Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: 3 swans in our pond
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 28 May 2014
In Response To: 3 swans in our pond (Stephanie)

Hi Stephanie:

If the two swans that left the pond were the parents, then it can mean a couple of things. First, they can fly and may or may not return for the young swan.
If the parents can fly and something is wrong with the young bird, then the parents may have abandoned it to seek out another habitat.

In any case, you will have to wait until at least of year of age before you can do what we call sexing if you do not conduct a DNA test to determine the gender of the swan. To conduct a DNA test, you will need to take the swan to a licensed veterinarian experienced in avian(bird)/waterfowl veterinary care. He/she will take a blood feather and submit it to a lab which can determine from the DNA whether it is a male or female. This is the most reliable test. Sexing is not that accurate until the bird has reached at least a year of age because the genitals have not developed. Even then, the sexing may not be that accurate if the individual conducting the sexing (probing) is inexperienced or thinks that what they are palpitating is the actual structure.

If the parents have abandoned the young bird, it is following you around because you are meeting its every need by providing food and it does not have to look for food. In essence, you are now its parents and it may have imprinted on you. If this is the case, then the young bird will have to be protected from predators(brought inside at night in a safe shed, garage, barn or other structure that nothing can dig under or climb into the structure to access the swan). The one lesson that humans cannot teach is how to recognize and protect oneself from a predator. Hopefully, this lesson was instilled in the young bird by the parents prior to their departure. You may also need to bring the swan indoors during the winter if it cannot fly and escape the harsh winter.

As far as a mate, you may think about a mate once the young bird reaches a year of age and pairing it with a same aged bird. You might also consider pairing it with another bird of the same gender so that you do not have to worry about future cygnets as your state may require a breeder’s license if cygnets are produced. You will also be responsible for pinioning (rendering them unable to fly at 1-3 weeks of age) and other veterinary care for any future cygnets produced by a mating pair which can become quite expensive and difficult in finding the cygnets a new home once the parents chase them from the habitat for the new breeding season. Please let us know how this situation works out. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

3 swans in our pond -- Stephanie -- 28 May 2014
Re: 3 swans in our pond -- The Regal Swan -- 28 May 2014