Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: How to save mute swan cygnets
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 9 March 2015
In Response To: How to save mute swan cygnets (Ronny)

Hi Ronny:

You DO NOT want to take the cygnets from their parents. To do so, will cause the birds to become imprinted, meaning they think that they are people instead of swans and you cannot teach them the essentials of being a swan, such as predation evasion and recognition, how to bathe, look for food, preen, etc. The cygnets need their parents. We would suggest that you build a pen (1/2 on land 1/2 in water) completely enclosed so that no predators can crawl under the pen or climb into the pen. From the bottom of the pen to approximately 4 feet high on the outside perimeter of the pen, you need to use plastic poultry fencing so that the cygnets can not get through the fencing and escape. Keep the family in the pen until the cygnets are approximately 4-6 weeks of age and then release the family onto the pond.

If you do not have a pen, then you can use a shed or barn after the swans have mated. Provide them with straw for building a nest, clean food and water daily so that you do not get pests such as ants and rats.

Now, having said all of the above, there is nothing that can compare to having the family live naturally. Even in the best of care, with a pen or shed/barn, the cygnets may get diseased, hurt or any other number of problems with pen/shed raising them. They must have adequate amount of light or they can go blind or suffer other neurological problems. We seriously doubt that the cygnets were killed by snakes. More than likely, owls, hawks, egrets, herons, turtles, bobcats, foxes, etc., or they died from disease.

If there is something wrong with the cygnets, deformed or ill, the parents will kill them to put them out of their misery and also to prevent any predators from following a sick or injured cygnet back to the entire family, thus not only jeopardizing various family members but the entire flock. Because we do not know where you are located, we do not have any idea of what predators you may have. In the case of snakes, you would need to take additional precautions, just not sure because of your location. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

How to save mute swan cygnets -- Ronny -- 8 March 2015
Re: How to save mute swan cygnets -- The Regal Swan -- 9 March 2015