Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Mute swans of the same sex
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 16 July 2015
In Response To: Mute swans of the same sex (Yenise)

Hi Yenise:

The problem you now have is that these swans have bonded, regardless if they are the same gender. This means that you would have to separate them and this is not a good idea for several reasons:

1. They have bonded and the swans will grieve and look for the other swan if you have to separate them to introduce another gender.

2. Even if you try to introduce swans of a different gender, there is no guarantee that the swans will re-pair. You will also need to construct a pen (1/2 in water and 1/2 on land, zero entrance covered completely top to bottom so that predators cannot climb over or dig under to access the swans). A feeder will need to be placed inside the pen and you will need to clean and change the food on a weekly basis to prevent mold, especially during rainy months. The perimeter of the pen, bottom rail up to 4 feet will need to be covered by poultry fencing so that raccoons cannot reach into the pen and grab the swans. The pen needs to be at least 12' x 24'

Then, the new swans will need to be placed in the pen and observed to ensure that no signs of aggression by the original birds is present. If so, the original birds may seriously injure and accidently kill the new swans because they are not accepting the new birds. If no aggression is observed, then you can release the swans onto the lake after 2 weeks. Again, with no signs of aggression. You will need to have a boat, kayak or canoe ready during the release in the event a rescue is needed.

If there are signs of aggression, you will need to find a new home for the swans as the breeder may or may not accept them back and will certainly not refund your money.

If there is no aggression, and you are able to place two new swans on the pond and the original swans re-pair, mate and produce cygnets, you will be responsible in most states for obtaining a breeder's license. You will be responsible for all veterinary care, pinioning (the rendering of the cygnets unable to fly by having a veterinary perform a surgical amputation of a portion of the wing) at 1-3 weeks of age.

You will also be responsible for all documentation concerning the veterinary care, pinioning and any other veterinary/care issues so that when the cygnets must be placed in a new home, the new owners have proper documentation of their care.

You will need to find the cygnets a new home. A pair of Mute Swans can produce 1-4 cygnets a year. Since you will have two pair, you will have 1-8 cygnets to care for on a yearly basis. The parents will chase the cygnets from the habitat at approximately 8-10 months prior to the next breeding season. If the cygnets are constantly chased, they can be come stressed, dehydrated, susceptible to illness and injury. This is why they will need to have a new home. Again, breeders are probably not going to take back your cygnets even if you pay them for transportation costs, etc.

Another issue to be addressed is the size of your pond and if one or two families can safely live without the fear of being attacked by predators, chased from the habitat by the dominant family, etc.

This is why we would strongly suggest that you rethink the issue of getting opposite gendered swans. The introduction may or may not work, it will be stressful on your already bonded pair and you will be responsible for veterinary and breeding bills which can become costly very quickly.

In the case of swans, less is sometimes much better. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Mute swans of the same sex -- Yenise -- 16 July 2015
Re: Mute swans of the same sex -- The Regal Swan -- 16 July 2015