Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: One male and two female swans, new male swan dead
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 22 May 2014

Hi Sandy:

Unfortunately, this scenario may not get any better. Once the swans are paired, they will chase any odd man/woman out, refusing to let them eat, bathe, drink or exist anywhere in their territory. This places undue stress on the bird being chased and can lead to the swan becoming ill and even dying. If the swan takes a major beating, internal trauma can be sustained and that also can kill the swan.

Now, having said this, if your lake/pond is extremely large so that the two pairs can go to opposite sides and co-exist from the other side of the lake/pond, then there might be a chance to work things out. You will need to build a pen (enclosed top to bottom to prevent any predator from gaining access to the new swan) with a feeder inside. The pen needs to be ˝ in water and ˝ on land. The pen will allow the new swan to acclimate itself to you, its new feeding system, the habitat and the other swans. You should observe all the swans to ensure that there are no signs of aggression toward the new swan. If aggression occurs, you need to find the new swan another home. You will also need to observe for any aggression once you release the swans and have a boat readily accessible to affect a rescue if necessary. The new swan needs to be kept in the pen for approximately 2-3 weeks to acclimate itself.

On another note, many states now require a permit to possess the swans and cygnets may require a breeder’s permit. Once the cygnets reach 8-10 months of age, they will also be chased and possibly beaten to remove them from the habitat. Swans can breed once a year producing 1-8 cygnets. This means that you will need to have the cygnets (pinioned-rendered unable to fly by amputating a portion of one wing and its flight feathers)(per state law) and this procedure must occur between 1-3 weeks of age. This means that you will have to capture the cygnets, find an experienced avian/waterfowl veterinarian to perform the procedure and return the cygnets to the parents very quickly (no longer than 4 hours) for the parents to accept the cygnets back into the habitat.

Once the cygnets have been chased from the habitat, you will need to find them a new home, provide all veterinary documentation regarding vaccinations (against botulism), micro-chipping, pinioning and any other requirement necessitated by your state wildlife laws.

So, as you can see, it may be easier to go ahead and either let the remaining three swans live and hopefully, coexist or find the opposite gendered swan another home and forget the cygnets. We hope this information is of benefit to you. Should you need further information, we have a book, Swans of the World Habitats: Setting the Standard for Swan Conservation on this website as well as ( The book will provide you with much needed information regarding the provision of a safe and comfortable habitat for the swans. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

One male and two female swans, new male swan dead -- Sandra -- 22 May 2014
Re: One male and two female swans, new male swan dead -- The Regal Swan -- 22 May 2014