A site dedicated to sharing general care of mute swans

NEW OWNERS – Before You Buy

June 23rd, 2018 | Posted by LadyNerkle1 in BEFORE You Buy Swans - (Comments Off on NEW OWNERS – Before You Buy)


Are you Looking for Living Garden Features for your Pond ??

Mute Swan Pair

The Striking Beauty of these Graceful Birds
will Enhance any property.Mute Swans

Having Captive Swans is a Commitment. They are Pets.


If You are Interested in Owning SWANS…
And are Just starting to Explore the Subject..

Gathering Information before Purchasing Swans will Improve Your Success
as a First Time Swan Owner – Care Taker.Mute Swan Cygnets   Click to Enlarge Images

This is a Basic Summary of things to Know about Swan Ownership.

Mute Swan Pair

Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) are a Very Large and Showy Waterfowl.
With Good Care and some Luck they may Live 20-30 Years.
Having Swans is a Commitment.
Private Property Swans are Captive Pets.Mute Swan Family

If you are thinking about owning Swans, you first need to ask yourself
 if you have a Suitable Water Environment for Swans to Live in.Mute Swan Pair

Folks who have Appropriate Water Environments to Care for Swans
may Desire to have them for Various Reasons.

For their Beauty..
Mute Swan Pair
For help to Control Canada Goose.Canada Geese Control
To Naturally Assist with Management of Pond Plants.Mute Swan Pond

Please take the Time to Research Swans so you are Prepared to provide Proper Care.Mute Swan Family


They are NOT Wild Waterfowl.

The Mature Male Swan is known as a Cob.Male Cob Mute Swan
and the Mature Female Swan is a Pen.Female Pen Mute Swan
Their Young are called Cygnets.Mute Swan Cygnets

*** “Can Animal Rights Be Legally Defined?”
In 1978 the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) defined Animal Rights.
“Animals have the right to live and grow under conditions
that are comfortable and reasonably natural…Mute Swan Family
animals that are used by man in any way have the right to
be free from abuse, pain, and torment caused or permitted by man…
animals that are domesticated or whose natural environment
is altered by man have the right to receive from man
adequate food, shelter, and care.”

*** Pinioning Any WaterFowl… Changes Everything.Pinioned Mute Swan
In the U.S. Swans “Owned” by Humans are generally Pinioned
to Restrict their Ability to Roam at Large.Pinioned Mute Swan Cygnet

In the United States, ALL Captive Swans are Classified as:
Captive, Domestic, Exotic, Poultry, Livestock. (Not Wild)Mute Swan Pair

Like ALL Animals, Livestock and Birds Living in Captivity.
They are Entitled to:  . . . 1. Adequate and Appropriate Food
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. Adequate Fresh Water
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. Appropriate Shelter
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. Reasonable Safety from Harm
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. Veterinary Care when needed.

Mute Swan PairWith several Species of Swans the Cob and Pen are Similar in Appearance.
Having DNA-Sex Testing when they are Young Helps Reduce Sexing Mistakes. 
A VERY Common Problem.

In the United States, the Native Tundra and Trumpeter Swans
that Live Wild and Free are Federally Protected by the
Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) of 1918.Wild Trumpeter SwanWild Tundra Swans

Tundra Swans, as far as I have been able to Learn,
may NOT be Owned Privately.Injured Tundra Swan
This Tundra Swan was Injured and taken to a WildLife Rescue.


Privately Bred Trumpeter Swans may, with Proper Registration, be Owned.
Folks who would like to own Trumpeter Swans,
will follow the same Basic Care Practices as for other Swans.Trumpeter Swan Pair

Trumpeter Swans must be Registered – they are Federally Protected WaterFowl.Trumpeter Swan Cygnet
All Trumpeter Cygnets will need to be Registered..
and Each New Owner will need to transfer
Registration Papers and send in the appropriate Forms..
so the Trumpeters can be followed.

Trumpeter Swans MUST be Registered with the:
United States Department of Interior
Fish & Wildlife Service
P.O.Box 779
Hadley, MA (Mass) 01035-0779

Helpful Information can be found through the Trumpeter Swan Society Website.


I am not aware of any State that Restricts Ownership of Black Australian Swans.Black Australian Swans
Where Winter Winds Blow Cold and Ponds Freeze, Black Australian Swans
require some Shelter from the Cold as well as Open Water in the Winter to Survive.Black Australian Swans
The Absolute Minimum Water Environment would be a Few Hundred Square Feet
of Surface Water Area with a Depth of about 4 Feet with GOOD Flow Through.Black Australian Swans

If Black Australian Swans are being Shelter Inside,Black Australian Swans
BE Sure to Close their Door at SunSet for the Night.
Open the Door in Early AM.. Protect them from Predators.Black Australian Swans

Black Australian Swans Nest Twice a year.



Black Necked Swan

Black Necked Swans are Nest-building between August and September.Black Necked Swan
In North America, their Cygnets are still Small when our Fall and Winter begin.



There is something Magical Interacting with these Enchanting Birds.
Being somewhere between Wild and Tame. I Never Tire of spending Time with them.Mute Swan
Observing their Behavior – Watching them Love each other..
Nesting – being Swan Parents is Magical. Each Day is a Gift.Mute Swan Cygnets

2021 – In Pennsylvania, where we Live..
Mute Swans are Still allowed on Private Property.
No Permits Needed… Few Regulations…

As Long as they are ON Your Private Property
Swans are Considered your Property.
Mute Swan Pair
The Same as a Cat, Dog, Horse…etc.
That is their ONLY Legal Protection.

Most States around PA Prohibit Ownership of Mute Swans..

All Swans are at GREAT Risk of being Destroyed if they Leave your Property
and are Found on ANY Public Land or Waterway where Hunting is Permitted.
Only a Few are Successfully Rescued.Mute Swan Public Waterway

It is Illegal to Release or Allow the Escape of Mute Swans or their Cygnets into the Wild.Mute SwansFeral Mute Swan

Any Feral Mute Swan found on Public Lands or WaterWays will be Destroyed. Feral Mute SwanPennsylvania has a ZERO Tolerance for Feral Mute Swans.Feral Mute Swans
We have Lost Several Wonderful Swans this way..Heartbreaking..

PA Mute SwansThe PA Game Commission has given Permission to any Hunters in PA
and any other State that wants to come to PA to Hunt Mute Swans
Permission to Shot these HELPLESS Swans any time they want. Feral Mute Swans

If you give Permission to ANYONE
to Hunt on your Property,

BE SURE to tell them YOUR Swans
are NOT for them to KILL..
NO Pet Swan Hunting

Cygnets Raised on a Private Pond that are Driven off by their Parents
in the early Spring are Helpless to Care for themselves.. Mute Swan CygnetsThey have Not Learned how or where to Find Food.
Many Starve to Death during January to March when there is Nothing for them to eat.Feral Mute Cygnet
It is a GOOD Practice to have them into New Homes by November of the Previous Year.
Make Thanksgiving your Rehoming Goal.
Healthy Four to Six Month Old Cygnets do Well in New Homes.Cygnet New Home


What Water Environments are Appropriate ???Large Fountain Pond

It is Not Difficult to Raise Swans as long as you have a Body of Water
where they can Live and Swim.

Raising Swans Entails that you keep them Fed, Reasonably Safe
and Provide them with Conditions Similar to that in their Natural Habitat.

Your body of Water should Not Lead to a Stream or Connect to a Body of Water
that will Easily Carry the Swans away.Fast Moving Stream

In Captivity, Swans are Readily Maintained on Mixed Grains
and Poultry-Waterfowl Maintainer Feeds.Feeding Mute Swans
Daily Greens, either from Grazing on Under Water Plant Material
or Supplemented Leafy VegetablesFeeding Mute Swans
or Chemical Free Lawn Grazing or Clippings.Swans Grass Grazing

 Transporting Swans,
Feeding Swans & Cygnets, Winter Care,
Protecting them from Predators,

Providing a Reasonable Safe Place to Live.
Annual Behaviors that might Impact your Home and Family.

Hormonal Mute Cob
When it is Time for Mating and Nesting, a Hormonal Cob can be a Challenge.

If you are going to get any Species of Swan, it is Best if you have a Pond
with 1/2 to 1 Acre of Fresh Water with Flow Through to Refresh the Water..Pond Flow Through SpillwayMute Swan Family    You will Need to Learn to Work with and Around Swans.Mute Swan Family
Your Pond will Belong to the Swan Family in the Summer.
You may not be able to Swim, Boat, Fish, etc.

When Cygnets are on a POND there is LOTs of POOP…Swan Pond Poop

The Pond needs to be at least 4-5-6 Feet Deep in the Middle
to allow for Swimming, with Shallow Areas, 1-3 feet around the Banks.
They need a Place to WALK-In and WALK-Out of the Water..Swan Pond
In the case of Mute Swans and Trumpeter Swans the Larger the
Water Area the better.Trumpeter Swans

Mute Swans spend the majority of their time in the Water
and a Larger Water Body is much easier to Maintain.Swan Pond
Larger Natural Ponds should not Require much Maintenance
if they are not over Crowded with Birds.

The more Shallow the Pond the GREATER Chance that the Swans can Die from Botulism.Swan Pond If a Severe Drought occurs, the Swans will be able
to get into Stagnant Muck that they otherwise would not
and Ingest the Anaerobic Bacteria which Secretes a Deadly Toxin.

Swan Grass LawnHaving surrounding Habitat such as Open Lawns and Grassy Banks
away from Woodland Areas is Ideal to prevent Predation
by Coyotes, Bobcats, Foxes, Raccoons, etc.

The biggest Threats to Swans are Predatory Animals, Botulism, Pollution,
Vandalism, Overhead Cables, Uncontrolled Dogs,
Fishing Tackle/Line and Heavy Metal Poisoning..SWAN Fishing Hook
And Neglect and Abusive Care.

The Swans I Worry about are Ones chosen to be Living Pond Ornaments.Mute Swan
The Novelty of having Swans may pass and Neglect is likely to follow.
Swans are a Commitment. They may Easily Live 20-30 Years
or longer with Good Care and Some Luck.

The Responsible Care for Cygnets that Survive Summer:
Cygnets need to be Pinioned.. Sexed Properly.. and New Homes Found.Cygnet New Home
It is Unlawful to Allow Cygnets to Fly Away and become Feral.

If you Tire of their Care, ReHome Swans to another Interested Person. 
NEVER Release a Swan into the Environment.
NEVER.. It is ILLEGAL ALL Across the United States
and Canada to Deliberately Release a Mute Swan.Feral Mute Swan
These Swans are DOOMED !

Discarded Pet Swans will likely be Destroyed by the
Department of Natural Resources/WildLife Management Services.Discarded Pet Swan

Responsible Ownership of Captive Mute Swans

There are Numerous States that require Captive Wildlife Permits
for the Possession and Propagation, a Breeders License, if a Non-Native Species,
such as Mute Swans are Introduced into an Area and are allowed to Breed.Swan Family

Every Year more and more U.S. States are Adjusting their Waterfowl Management Policy
and Prohibiting Ownership of Mute Swans.

If you are Allowed to have and Breed Swans,
you will need to have a Plan for the Disposition of their Young
as most Swans Breed once a Year and can produce 1-8 Cygnets.Mute Swans Cygnets

Black Australian Swans Breed Twice a Year
and can Produce 10-16 Cygnets.
Black Australian Swan CygnetsYou will Need to Find Good Homes for their Offspring.


Check with your State’s Wildlife Authorities –
Wildlife Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to understand what Permits
or Requirements you will Need to Comply with before you Decide to Purchase Mute Swans.

Where to Find Mute Swan Information for Your State

U.S. Fish & WildLife State by State…. contact Phone #s
Call 1-800-344-WILD

**General Mailing Address in Wash, D.C.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1849 C Street, NW Washington, DC 20240

Do “Search” for (Mute Swan Management – STATE)
Example Mute Swan management Virginia

Call Your States Department of WildLife – Fish and Boat
Speak with the Agent in charge of Waterfowl Management.

Swan Pond

This Information is a Work in Progress…..
As I learn more I will add to this information..
Compiled by (C) L.M.Sweger                                UpDated  May  2021
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