Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Incubated cygnets
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 27 May 2017
In Response To: Incubated cygnets (Michael)

Hi Michael:

If you are not familiar with young cygnets, this is going to be a learning experience and almost unsurmountable task pf being able to keep them alive. Young cygnets need their parents to not only protect them, but to teach them how to be a swan. Cygnets raised by humans are imprintable, meaning that they will never be able to live in a setting not enclosed top to bottom to prevent predation.

Now, having said this, you also cannot give them to a swan pair to raise as the swans will kill the cygnets as they will not accept any cygnet that they have not hatched themselves.

You will need to keep them warm and in adequate ventilation (no direct drafts). You will need to provide them with a 1/2 inch pan (nothing larger as crawling in and over obstacles can cause dangerous leg and feet injuries that can kill them) filled with water. Poultry layer pellets and cracked corn should be placed in the water. Finely chopped lettuce floating on top of the water should also be provided.

The major issues with cygnets include drowning, disease, especially aspergillosis, pneumonia, foot, leg and neck injuries, etc.

You must provide straw or other non-slick non-abrasive, non-steep flooring to avoid leg and foot injuries.

The cygnets should be allowed to swim in a water feature that has a zero entrance (no ramps, non-slick, non-steep) that you place the cygnets in at least twice a day. The water level should be no more than 4 inches in depth so that the cygnets can stand if they need.

The water level increases as the cygnets grow. The time spent in the water (totally supervised because the swans can drown), should be approximately 10 minutes or less depending on when the cygnets get tired or look completely soaked (you do not want to get them completely soaked). Again, the time increases as the cygnets grow. For the first month, you should dry the cygnets, but not to the point of complete drying. Place them in a warm area so that they can preen and learn to dry themselves and use the uropygial oil (preen gland) to maintain healthy feathers and render them water repellent. This preening should be encouraged each time the cygnets get wet.

The swimming sessions should be held 2-3 times a day, again increasing as the cygnets grow. Once the cygnets are approximately 3-4 months of age, the cygnets can then be placed in a totally enclosed habitat with feeder, water and bank (again zero entrance) to grow and live more on their own with some supervision, but not as close supervision as they are at 1-2 months of age when they can drown if they get too tired or too wet.

The cygnets should still be fed the same diet for the rest of their lives. If you can find someone with a duck or goose facility, you might see if they can raise the swans in a setting with small ducks and geese so that they can learn from the other waterfowl how to be a swan. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Incubated cygnets -- Michael -- 26 May 2017
Re: Incubated cygnets -- The Regal Swan -- 27 May 2017