Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 5 June 2007
Thanks for the great question. It is an issue that we had this year only we had a drought, not a flood. Our swans laid eggs, began to sit on the the eggs, got off, kicked some away, started sitting again. We waited and waited and finally, the mothers abandoned the nests and the remaining eggs. After many successful breeding seasons, this is the first where we had no cygnets produced.
It can take anywhere from 35-40 days to incubate the eggs. So, the mother swan is still sitting within this range. We would give her at least another 4 weeks. The mother swan does not start incubating the eggs until all have been layed. Since we don't know exactly when the last egg was layed, we need to give the swan ample time to incubate the eggs. If nothing is going to happen, she will eventually get up and leave the nest. She is actually getting off of the nest to get food and water. You might not see this occurring because she only leaves the nest for a short period of time during early morning, late evening while the male watches the nest.
In the event, the eggs have not hatched within 4 weeks, we would suggest that you go ahead and remove the eggs from the nest. The best and safest way to dispose of the eggs are to relocate them to another section of the pond and place them in the pond. Remember, bad eggs can explode and you don't want this occurring in a plastic trash receptacle or in your house. Also, remove any final eggs, one week after the last hatching so that she will take care of the hatchlings and not worry about the remaining eggs.
Our guess is that she will abandon the nest way before the 4 weeks has expired. We hope that this information is of benefit. The Regal Swan