Reply To: Pink Feather Flamingo Syndrome

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Swan Expert

Hi Jennifer

We were the original team that collaborated with His Majesty’s Swan Marker, Mr. David Barber, His Majesty’s Swan Warden, Dr. Christopher Perrins and Wendy Hermon,Swan Support in England regarding Pink Feather Syndrome. Through DNA Sequencing, we were able to show the cause is bacterial in nature, affects the uropygial oil (preen) gland and washing with Dawn Dish Soap (U.S.), Fairy Liquid (U.K), will help alleviate the problem in difficult cases. You will need to capture the affected swan and its mate, bathe them in Dawn Dish Soap and rinse thoroughly. We suggest you treat both swans not only to prevent the possible spread of the condition, but also to prevent depression in the swans from being separated as treatment may take up to 2 weeks.

Towel dry and use blow dryer to help with feather drying after bathing the swans. Place the swans in a safe dry area to preen and finish drying their feathers as the bacterial load can affect waterproofing of the feathers leading to a potential case of pneumonia or drowning. Repeat the washing every several days (usually up to 2 weeks) and monitor to see that the condition is improving and the swans are totally dried before releasing back to pond. Usually, 2 days after bathing, thoroughly drying and preening by the birds is sufficient to replace the natural oils from the preen gland allowing the return of the birds to the pond.

In England, the swans are susceptible to lead poisoning which makes the Pink Feather Syndrome even more difficult to treat.

We were also the first researchers to research and establish normal hematological parameters for swans. Should you need this information for further bloodwork to help eliminate possible infections, please contact us at and we can send you the information. We hope this information is of benefit. Please do not hesitate to contact us if further assistance is needed. The Regal Swan