Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Cygnet not keeping up with family
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 29 May 2017
In Response To: Cygnet not keeping up with family (Marie)

Hi Marie:

We would suggest that all members of the swan family (all cygnets and parents) be brought inside for 48 hours. This will provide you a chance to see if there is something wrong with the cygnet. If there is nothing wrong with the cygnet, it may just be the runt of the family and cannot keep up as well. As long as the parents are taking care of it, that is a good sign. 48 hours will allow the cygnet to get a little bigger while at the same time, continue the bonding with the family. If you take it away, there a no guarantees that the family will accept it and this will cause many more problems, i.e., imprinting, unable to be returned to any captive setting without extreme supervision by humans, etc.

Keep the family inside (safely away from access by predators, adequate (no direct draft) ventilation, free from chemicals, gases, sharp objects, etc. in a shed, barn garage or other safe area. Use straw or other non-slick, non-abrasive surface for them to sit and stay on. Place a 1-2 inch lipped pan (no bigger) on the straw. Place cracked corn and poultry layer pellets on the bottom of the pan filled with water. Then, add some chopped lettuce to provide them with their needed vegetation.

Lightly water the swans down, not too drenched and allow them to preen themselves dry. The parents will teach the young birds how to preen and this will keep their feathers healthy and water repellent as well a keep the uropygial oil gland (preen gland) healthy.

If there is nothing wrong with the cygnet, then return the entire family back to the pond after 48 hours and observe to see if the cygnet can now keep up. This length of time will allow the cygnet time to get a little stronger and bigger which will help it keep up.

If there is something wrong with the cygnet, i.e., injury or infection, the parents will abandon it and you will need to get it to a licensed waterfowl/avian veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. The longer away from the parents (more than 4-5 hours), the greater the chance of abandonment and you will now be responsible for raising the cygnet. If this is the case, (infection and injury has healed), then you will need to find a waterfowl/wildlife rescue facility so that the young bird can be raised with ducks, geese and other waterfowl. This will allow the cygnet to learn how to act like a swan and learn the essentials such as bathing, swimming, eating under water, recognize and escape predators, etc. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Cygnet not keeping up with family -- Marie -- 28 May 2017
Re: Cygnet not keeping up with family -- The Regal Swan -- 29 May 2017