Swan Expert

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  • in reply to: Keeping Males or Females #64996

    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Linda:

    As the swans are still young and know each other, it does not hurt to keep several of the same gender together. We are going to share with you the pros and cons of males vs females and then give you are insight on what you might do.

    Males

    Pros: Can fend for themselves and be better matched if there are any predators in your area as they will be stronger than females.

    Cons: Can become rather defensive during mating/nesting season as they will and can pair up with another male especially if they are young and are raised together and no females are available. They will build a nest and sit on the nest until their hormones return to normal. Obviously, they will not produce any eggs.

    Females

    Pros: Less defensive than the males during mating/nesting season and will accept other swans more readily than the males.

    Cons: Can still become somewhat defensive during mating/nesting season as they can and will pair up with another female especially if they are young and are raised together and no males are available. The females can still produce eggs, obviously not viable. They can also get egg impacted from egg laying, but this can happen even if they are paired with a male swan.

    These are the basic pros and cons between males and female swans. If you have large predators in the area, you may want to consider staying with the males, although there is no guarantee that they will survive an aggressive attack from a predator any more than a female. The males are just much larger and stronger to help in the fight.

    The females will be much more docile than the males. Additionally, with you having 4 females, this will allow all swans to bond to form 2 pairs. With the 3 male scenario, you are going to have an odd man out which can produce many more problems such as fights, injuries, etc.

    In the scenario you describe, we would suggest that that you stick with the 4 females so that they can form 2 pairs. This will allow you to re-home the three males so that they have a chance to either form a bond of 2 and then allow the third male to bond with another female or find females for all three.

    In the case of re-homing, it must be noted that 2 of the males can be re-homed together if no one wants a breeding male. However, the third male WILL NOT re-pair with another male swan and he will need to be paired with a female swan. Otherwise, you may need to inform the new owners that the three can remain together, but there will be an odd man out. We have seen these types of 3 male siblings work out well and in other cases not work out at all. It totally depends on the individual attributes of the swans. Again, none of the swans will accept another male swan as their mate. They will accept siblings of the same gender, but not a new male swan.

    In the event that no one wants the male birds, please contact us and we will try to find a suitable home for all three. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Disappearance of eggs #64287

    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Sarah

    There are only 4 possibilities.

    1. The eggs were infertile and the swans left the area.

    2. The eggs hatched and the parents moved the family away from the nest to avoid potential predators.

    3. A predator attacked the nest, scaring the parents away. The predator then took the eggs.

    4. Depending on which state you live and that you are in the U.S., state and federal wildlife officials have been killing adult swans and cygnets, destroying eggs and nests for the past 20 years. At extensive expense to taxpayers, this program has been carried out through lies to the taxpayer stating Mute Swans are non-native ( ancestral fossils have been found in North America),the swans are invasive and detrimental to the environment and other wildlife (current and past studies that are readily ignored by wildlife officials show that the presence of Mute Swans increase the biodiversity of their habitat, that the swans are Sentinel species indicating the presence of heavy metals such as lead and harmful microorganisms) and various other misrepresentations.

    Wildlife officials have been killing the Mute Swans because they are trying to open the swans’ habitat to introduce the larger Trumpeter Swans into areas they have never before inhabited. The purpose is to use the Trumpeter Swans for Trophy Waterfowl hunting. Wildlife officials have denied this, yet specifically allowed the first hunting of Trumpeters to indigenous people in Minnesota in 2015, thus opening the pathway for general public hunting.

    Essentially, wildlife officials are killing an entire species (Mute Swans) to introduce another species (Trumpeter Swans) for Trophy Waterfowl hunting.

    All of this mess began in 2004 when a federal court ruled that wildlife officials had used “junk science” to kill the Mute Swans. The court ruled that the swans were protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) of 1918. In 1992, President Clinton ratified a change to the Treaty by declaring no swan except the Tundra Swan could be hunted by indigenous people of Alaska.

    Due to the 2004 court case, several unscrupulous congressman changed the protection of the Mute Swans by passing a bill on the last day of Congress in an Omnibus Budget Bill. Congress passed the Appropriations bill with the Mute Swan and other birds removed from protection of the MBTA and called this the 2004 MBTA Reform Act.

    This was done illegally because it is only the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate and the President that can change a Treaty. All of this is to say that the U.S. taxpayer has been funding a bogus law since 2004 because it was never ratified. Furthermore, U.S. and state wildlife officials have been violating the Treaty since 2004 by killing Mute Swans and allowing the hunting of swans, specifically Tundra Swans throughout the U.S.

    Unfortunately, the same wildlife officials responsible for these violations for the past 20 years are still employed at the state and federal level. The only way to correct this issue is to have these individuals removed from these agencies. Only state governors can remove state wildlife officials and the President’s appointed officials remove them at the federal level. The major issue is that most of these positions are at government pay grades and prevent the firing. It is therefore, going to be up to the taxpayers to demand the killing of Mute Swans stop through their elected officials. We hope this information is of benefit. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Swan killed by predator #64066

    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi John

    Great news that the cygnets seem to be cared for by the parent. Also, glad you are preventing hunting. You can send photos to us at Bolin.S@att.net, Regal Swan’s email. Unfortunately, this site cannot accept photos at this time. Regal Swan

    in reply to: Swan killed by predator #64056

    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi John

    So sorry to hear about the death of your swan. The male may or may not take care of the cygnets. Regardless, the predator may return and the cygnets and remaining parent will be at risk. Check to see if: the adult bird is allowing the cygnets to remain close to its side, feeds the cygnets by pulling submerged aquatic vegetation to the surface so the cygnets can eat, takes the cygnets to the bank or nest allowing them to rest and dry out. These behaviors will indicate if the cygnets are being care for by the parent.

    If the cygnets are helplessly trying to keep up with the parent or the parent leaves them for a long period of time, neglects feeding or keeps the cygnets in the water for great lengths of time, then care is not being properly given and you may need to rescue the cygnets.

    Think twice about taking the cygnets, and only if you are sure the cygnets are in immediate danger. Swans will imprint on people and once they begin thinking they are human, they can never be released on their own outside of a very controlled setting. If the cygnets are in a captive setting (never to leave your habitat, they need to be pinioned by a licensed veterinarian at 1-3 weeks of age–No later).

    Most states look at Mute Swans as an invasive species (which they are not-but by labeling as such renders them open to killing if they fly or are on a public lake. The reason is to open their habitats for introduction of the larger Trumpeter Swans for Trophy Waterfowl hunting). So, you have to be careful about maintaning cygnets or alerting to the fact that you have breeding Mute Swans. If these are wild birds, then there isn’t much you can do about pinioning. Just hope they can survive on their own if they fly away.

    There is no foolproof way of telling a male or female swan by its knob. Yes, males usually have larger knobs, but with no comparison to the other parent, a sexing is almost impossible. Furthermore, we have seen male swans with smaller knobs and female swans with larger knobs. So, knob size can be deceiving. The only guaranteed method of sexing a swan is to submit a feather (taken by a veterinarian as it has to have genetic material attached),to a reliable veterinary DNA Sequencing lab for testing.

    There are various behaviors that can delinate a male swan from a female swan, breeding behavior during copulation (the male will be on the top position.
    Nesting behavior, the male swan primarily builds the nest with the help of the female, the female primarily sits on the nest and eggs. Depending on individual behavior, some males may relieve the females during resting periods to sit on the eggs or they will sit on the nest nearby the eggs. The female is the primary incubator of the eggs.

    After hatching, the female swan will allow the cygnets to climb aboard her back and ride around under her wings when the cygnets get tired. Male swans do not allow this behavior.

    Since the period of breeding and nesting is over, the only behavior you can observe that may help in the identification of gender is the riding on the back by the cygnets.

    Do Not introduce any new swan to this mix until after the cygnets are more than 6 months of age and Only when you have had a proper sexing of the remaining parent.

    Male swans usually do not re-pair with another mate if their mate dies. However, this is an individual attribute and your swan could take on another mate. Female swans will usually re-pair with another swan. The biggest issue is to determine gender. If you place a Male swan in the habitat and your swan is a male, they can seriously injure each other to the point of accidental death to one or both of the swans. Same with two females, so you must have DNA Sequencing used to determine the gender of your swan and the gender of the swan being introduced.

    If you get another swan, the new swan must be placed in an introductory pen (totally enclosed top to bottom so predators cannot climb in or dig under the pen to attack the swan. The pen must be 1/2 on land and 1/2 in water with feeder enclosed,zero entrance with no steep banks or abrasive substrate to prevent leg or foot injuries).

    The new swan must be kept in the pen for approximately 2 weeks to allow it to familiarize itself with you, its new environment, your feeding system and your swan. Any signs of aggressiveness by either bird means this pairing is not going to work and you will need to find the new bird a safe and good home. Check with whomever you get the new swan from about their return policy because they may not issue you a refund and may not take the swan back.

    If after 2 weeks there is no sign of aggressiveness, the new swan should cautiously be released on to the pond with your swan. Have a rescue craft (boat, kayack, canoe) ready in the event a rescue is needed. If either swan is being beaten or constantly chased, not allowed in or out of the water, the pairing is not working and you will need to find the new swan a safe and good home. You will need to have some way of temporarily identifying the new swan from your swan. Leg or neck bands can be used, but these identification tools can cause an injury to the birds if they become entangled with something in the habitat, therefore should be used temporarily or not at all.

    Yes, the male can bond and mate with its female offspring. Swans are not mammals, so their is very limited possibility of any genetic abnormalities occurring from this pairing. The major issue is that swans do not sexually mature until 2 years of age. For this reason, the male could significantly injure the young swan during breeding. It is for this reason that the younger swans should be seperated from the older swans at 6-8 months of age.

    We hope this info is of benefit. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Buying A Water Platform #62563

    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Tony

    Please contact Bob Knox at Knox Swans and Dogs. He sells ready made floating nesting boxes for swans. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Temperatures that swans and other waterfowl can live at #62264

    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Matthew

    Mute Swans are built for cold temperatures becsuse they are Northern hemisphere swans. Southern hemisphere swans such as Australian Black Swans cannot suvive in colder temperatures.

    Although we cannot give you precise temperatures, we can state that swans or other waterfowl cannot survive any great length of time in iced-in waters. Ice is the greatest danger as food resources are scarce to non-existent which is why supplemental feeding is critical.

    Ice prevents the birds from eating and drinking. Starvation and dehydration can occur. These and other stresses can induce illnesses such as avian flu and pneumonia.

    Furthermore, if the ice should break and the birds cannot get out of the freezing water, they can die from drowning and hypothermia.

    Lastly, ice can cause the birds to freeze on to the ice or prevent their escape from predators. Predators can walk across stretches of ice to attack and kill birds or other wildlife trapped on the ice.

    It is for these reasons and more that birds migrate. It is captive waterfowl that are in the most danger during extreme cold temperatures.

    Starvation can only take a few days to render the birds ill or dead. This is why we tell pond owners to use aerators/de-icers during the winter months. These devices move the water and prevent ice. When using aerators and de-icers, they must be used consistently at the first sign of a freeze and you must ensure that any moving parts, straps, ropes or other possible entanglement parts are placed in an area or housed in a compartment that are inaccessible to the birds. We hope that this information is of benefit. The Regal Swan Foundation

    in reply to: Research results breed feeding to swans #62176

    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Claudia

    Glad we were able to connect. We look forward to receiving your information. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: feeding bread to swans #61660

    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Martin

    Just because you ask for donations, does not necessarily mean you receive donations.

    Out of pocket means that we have directly paid for the research ourselves. We decided at the onset that we were going to conduct research regardless if funding was not available, which it wasn’t in most cases. In the vaccine titre testing and blood chemistry, we sought sponsorships from three laboratories to conduct the tests. There were two important reasons for this, one, we did not have the facilities to conduct the tests and second, the equipment, protocols and vaccines were proprietary under the various drug companies. We personnally paid for all other research costs to include equipment, printing of relevant charts and other documents, phone expenses, travel, meals, hotel accommodations, fuel, rental cars or buses (to transport staff and equipment).

    The sponsorship by Proctor and Gamble was an in-kind donation of Dawn Dish Soap and Fairy Washing-up Liquid. This was a necessary part of the research. Through DNA Sequencing and other testing, we established that bacteria caused the condition. Since we found no internal related bacteria, it was readily determined that the bacteria was external (topical). We then, had to develop a means to remove the bacteria and someone mentioned various products along with P&G soap products as they had been safely used in wildlife to remove oil from petroleum spills. We contacted Proctor and Gamble to procure samples of Fairy Liquid in the U.S. so testing of both products could begin as well as other products (non-P&G) that could theoretically be used. We had to conduct additional testing to determine if there were specific ingredients within the various products tested which would show efficacy against the bacteria and identify the specific agent(s). Once that testing was completed, we were able to positively recommend and identify specific ingredients that showed efficacy and the (P&G) products were chosen. Finally, we asked P&G to sponsor several caseloads of Fairy Liquid to be used in the U.K. to wash affected swans along the Thames in an expanded field test. Swans affected with the bacteria were taken to a swan sanctuary where many volunteers began washing the swans and the swans were kept for one week at the sanctuary to test for further efficacy. At the end of the trials, we donated the unused soap product to a U.K. swan sanctuary. We hope this information is of benefit. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Flooring for swan enclosure #61628

    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Swans and other waterfowl must have non-abrasive substrates with zero entrance water features. Steep inclines can cause serious leg and foot injuries. The substrate can have no abrasive features (concrete, gravel, rocks, etc.), or the birds can develop a condition known as bumblefoot, a highly contagious staph infection.

    Now, with this basic understanding of swan needs, there would be several concerns about using artificial grass:

    1. Swans are grazers, meaning they eat grass. The swans will probably pick at the fake blades, not only tearing up the surface, but possibly eating the artificial material which would not be healthy. Eating the material could also cause choking.

    2. Artificial turf can be prone to molds and fungus in extremely wet conditions. The substrate would need to be pressure washed or otherwise cleaned to keep the surface clean from bacteria (from swan poop), molds and fungi. Remember, waterfowl are prone to bumblefoot, so this surface would need frequent cleaning. The chemicals used to clean and prevent mold and fungi, may be toxic to the swans.

    3. The artificial turf is a nylon woven material. Think of the rows of blades being interwoven in a netting type material. Swans have claws and the claws could become snagged in this netting material. We had a swan get its claw stuck in some temporary nylon fencing, and the claw was torn from the foot. Not good, and no one ever considered that a swan would get into the nylon fencing, much less sustain such an injury. Birds and animals do not behave in a manner that you would expect, therefore you have you to consider many possibilities for the chance of injury.

    4. Even though swan pens and habitats do require much work to keep clean, the best substrates are soil, natural grass (although swans will eventually eat and turn to soil), or straw.

    Due to the above reasons, we would strongly encourage the use of soil or more natural substrates, not artificial grass. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: feeding bread to swans #61617

    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    No one paid for the research except out of our pockets. No public funding has ever been used for our research. Lab tests were provided as an in-kind donation from private laboratories due to the technicality of developing blood chemistry panels exclusive to swans and titre testing for vaccines. So, again, no public funding was provided. Sheila Bolin, The Regal Swan Foundation

    in reply to: feeding bread to swans #61616

    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Martin

    We were asked to weigh in on the feeding of bread by the U.K. officials, after they had already endorsed the feeding of bread to swans.

    At that time, we provided Her Majesty’s Swan Marker, Her Majesty’s Swan Warden, veterinarians and Diector of Operations, Swan Support and the Swan Sanctuary a copy of our research which was peer-reviewed and published in Exotic DVM, a journal published by and for Licensed veterinarians. If you go online and search for this info, you will in fact ascertain three points:

    1. We did in fact get published

    2. The publication is out of print and archived.

    3. If you can access the archives, you must provide your licensed veterinary credentials. We do not control access to these archives.

    Our research discussed various veterinary protocols, drugs to be used, dosages of various drugs, etc. All involved, including our veterinarians and those at the swan sanctuaries have agreed that the information should only be provided to licensed veterinarians. None of us want to be responsible for someone (with no veterinary experience misinterpreting the data or trying to procure the drugs and experimenting on a swan or other animal. If you look at one of the posts, someone has already stated they were going to conduct their own research on swans. We know for a fact, this person is not a licensed veterinarian. Exactly,what we do not want to occur. So, our releasing information to only licensed veterinarians, has nothing to do with hiding anything. It is totally to protect the swans and other animals from being extremely injured or killed by someone who thinks that they conduct this type of research with no veterinary training.

    in reply to: feeding bread to swans #61612

    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Martin

    Sally Goulden is a licensed veterinarian and submitted her credentials. Because the research is specifically written for Licensed veterinarians, you would need to provide us with your appropriate credentials. If you are not a licensed veterinarian, you can contact Wendy Hermon, Swan Support or Steve Knight, Swan Sanctuary, to confirm that their veterinarians are in possession of our research. These two swan rescue groups are promoting the feeding of bread to swans. The Regal Swan Foundation

    in reply to: feeding bread to swans #61611

    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi UK Swan Lover:

    We are not advocating not providing the swans with alternative foods such as cracked corn and poultry layer pellets. We are advocating bread for those indivuduals who may not have these foods readily available or cannot afford them. We are stating that the negative impacts of bread that has been spread by wildlife officials, bird feed companies and others do not hold up when investigated scientifically. Bread is a good energy source during the winter months. Also, note, the RSPB does not say bread is bad. They state to use cake crumbs and crushed biscuits which contain some of the same contents as bread, only some cake and biscuits may contain more sugar than bread which may not be as healthy. Again, we are promoting bread as a supplemental food to prevent starvation. If all that people have is bread, or can afford, then feed bread. It beats the alternative of death. The Regal Swan Foundation

    in reply to: feeding bread to swans #61560

    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Sally:

    I am going to send you the information to your private email as this site will not allow for the large upload necessary to get the info to you. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Why would an Injured Cignet be chased away? #57765

    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Dee

    Yes, we are aware of the NY DEC’s killing plans we have actively been fighting the plan for the past 4 years. The moratorium on killing/controlling the swans is up this Nov. and the DEC is trying to introduce the same non-scientific plan as before. They were told to provide reliable valid scientific research before any plan could be implemented. They have not.

    Hudsonia LTD, provided research last year showing that the swans were not detrimental to the habitat, were not any more aggressive than any other wildlife, and basically called the DEC’s research non-existent to shoddy. So, please contact your state representatives to ensure that no plan can go forward this year, especially with no current valid research from the DEC.

    As far as the cygnet goes, her wing may be treatable at this time and further delay could cause a problem. You still might be able to ask around anonymously to see if someone might help. Otherwise, the cygnet may survive the parents if it is older, but may not survive in the long run with such an injury. You can contact us directly at Bolin.S@att.net and provide us with your phone number.

    Please DO NOT provide us your info on this forum.

    We may be able to provide you with someone that may be able to help. The Regal Swan

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