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Cygnets: Pinioning & Removal from Parents
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 11 May 2007
In Response To: pinioning swans (SONIA MESRY)

Hi Sonia:
Thanks for this great question. It is one we answer very frequently. In fact, when we first started working with swans many years ago, this was the question of most concern.

The cygnets must be taken to a vet or a veterinarian can come to you. Either way, you will have to get the swans pinioned. The cygnets should be pinioned around the first 1-2 weeks of age because as they grow, so does the blood vessels, nerve endings and tissue. The longer you wait, the harder it is on the birds and they may even have to be placed under anesthetic which sometimes is not very healthy.

As far as taking from the parents for the pinioning, you have a window of about 2-3 hours and the parents will still take them back. After that, the parents will reject them. If you can capture one of the parents, you could always have one of the parent's ride to the veterinarian with the cygnets and then return all of them to the pond once the procedure has been completed. If you can get someone to come to the pond, it is even better, but you will need a tag team of individuals to shoo the parents from the veterinarian and the cygnets as the parents will try to get their children back!!!! Quite aggressively, I might add!!!

You also need to find a veterinarian that is experienced in pinioning birds, whether it be waterfowl, psitticines (parrots, etc.), poultry (chickens, etc.). The more experienced the veterinarian, the easier it is on the birds.

In any case, just get the cygnets pinioned as soon as possible for their well-being. In many states, if you have non-indigenous avian species, you must pionion them to prevent feral populations, accidents with cars, electrical lines and even predators when they fly to ponds or lakes that they are not familiar.

As far as when to remove the swans from the parents permanently, this usually occurs around 4-6 months of age. Once the juveniles start to turn white the parents no longer recognize them and will start becoming territorial, nipping at their feathers and generally telling them to leave the area. The juveniles will go crying after the parents because they do not understand why mom and dad do not recognize them or want them from the pond. It is in the best interest of all concerned to remove them when the parents start to act aggressively.

Approximately, 3-4 months, you will also notice the parents letting the cygnets go around the pond more and more by themselves, but within range of the parents in the event of a predator. As the cygnets get older, the farther away they are allowed from the parents. We hope that this information is of benefit. If you have other concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

pinioning swans -- SONIA MESRY -- 11 May 2007
Cygnets: Pinioning & Removal from Parents -- The Regal Swan -- 11 May 2007