Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Cygnet swan leg defect, athropy, sling for cygnet
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 19 June 2017

Hi Robin:

We are working on a prototype for a sling, but nothing the size of a cygnet at this time. Actually, if the veterinarian agrees, the cygnet needs to exercise the leg or it can become "locked" in a position and lose muscle and soft tissue usage. Ask the veterinarian if you can place the cygnet in a bin of water (enough water above the bottom of the bin so there is no weight bearing on the leg, non-slip surface (add towel on bottom of bin to prevent any accidental slippage) to rehabilitate the leg through water therapy. The cygnet will move the leg to swim.

Since the cygnet is so young, it probably does not have water repellent ability at this time, so you need to extremely supervise the swimming for approximately 10 minutes at a time, no crawling or climbing in and out of the bin. Dry thoroughly and allow swimming 2-3 times a day. Increase level of water and swim time as the swan gets stronger and larger.

There is a good waterfowl sanctuary called Sylvan Heights in North Carolina and they may be able to offer you some assistance.

On another note, a good reputable swan breeder will not sell or even give away cygnets this young. Usually, the cygnets should be not be separated from the parents until at least 6 months of age. This allows the parents to teach the cygnets how to be a swan, recognize and escape predators and other necessary life skills. The cygnets at the age you were given, will always have to be maintained in an extreme enclosed area so that the swans do not get attacked by predators. Raising of cygnets by humans, especially at a very young age, causes imprinting so that the swans think that they are humans and will walk up to anything and everything including predators. This places the swans in highly detrimental situations.

Additionally, the cygnets at this age can have traumatic leg and foot injuries if raised in captive settings. These injuries can be caused by slipping on slippery surfaces, climbing on steep ramps or banks, walking on abrasive surfaces. If handled improperly, the cygnets (very similar to poultry) can develop spraddle legs in which the leg(s) go out to the side caused from overstretched tendons. Although the cygnet may have a genetic problem, it would be highly probable that the cygnet may have developed the leg/foot issue from an injury. We hope that this information is of benefit. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Cygnet swan leg defect, athropy, sling for cygnet -- Robin -- 19 June 2017
Re: Cygnet swan leg defect, athropy, sling for cygnet -- The Regal Swan -- 19 June 2017