Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Cygnets dying
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 15 April 2017
In Response To: Cygnets dying (Adčle)

Hi Adele:

Until the cygnets are approximately the size of a large duck, (3-4 months of age), large fish, turtles, hawks, owls, egrets, herons, raccoons, bobcats, foxes, etc. can attack them as prey.

Once the cygnets are approximately the size of a large duck, fish, turtles and eels are too small to eat them. If the eels are electric eels, then this is whole different problem as they can continue killing the cygnets and even the adults if they come in contact with the eels.

Once the cygnets are approximately 6-8 months of age and the size of the parents, then the number of predators significantly decrease. Owls, hawks and other birds cannot carry them away. This will leave the cygnets and the adults susceptible to larger predators such as fox, raccoon, bobcat, etc.

If you want to successfully raise cygnets to 3-4 months of age, you will need to prepare a breeding pen (enclosed top to bottom so that predators cannot climb over or dig under the pen to access the cygnets. The outside perimeter of the pen, from the bottom rail to approximately 4 feet high should be completely surrounded by poultry fencing so that the predators cannot reach in and the cygnets cannot climb out and get away from the parents.

The pen must be large enough to accommodate the entire family and allow for walking, preening, resting and nesting.

The substrate (flooring) should be non-abrasive and no steep banks or other areas. Straw would be the best, but it has to be protected from pests such as ants, mice, etc.

A feeder should be placed inside the pen and should be flat such as a small baking pan that cracked corn, poultry layer pellets, water and lettuce can be placed to feed the family, but the cygnets cannot climb into the bowl and hurt themselves.

The pen can also have a small water feature such as a kiddie pool inside as a swimming, bathing feature for the entire family. The kiddie pool must be large enough to accommodate the entire family, but it also must be sunk into the ground to form a zero entrance pool. The cygnets must be able to float in and out of the water feature without having to crawl over any lip as this can injure their legs and feet which could be detrimental to their health and even cause death.

Finally, the water feature must have a means to pump out the water on a daily basis and clean water pumped in to maintain cleanliness and prevent bacteria buildup or other possible disease/infection vectors.

This breeding area (pen) will be the only way to successfully raise cygnets until they are approximately 3-4 months of age and then release them onto the pond. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Cygnets dying -- Adčle -- 15 April 2017
Re: Cygnets dying -- The Regal Swan -- 15 April 2017