Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Molting swans intimidated
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 1 July 2015
In Response To: Molting swans intimidated (Lynn)

Hi Lynn:

Glad the timeouts worked. But, payback is not good. The ducks are getting their payback as the swans cannot fight back with moulting feathers. However, swans are like elephants, they have great memories and the ducks better pay attention once the feathers grow back.

We do not want anything to happen to the instigator duck, but he has to have a timeout and leave the swan alone.

Is there any way that you might bring Mr. Duck into your house, garage/shed or other secure area that a predator cannot dig under or climb into/over?

If you do not have a shed/garage or other such facility, bring him indoors and keep the duck in a large animal carrier lined at the bottom with a sheet or other non-slip substrate. If you can bring him in at night, the swan and he will both get protection at night, but will also be able to understand that the habitat is to be shared. The swan will reassume his dominance at night once the feathers grow back. But, if you only keep the swan fenced, the more dominant the duck will become.

In the daytime, if you have to capture the duck for a timeout, place him in the carrier and let him observe the swan on the pond. That will also hasten the learning process as the swan is getting water time and he is not. Remember to capture and place in the carrier immediately once the negative behavior is observed. If you wait several minutes, the duck does not associate chasing/messing with the swan as the behavior you are trying to correct.

Mr. Instigator Duck will learn that he is going into timeout anytime he messes with the swan for no other good reason except payback. Ducks, swans and other waterfowl/wildlife/animal species understand timeouts real quick when their freedom is taken away from them for bad behavior.

If you can get the lead bully for the timeout, even better. Bullies have followers and if you teach the bully that his ways have negative consequences (taken off the pond and away from his pals and habitat), the others learn real quick not to engage in the negative behavior. Please let us know how this works out. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Molting swans intimidated -- Lynn -- 1 July 2015
Re: Molting swans intimidated -- The Regal Swan -- 1 July 2015