Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Fighting male swan keeps mother away from the cygnets
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 10 June 2017

Hi Margaret:

There may be something wrong with the female, i.e., sick or injured. You need to catch her and have a licensed avian (bird) or waterfowl vet check her blood chemistry to insure she does not have an infection and also check to see if she might be injured in some way. Usually, families or flocks will banish another member that is sick or injured in order to prevent the illness from affecting the others or allowing predators to be drawn to the family.

Once she has been given a clean bill of health, you need to capture the male and hold him away from the pond for a couple of days and let the female bond with the cygnets. You can also allow him to see the female with the cygnets while you have him separated from the pond and the family. A couple of days away from the family and allowing him to see the female with the cygnets should solve the problem. If the defensive behavior returns after the male is placed back into the habitat, then something else is occurring.

DO not take the mother and the cygnets from the pond and allow the male on the pond alone as this will only increase his defensive behavior.

The male is responsible for defending the family from predators and other danger. If the female cannot safely protect the cygnets and herself in the male's absence, then all birds need to be collected and placed in an area that the male can see the female with the cygnets, but is not allowed to interact with the family for a couple of days. A shed/barn with a see-through barrier, but one that the cygnets cannot get through or the swans cannot become entangled or injured should be used to separate the family.

An indoor situation would require all kinds of accommodations for the cygnets and family, which is why if the mother can safely be kept on the pond with the cygnets and the male separated within sight, (i.e., a small pen with water, zero entrance non-steep area, completely enclosed to protect from predators with feeder inside), this would be the best solution. Please let us know how this situation progresses. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Fighting male swan keeps mother away from the cygnets -- Margaret -- 9 June 2017
Re: Fighting male swan keeps mother away from the cygnets -- The Regal Swan -- 10 June 2017