Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 6 January 2006
I have a question about baby swans. I live in Chicago and 2 Mute Swans have been returning here every winter for the last few years. This time was different though as they returned with baby swans! Everyone was very excited since the total was 7 now. The excitment soon turned to sadness though as the baby swans started dying. We are trying to find out what we are doing wrong. They are mostly fed corn and bread just like the healthy adult swans have been for years. I assume they are getting enough food because after every feeding they start to wind down and fall asleep. I'll call it the Thanksgiving effect as most people on Thanksgiving take a nap after stuffing themselves. Needless to say, we don't think they are starving.
What can be happening to cause them to die? Are they being overfed? When they die, it looks just they have no more energy and keep falling asleep. It takes about 3 days since the onset of this condition before they are dead. Also, the first baby swan to die looked like it had the mumps or something as its face was larger than the rest. We thought it might actually have been from another family as the 6 others were rejecting it. There are only 2 baby swans left and we are really concerned about them.
Is the corn and bread too much for the baby swans? Does it overload their system?
Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.