Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: How to care for a swan
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 21 October 2013
In Response To: How to care for a swan (Asterios)

Hi Asterios:

We're not sure about the wheat or vitamin solution, so you may need to check with a local veterinarian or the breeder from whom you purchased the swans.

You should feed the swans poultry layer pellets, cracked corn and lettuce. This will supplementally feed them in a captive setting. Too much protein in the diet can cause a condition called angel wing where the wings grow backward because they cannot keep up with the premature growth. Water them down at least 5-6 times a day if you do not have a pond for them at this time.

Ensure that the enclosure is completely safe from predators digging under the enclosure or climbing over the top to reach the swans. The biggest threat to swans in your area are probably fox and mink.

As you build the water feature, you will need to sink it into the ground with a zero entrance. If you have steep banks or other areas, the swans can hurt their legs or feet which can be extremely detrimental to them.

The substrate should be of grass, soil, straw or other non-slip and non-abrasive surface. DO NOT use concrete, pavement or rocky surfaces such as gravel as these can cause bumblefoot and hurt their feet. Natural grass would be the best although it may not last too long because the swans will eat the grass to supplement their aquatic vegetation needs. This is why lettuce is so important for their diet.

Ensure that the swans are protected from extreme temperatures. Even though swans are made to withstand very cold climates, extended exposure to sub zero temperatures, winds and rain without the ability to get or keep warm or dry can cause pneumonia, viral duck enteritis, Avian Flu and other illnesses.

If you can build them a small enclosure, where you can bring them in during severe weather, this would be very beneficial. A small barn, garage, or shed would work as long as their is ample ventilation, but no direct drafts so that the swans cannot keep warm. Use straw as the substrate. During extreme weather, watering the swans down is not necessary as you want them be dry and warm. If you keep them indoors for more than 2-3 days, then you might want to wet the birds with semi-warm water in order for the swans to dry and preen their feathers. You will need to keep pests such as ants and rats from the enclosure and again, completely enclosed to prevent predators. We hope that this information is of benefit. If you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

How to care for a swan -- Asterios -- 20 October 2013
Re: How to care for a swan -- The Regal Swan -- 21 October 2013