Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 17 October 2013
Swans will mate for two weeks prior to nesting. So allow the swans time outside until you see them beginning to pull at grasses to start a nest.
There are a couple of issues in the barn.
1. Once they begin nesting in the barn, they will need a small water feature in the barn as you do not want the young birds to leave the nest or eggs. To do so will encourage possible abandonment.
2. The wire screen may not be strong enough against predators. Once eggs are present, predators are unrelentless when it comes to getting to eggs or the baby swans (cygnets). You might think of building a pen enclosed top to bottom (1/2 in water and 1/2 on land in the smaller pond if you cannot provide a small level water feature in the barn. Place straw on land and provide a feeder inside the pen. The feeder needs to be in the water to prevent ants and other pests and away from the nest so that you can refill without threatening the family. The pen should be 12x24 and built to keep predators from digging under or climbing into the pen. Additionally, you will need to cover the lower portion of the pen so the cygnets do not crawl or swim through the holes of the pen and get separated from the parents.
3. Once the cygnets hatch, they will need to stay with the parents and have access to water. The family needs this nesting area for 2 weeks. So if the barn is the safest area, you will need a water feature in the barn away from the nest to change water and be safe from the male.
4. You need to break up the hay and lay it flat on the ground. These are young birds and need some help in understanding that the hay is for their nest. A bale possibly looks more like a barrier.
5. The farther away the water is from the nest ( between the barn and water) the greater the chance a predator such as a wild dog or hawk can pick off the baby swans as they follow their parents in and out of the barn.
6. Cygnets are very fragile when it comes to parasites, fungi and illnesses. The Koi may produce an unsuitable habitat for the cygnets. Conversely, cygnets produce a copious amount of fecal matter which may not be healthy for the Koi. We hope this helps. The Regal Swan
Messages In This Thread
- My black swans -- Allen -- 14 October 2013