Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Swan with angel wing
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 14 December 2015
In Response To: Swan with angel wing (Priscilla)

Hi Priscilla:

Is he tame enough for you to catch him? He should be relatively easy to capture since he can't fly. He may not like you for a couple of weeks, but at least you can help him. If you can capture him, is there a shed, garage or barn that you can keep him in during extreme inclement weather?

As long as the temperature doesn't drop below 32 F or the wind is under 40 miles an hour and the pond does not freeze, he should be okay. However, he still needs to be supplementally fed. Does the pond have a de-icer (aerator)?

If not, and the pond can freeze, he needs to be taken inside until the pond unfreezes or he can drown, become dehydrated or be attacked by a predator that can walk onto the ice.

A garage, shed or barn can be utilized for temporary winter housing. You need to provide straw and an enclosed area within the garage if you use a garage. It also must be free from gas fumes, etc., same for a shed. If you have a barn the swan can actually be housed in a stall. You will need to ensure that warm straw is used under the bird and mucked out daily. Clean water with food should be provided daily ensuring that ants, rats and other pests are not in the straw.

Straw should be used because it is warm and provides a soft substrate free from rocks, gravel or abrasives that can cause injuries to the swan's feet. You will need to water him down (warm water) daily to ensure that he maintains he water repellency once you release him back onto the pond or he can drown. So, this watering needs to increase and completely drench the bird two to three days prior to releasing him onto the pond.

A mixture of cracked corn and poultry layer pellets should be submerged in a large bowl of water that the swan can eat and lettuce added as a vegetation source for the swan during the winter.

If you cannot house him, you might check to see if there is a local waterfowl/wildlife rescue facility that might be able to house him for the winter. You want to check first to ensure that this facility will not kill the swan based upon state wildlife officials and their regulations and will return the swan back to the pond in the spring. Some states require the killing of the Mute Swans or refusal of help by wildlife entities so you need to do some research before giving too much information. Good luck and please let us know how this situation progresses. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Swan with angel wing -- Priscilla -- 14 December 2015
Re: Swan with angel wing -- The Regal Swan -- 14 December 2015