Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: catching cygnets
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 18 April 2017
In Response To: catching cygnets (Susan)

Hi Susan:

The biggest question is the location of the swan family, i.e, are they on the pond free-swimming or does your mom have them in a pen?

If they are in pen, she will need to carefully net the parents and then grab the cygnets. She will need someone to help her so that she does not get hurt or the parents do not get hurt or accidently step on the cygnets.

If the swans are on the pond, she needs to have two or three kayaks gently herd the family into a pen or an area that the parents can easily be netted and the cygnets caught. If the pen is 1/2 on land and 1/2 on water, there needs to be no steep banks or areas that the cygnets can get pinned or hurt if the parents try to shield them from the captors.

Typically, veterinarians do not like to see extra birds especially parents brought into the hospital. But, if you can keep the mother with the cygnets, if the process takes longer than anticipated, the mother will stay with the cygnets and will not abandon them. If you take just the cygnets and you do not get them back in a timely manner (1-2 hours) both parents may abandon the cygnets and then your mother will have a bigger problem on her hands. Since these parents are new parents and their cygnets are the first brood to survive, it would be better to keep the mother with the cygnets so that there are not abandonment issues.

The mother can be transported in a large plastic dog carrier (protect the inside wire area so she does not rub her bill, hurt her wings or get her toes caught in the wiring at the front of the carrier. You can prevent all of this by just lining 1/2 of the wire at the front of the carrier with cardboard so there is still an adequate air supply, but the swan can't get caught in the wire or rub against it. The bottom of the plastic carrier should be lined with a towel to prevent any leg or foot injuries from slipping.

The cygnets can be kept in deep box near the carrier lined with a sheet to also prevent slipping and leg/foot injuries.

The best of all worlds would be to have the veterinarian make the trip to your mom's pond and perform the pinioning in sight of the parents by having a table set-up for the pinioning and a small barrier to keep the parents separated from the area, but within sight and hearing distance of the cygnets. Hold all cygnets until the last one is pinioned and then place all on the other side of the barrier with the parents and they will march the family down to the pond. No abandonment issues.

If your mom cannot catch the cygnets (and pinioning must be completed at 1-3 weeks of age), then she might check with a wildlife rescue group to help. Good luck. Please let us know how this works out. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

catching cygnets -- Susan -- 17 April 2017
Re: catching cygnets -- The Regal Swan -- 18 April 2017