Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 15 January 2018
We bought a house 2 years ago and inherited a female black swan. She is 5 or 6 years old and lost her mate some years ago. She then mated with a male Polish mute swan (also resident) and to our knowledge laid 2 clutches of eggs. Only one of these eggs hatched and the cygnet did not survive the hatch. Last year the mute swan became very aggressive to the black swan and to our other waterfowl so he was rehomed to a sanctuary where he is much happier.
Our black swan seems lonely and often calls for her mate (as she did when he was here and she couldn't find him). She comes to us as if she is asking for something (we have established that it is not food she is looking for) and will also lay her neck on the water and shout (although she has always done this - we're not sure why). We have several large geese who we hoped she would make friends with, but she remains aloof.
We would like to get a companion for our swan. We are in the UK where black swans are not safe in the wild, and our water is not large enough to support more than one pair, so we do not want them to breed. We were advised to get a female companion, but were told yesterday that two females may not get on, particularly if one is younger. Our swan is mostly good natured but did not like a Canada gosling we had last year.
The other option is to take a male swan and remove any eggs. We have been offered male black swans who are 1.5 and 2.5 years old. Female swans are also available from another source but this would involve a 3.5/4 hour drive which seems a long time for a swan to be in a car.
We want our swan to be happy - should we get her a male or a female companion? And how old should they be?
Thanks in advance for any help you can give.