Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 3 November 2014
Your setting is gorgeous and it could technically support up to 6 swans. However, we would not recommend this as each pair are going to have cygnets and then you are going to have a major problem with pinioning the young, veterinary care and in some instances, your state wildlife officials may require you to have a breeder's license. In any event, you will be responsible for finding a new home for each of the cygnets.
We would suggest that you keep only the cygnet from this year and the parents. If the cygnet is a male, you may have to find it a home as it may become a rival to the male parent. If the cygnet is a female, she should do just fine. Should something happen to one of the swan parents, the cygnet will already know the habitat and will pal around with the remaining parent, (unless it is a male--- this is an individual attribute and you may need to wait and see how the
parent(s) react to the young bird once nesting season begins). Still, this all could work out well.
If at all possible, we would recommend that you solve the cygnet problem by only maintaining a pair of swans of the same gender (male/male or female/female). This may not be possible in your setting if you have already set up to receive the swans. YOU DO not want to separate the parents as they have bonded and this would not be a good scenario for either separated bird.
The aerator should be placed so that no part of the pond freezes. This may mean the use of two aerators. If any of the pond freezes, the young bird is chased from the pond (this is especially true of any of the swans---should they stay out of the pond at night during the winter months), coyotes, wolves, foxes, domesticated cats, dogs and other predators can access the frozen pond and kill the birds. Additionally, the birds can drown if they are not able to leave the water. Realistically, the best point during the winter is to bring the swan's indoors, especially during very cold temperatures. Even though swans are built for cold weather, you swans were raised in a captive setting, not the wild. Therefore, they are more susceptible to extreme temperatures.
We have a book, Swans of the World Habitat: Setting the Standard for Swan Conservation that you can find on this site and our website (www.theregalswan.com). This book tells swan owners how to set-up and maintain a safe and adequate swan habitat. The Regal Swan