet's habitat must have ample ventilation, no direct draft and ample sunlight. No access to natural sunlight can cause health problems such as vitamin deficiencies, blindness and infection. The Regal Swan
Messages In This Thread
- Flooring for a swan enclosure -- Katherine -- 1 June 2017
- Re: Flooring for a swan enclosure -- The Regal Swan -- 2 June 2017