Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Keeping cygnets around
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 17 May 2014
In Response To: Keeping cygnets around (Carol)

Hi Carol:
The cygnets will stay with their parents for approximately 8-12 months of age or until they are chased by the parents prior to the next breeding season in a year. There are several issues about keeping the cygnets:

1. Many states are now killing the Mute Swans because they want the habitats to be free from any swans except the Trumpeter Swans, in which they are bringing eggs from Alaska and reintroducing the bigger swans for eventual Trophy Waterfowl hunting purposes. If Kansas or Missouri is participating in this program, then the young birds as well as their parents are in possible danger from being killed by wildlife officials.

2. In order to prevent the cygnets from flying and being shot out of the sky, they must be pinioned (part of the flight wing amputated so that they cannot fly). This will keep them in your pond, but will also render them unable to fly from predators, so your habitat must be free from both domestic (man, dogs, cats) and wild (raccoons, foxes, minks, coyote, bobcat, etc.) predators.

3. Once the next breeding season is reached, the young birds will be chased from their habitat so that a new brood can be raised. Within 2 years, your cygnets from this year, will be able to reproduce with cygnets of their own. Now, you will have all pairs fighting and chasing each other for prime nesting, bathing and feeding resources. You can alleviate some of the pressure by placing feeders with ˝ mixture of cracked corn and poultry layer pellets, cleaning and changing the feed often to prevent mold.

4. If Kansas is a state that considers the Mute Swan an invasive species, you may need a permit to maintain the swans. If the swans are allowed to breed, you may need a breeder’s permit.

5. Should you keep the cygnets, you need to try and keep all males or all females so that breeding cannot take place. However, if there are any flying, feral populations in your area, this may not work as it only takes an opposite gendered bird to upset the plan.

6. Should you still want more swans and everything is okay, then the next issue is the size of your lake. A 20 acre lake can sustain over 50 swans, so with number of swans in the next 2-4 years, you can begin to populate the lake very quickly. This may raise flags with the wildlife officials, so even if you keep this or next year’s cygnets, you will eventually have to give some of the future cygnets up for adoption to a new home.

7. Should you need a good home for future cygnets and you cannot find one in Kansas, please contact us and we’ll try to be of assistance.

We hope this information is of benefit. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Keeping cygnets around -- Carol -- 17 May 2014
Re: Keeping cygnets around -- The Regal Swan -- 17 May 2014