Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Nesting female died leaving male swan alone with eggs
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 16 June 2017

Hi Elizabeth

Hopefully, this swan will stay with the eggs and cygnets once they hatch. Again, there are no guarantees with a male swan. The nest should be enclosed top to bottom (so nothing can climb over or dig under to access the birds), zero entrance with feeder inside, 1/2 in water and 1/2 on land so the swan can bathe, eat and dry out. Keeping the swan penned may enhance the likelihood that it will stay safe from predators and stay with the young once they hatch.

The pen should be covered from the bottom of the pen up to approximately 4 feet with poultry fencing on the outside perimeter of the pen so that no predators such as raccoons can reach into the pen or the cygnets cannot escape. Once the cygnets are approximately a week old, release the family out on the lake, Hopefully, the parent will not bring the cygnets back into the pen, but if he does, keep the pen closed except the opening to the front which leads directly to the lake. This will allow a safe nighttime pen for the cygnets should they not stay on or near the middle of the pond or the floating dock. This floating dock must have a zero entrance so that the swans can float or swim up to and on top of the pen so that their legs and feet are not injured.

We would also suggest that you place straw on the dock prior to next nesting season (1-2 weeks before March) so that the swan will use the dock for its nesting area.

There are no guarantees that the swan will use this area, but if you move a feeder nearby in the center of the pond, it will enhance the probability that the swan will stay nearby. Of course, it will need grass, so the swan may still access the banks for preening and sunning itself.

Finally, if the swans are having this much trouble surviving in this habitat, we would suggest that you do not get another swan. There are no guarantees that the new swan will be accepted by the male swan as most males will not usually re-pair. Although this is an individual attribute, your male swan may accept a new swan (never a swan of the same gender as they could seriously injure or kill each other). However, having cygnets in this type of environment is going to be a tough one to keep the cygnets alive and healthy.

After cygnets are approximately one year of age, the parents will chase them and you will be responsible for finding the young birds a new home. Swan breeding also requires that you have the cygnets pinioned (one wing amputated) at 1-3 weeks of age, provide all veterinary care including documentation of such care and any special breeding/maintenance license required by the state if necessary.

Cygnets and swans in general are a labor intensive maintenance/care project and if you do not have the necessary staff, veterinary care or other swan related care, then the swans will eventually suffer. It is not fair to raise so many swans in the same area, only to have to relocate them to the only home they know so that another breeding season can begin. We hope that this information is of benefit. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Nesting female died leaving male swan alone with eggs -- Elizabeth -- 15 June 2017
Re: Nesting female died leaving male swan alone with eggs -- The Regal Swan -- 15 June 2017
Re: Nesting female died leaving male swan alone with eggs -- Elizabeth -- 16 June 2017
Re: Nesting female died leaving male swan alone with eggs -- The Regal Swan -- 16 June 2017