Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Pair of trumpeter swans chase 6 horses around the pasture, freaking out the horses
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 20 April 2016

Hi Richard:

This is normal behavior at this time of the year for all swans that have become of age for mating/nesting. Your young swans are experiencing a rise in testosterone levels and they do not know how to deal with this sudden burst of hormones. So, they behave like nesting/mating swans and become rather defensive toward you (it does not matter during this time of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, regardless if you are the swan keeper) and anything else that enters or nears their habitat (horses, dogs, cats, etc.).

The best thing you can do is to place the swans in a safe area such as a shed/barn so that no predators can access the swans. This shelter must be enclosed top to bottom so that no predators can enter the shelter and the swans have adequate ventilation but no direct drafts. The swans should be placed on straw so they can build a nest (males will build a nest and nest although obviously no eggs produced). The swans should be provided with a clean water container with submerged food (cracked corn and poultry layer pellets). You will only need to keep them in this shelter until the hormones dissipate (usually 1-2 weeks) and the swan behavior will return to normal. You will need to keep the straw clean so that no pests such as rats or ants get into the straw. You will also need to thoroughly soak the swans with water so that they can preen and keep their feathers and uropygial oil gland (preen gland) healthy as well as maintain water repellency.

If you do not soak the swans and return them onto the pond, they could drown because they are not water repellent. This soaking will allow the birds to act as they are on the pond and in the water and maintain their feather health.

DO NOT hit them with paint balls. You could seriously injure the swans and at the least cause a blood feather bleed. This could be detrimental to the swan's health if it continues to bleed. Furthermore, any paint or other type of material that gets on the feathers will be rubbed into the body and the rest of the feathers by the swan which could affect feather health and prevent water repellency. This again, could cause the swans to drown. Please let us know how this situation progresses. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Pair of trumpeter swans chase 6 horses around the pasture, freaking out the horses -- Richard -- 19 April 2016
Re: Pair of trumpeter swans chase 6 horses around the pasture, freaking out the horses -- The Regal Swan -- 20 April 2016