Ask the Swan Specialist

Incubation period
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 14 January 2008
In Response To: (Message Deleted by Poster) (Cockrum)

Hi Cockrum:

Great questions!!

1. The pen is probably not intentionally smashing the eggs. Swans are notorious for their clumsy heavy big feet. As they walk around the nest, it is not unusual to have casualties, even after the cygnets are hatched. We rescued a young cygnet from a male swan who was trying to protect the young bird and landed up standing on top of its head, nearly smothering it. So, we aren't entirely sure that this is an intentional occurence.

2. Mother nature dictates the viability of young. If there was something wrong with the cygnet, (i.e, sick, too weak to break out of the shell, etc.), then the young bird would die in the egg. We have seen this many times with what appears to be a normal egg and normal nesting season. The thickness of the egg may have played a part in the cygnet not being able to hatch or it could have been the result of being in the nest for an excessive amount of time and had nothing to do with the lack of a hatching. We're not really sure if there is a knowledge base regarding the normal thickness of a swan egg.

3. Just because research states 35-40 days, does not mean anything. Each bird knows how many eggs she is supposed to lay. Incubation usually does not occur until the last egg is layed. Therefore, if we count 35 days from the date that the first egg is hatched, we would be off by as much as 2 weeks. Most eggs are layed every other day and if there are 8 eggs, you are looking at almost a 2 week period before actual incubation occurs. Temperature (weather) also affects incubation.

4. Sometimes, eggs remain in the nest, long after the pen has completed nesting. MOTHER BIRD knows best. We would strongly suggest that you not intervene. We have seen this happen numerous occasions and it rarely results in anything positive for the young bird. The cygnet can become imprinted in which it thinks it is a human, acts like a human and depends solely on human care. The bird will have a hard time being released even in a semi-captive setting among other swans. In some instances, the bird may have something wrong with it and you are only prolonging the inevitable because the bird may eventually die within a short period. Hopefully, we have provided some answers which can benefit your situation. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

(Message Deleted by Poster) -- Cockrum -- 14 January 2008
Incubation period -- The Regal Swan -- 14 January 2008