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Re: Orphaned cygnet does not eat
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 9 May 2017
In Response To: Orphaned cygnet does not eat (Tracy)

Hi Tracy:

The cygnets do not know how to get their food from the water as the mother swan brings the food to the surface. So, here is what you do.

Take a very shallow pan or a thick lid to a pan/can. Place the crumbles on top of the pan/lid and add water so that there is at least 2 inches of water on top of the crumbles and that some of the crumbles float to the top of the water.

Tap the lid/pan. Mother swan taps/notifies the cygnets that they are to eat. Having both together, should help the issue. Cygnets do eat on their own 24 hours after hatching. The food just needs to be brought up to the top of the water so that the cygnet can eat. Do not add any lettuce at this time. Stick to crumbles. Once the cygnets are eating, add cracked corn (a necessity because of the need for Vitamin A). Without Vitamin A, the cygnets can develop a neurological problem from the lack of this nutrient. If you tube feed, you risk the possibility of choking, but if the cygnets do not eat on their own, you will need to do something quickly as they can starve and/or risk dehydration. You just want to remove the tube feeding and begin self feeding as quickly as possible. Use a food in tube feeding such as Exact or similar that is used to start young birds feeding.

Finally, there are several other issues that must be addressed. You need to find a very shallow pan/container and add water. Place the food beneath the water and allow the cygnets to float as they eat. This is something that needs to be taught immediately once the cygnets begin to eat as they need to learn to stick their heads under the water to eat.

Keep the cygnets in water for approximately 5 minutes, then dry thoroughly and keep them warm. You need to watch them closely as they can drown by being in the water for too long. Once the cygnets are approximately 2-3 weeks of age, you can add 5 minutes and increase the swimming period to 2-3 times a day. Again, as they age and get larger, the swimming time and number of swims increases, but you still have to watch closely. Once the are older, you can dry thoroughly and keep them warm, but they need to learn to preen and begin to use their uropygial oil (preen gland) to make themselves water repellent and keep their feathers healthy.

Once major issue is leg and foot injuries. Keep the cygnets on a sheet, no towel as they can suffocate. Or, keep them on dry straw so that they can stay warm and that the substrate (flooring is not slippery or abrasive). The pan they are swimming or feeding must be extremely shallow so that if they try to crawl into or out of the water, they do not injure their legs.

Be careful in handling the cygnets as they can develop "spraddle leg" which can be deadly should the cygnets not be able to use their legs. Look up "spraddle leg" in poultry and it will show you how to properly handle the cygnets. The more you handle the swans, the more the chances of this condition and also imprinting. If you can keep handling to a minimum (you don't want imprinting, but you also don't want swans that are afraid of people since you are going to have to find them a safe captive setting for the rest of their lives), and let them hang around small ducks and geese, you will help prevent the imprinting and they will also learn from the other waterfowl.

Finally, the cygnets will need to be pinioned at 1-3 weeks of age. If you wait longer than this, they will need anesthesia and that may decrease the chance of survival. I am going to ask the webmaster to provide you with our contact number should you need emergency assistance.

Basically, treat them as any other waterfowl, ducks and geese and you should be fine. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Orphaned cygnet does not eat -- Tracy -- 9 May 2017
Re: Orphaned cygnet does not eat -- The Regal Swan -- 9 May 2017
Re: Orphaned cygnet does not eat -- Tracy -- 10 May 2017
Re: Orphaned cygnet does not eat -- The Regal Swan -- 10 May 2017
Re: Orphaned cygnet does not eat -- Tracy -- 15 May 2017
Re: Orphaned cygnet does not eat -- The Regal Swan -- 15 May 2017
Re: Orphaned cygnet does not eat -- Tracy -- 16 May 2017
Re: Orphaned cygnet does not eat -- The Regal Swan -- 16 May 2017