A site dedicated to the proper care and general information of mute swans

Determine the Sex of Swans by DNA

January 20th, 2015 | Posted by LadyNerkle1 in Determine the Sex of Swans-Cygnets by DNA - (Comments Off on Determine the Sex of Swans by DNA)

Whether you are Looking for a Swan to Replace One you have Lost,
Selling Swans or Cygnets to ReHome them,

Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Determining the Sex of Swans by DNA

Click on Image to Enlarge.

Before you Pinion a Tiny Cygnet:
It would be Great if you Could Determine the Sex.
Vent Check if You know what to look for.

Tiny Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

If you know a Person who knows how to Vent Check.. ASK for Help.

Sex Determination for Swans

Vent Sexing Cygnets is not 100% Accurate.
If you find Male Parts/the tiny Penis.. Then you have a Male.. Pinion the Left Wing.

If you can NOT Find the Penis.. that does not mean you have a Female.
For 29 + Years, Everyone THOUGHT “Princess” was a Female.
SURPRISE: At 30 Years Old.. “Prince” formerly “Princess”
> > and “Victoria” have SEVEN Tiny Cygnets on their Pond..

Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

It is Tricky to Find the Tiny Penis in Cygnets.. it might be Missed.
During the First 10 Days after Hatching,
It is Suggested that the Penis is Larger due to the Cygnet’s Elevated Hormones.

Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

      General Visual Appearance is NOT Dependable.
They Look Alike ! !

Female Mute Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

All Cygnets that might be Female (Maybe Male) should be DNA Checked…

At least Pinion the Right Wing.
BETTER to Pinion a Wing when they are Tiny then NOT.

Pinion Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Pinioning is Permanent

ASK SOMEONE who KNOWs How to PINION Safely. 

TO Pinion an Older Cygnet or Adult Swan is Time Consuming
and Hard on the Swan and their Owners.  
It is Only Safely Done by an Avian Veterinarian
who is > Willing < to Preforms this Procedure.

Surgical Pinion Swan
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

As I Interact with more Swan Folks across the Country,
I am hearing More and More People are Learning their Veterinarians are NOT Willing.
They will NOT Pinion.. ONLY Clip.. They Express they have an Ethical Issue to Pinion.
SO, Start Early to CALL Avian Veterinarians, so you Know what your Options are.

Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

It is VERY Helpful to know when the Cygnets Hatched. Note that Date !
Then you will Know how Old they are.
Swan Cygnets LESS then 10-14 Days Old have ONE Tiny Capillary, 
ONE Tiny Nerve and Soft Cartilage in the Distal Wing Tip.  
Pinioning at this Time is the Safest for the Cygnets.

Young Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

It is Easier to Handle the Cygnets when they are Around 10 to 14 Days Old.. Not So Tiny.
Some Times Catching the Cygnets does not Happen when we Want.. Expect a Delay.
I have Used this Method of Pinioning Safely UP to 21 Days.. NO Problems.
Check there is NO Bone Forming in Wing Tip. KNOW How Old the Cygnets ARE !!

Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

YOU have the Opportunity and have Help.

Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

ID Banding for Swans > > Bands for Cygnets and Mature Swans.

DNA Swan Cygnet
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Be Sure to USE some Method of Keeping Track of which Cygnet is which. 
And which Brood they have Come from
> > > If you are Removing Multiple Cygnets to Hand-Raise.

Mute Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Avian BioTech is the Former Name of the Current Animal Genetics Laboratory.

Mute Swan Cygnets DNA
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

The Rescued Hand Raised Cygnets in this Image are from THREE Different Broods. 
We Could Arrange Unrelated Pairs from these Young Rescued Swans.
Change ID Bands as they Grow.. They Grow FAST !

Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

The Color of a Cygnets will NOT Determine their Sex..
There are Royal Male and Female Cygnets/Swans.
There are Polish Male and Female Cygnets/Swans. From Three Different Sets of Parents.


Cygnets can be Sent for DNA-Sex Testing.

********* PLEASE READ Instructions Below  *********


From Gazette
Discussion of Sexing Birds by Vent Checking


Direct from WEBSITE.
The best thing is to get another Breeder who is an Expert at Vent Sexing to help you
and supervise you until you’ve picked up the knack of it.

Most Ducks are very easy to Sex while the Geese and Swans resist you more,
that is tighten their Vent Muscles so that it is most difficult to invert their Cloacal Region
so their Inner Sex Parts come into plain view.
Perhaps the best time to Sex any Water-Fowl is when they are a week or two old,
and some say best results are achieved at just 3-4 days old.

Experience indicates that Vent Sexing is best done in the Spring on Adult Birds,
when the Sex Organs are beginning to swell.
At this time of year the gentle manual manipulation of a Male’s Vent will cause
sensitive twitching and reflex movement.
This does not occur when handling Female Water Fowl and is a good indicator
of Sex in my judgement, but as mentioned before, an Expert can apply the right
amount of pressure and easily cause the Vent to invert itself and expose the
Inner Sex Parts so that there is no doubt as to Sex.

Check the drawings that illustrate Vent Sexing in various publications so you know
what to look for, and the Penis on a Male will stick out especially when the right
manipulation of the anal region is applied, so there is really no guess work involved
when done right.

Also, before doing Vent Sexing for the first time, it is my recommendation 
that you first consult with and receive instruction from an Avian Veterinarian.

End of Quote from Gazette Article

I WISH I had found someone who could do the above Vent Sexing Method. 
But, “Woe is me”… TOO Many Mistakes OCCURRED ! !
Even with Years of Experience.  WE DO NOT Guess – We DNA-Check their Sex.

I have read that Vent Checking can Result in Injury to the Cloaca Sphincter.
 It would be Easy to Scratch the Tiny Sphincter trying to Manipulate it.

Mute Swan Cygnet
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

SO…. I prefer to Spare the Cygnets/Swans and do the DNA-Sex Testing.
Vent Sexing Swans/Cygnets is NOT Fool-Proof.. A Percentage will be WRONG..
If you Find Male Parts – Penis – Great ! . . But, if you do not find the Tiny Penis,
–                         . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  You can not be sure you have a Female.

If you Introduce a Second Male by Mis-Sexing a Cygnet/Swan….
View the Video Link Below…  This is NOT a Swan Ballet.


Swans DNA-Sex Testing
Male Mute Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Two Unrelated Mute or Trumpeter Cobs will NOT Tolerate Sharing the Same Territory.

Ducks have a Real Penis… Swans NOT so…
Male Swans DO NOT have a Penetrating Penis.

Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Ballistic Penises and Corkscrew Vaginas – The Sexual Battles of Ducks

Mature Male Mute Swan
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Swans are NOT Similar to Ducks or Geese.
Male Swans DO NOT have a Penetrating Sex Organ.
The Size of their Structure which Transfers Serum is affected
by the Current Hormone Level in the Male Swan’s System.
How Chickens Lost Their Penises
(And Ducks Kept Theirs)

Welsummer Rooster
Swans DNA-Sex Testing


Over the Years I have talked with Some Folks who Suggest Comparing
a Swan or Cygnet’s Size, Vocal Pitch, Behavior will help them Identity
the Males and Females. – All Subjective.

Mute Swan Cygnet
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

This was One Time we Guessed Correctly.
Then we DID the DNA to be Sure.

Mature Mute Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

The Knob of both Male and Female Mutes Changes through the Year
as the Swan’s Hormones Increase/Decease Annually..

Female Mute Swan Knob
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Same Female Mute Swan Before Nesting & After Nesting Season. Now her Knob is Smaller.

Female Mute Swan Knob
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

The Knob on a Mute Swan will Change as their Weight Changes.
Healthy Swans tend to have Larger Full Knobs.

Mute Swan Knob
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Underweight Swans have Smaller – Even Flat Knobs.

Underweight Mute Swan
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

I do KNOW if a Swan Lays an Egg… that is a Female..
A Healthy Female Swan needs to be at least 2 to 3 Years Old before she will lay an Egg.
With each Passing Year, I learn of more and more Female Swans that NEVER Lay Eggs.
Their DNA Tests are FEMALE.. But, NO Eggs.. > > Puzzling !

Female Mute Nesting
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

I know of any number of Situations where a Pond had two Males or two Females..
NOT a Female / Male Breeding Pair.
The Swan Owners were Frustrated there were NO Cygnets..

Young Female Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

There were Never any Cygnets – But there were EGGs that Never Hatched.
These were Two Females that were Purchases as a Breeding Pair. OOPs.

If you are interested… I will share more OOPs Anecdotes at the End of this Page.
Stories of Mis-Sexed Swans.. There are MORE with each Passing Year.

Same Sex Male Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

The Above Image – Turned out to be TWO Males.

Mute Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

This Pair of Swans did not Mate,.. Just Fussed with Each Other. Lots of Chasing.
NO Eggs after Four Spring Seasons – Strange Nesting Behavior..
Yep ! ! TWO MALES !


The Advances in DNA Testing = Reliable Sexing Results.
is by DNA-Sex Testing.

There are Several Types of Samples that may be Submitted for Testing.

These are Examples of FEATHERs.

Feathers For DNA
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Each Type of Sample needs to be Handled Properly to Protect the Sample’s Integrity.

https://www.animalgenetics.us/ . . Avian Sexing Center – Learn More.

Mute Swan Cygnet
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Very Young Cygnets do not have True Feathers and can not be Feather DNA-Sex Tested.
Fuzzy Down is not Acceptable for Testing.

True Feathers will Start Emerging around Eight Weeks.
Too Late for you to Know their Sex when you Tie or Cut Pinion Yourself…

True Swan Feathers
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

It is BETTER to Pinion when they are Tiny
With or Without Knowing their Sex.

Try to Pinion FEMALEs on RIGHT WING Tip – the Distal Wing Section.
**** ONE WING ONLY ****
Pinion MALEs on LEFT WING Tip – the Distal Wing Section.
**** ONE WING ONLY ****

Pinioned Mute Swan
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

THERE IS NO NEED to Pinion Both Wings.
The Goal is to Keep the Swans OFF Balance.

If you are VERY LUCKY.. All your Cygnets will Survive..
That is Generally not the Case when Cygnets are Raised
Out on a Pond or Lake with their Parents.

Mute Swan Family
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

These Royal Mute Swans had Six Cygnets Hatch.  Now there are just Three.

Predators will Claim many Tiny Fuzzy Cygnets.

Great Blue Heron
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

The most Common – Red-tailed Hawks, Snapping Turtles, Owls, Great Blue Herons.
Feral Cats, Fox, Dogs > People – Kids.

Polish Mute Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

From Experience, there is a Wisdom in Collecting a Sample if you have a chance.
Identify the Cygnets/Swans and ID the Samples well.
Store as the Avian Diagnostic Lab. Instructs.. and Wait until the Cygnets
are about 3-4 Months Old to Send the Samples for Testing.
NO Point having Results for Cygnets that have Not Survived.

Polish Mute Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

This Polish Swan Family started with Six Cygnets, now just Three.

Mute Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

In the Above Image – the Pen is on the Left – the Cob is on the Right. Honest.

I WISH this was more Straight Forward..
but, Determining the Sex of Cygnets and Swans is a Challenge.

WEEKS Before your Cygnets are Scheduled to Hatch.

Once the (Pen) Female Starts to “Sit” Full Time, Mark your Calendar
and Count 35 – *37 Days.  
On Day 35 you might be able to hear the Tiny Cygnets in the Shell “Pipping.”
 If all goes as Planned they will Start to Hatch on Day *37.  YEAH !!!

Nesting Female Mute Swan
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Collect Your Supplies so you are READY.
Check with Family or Friend – who will be willing to Help ? ?
EXTRA Hands are Important. HAVE A PLAN !

EMail with Someone at the Animal Genetics Testing Lab, if you have Questions.
Especially, if this is your First Time to Collect DNA Samples.
Become Informed of ALL Your Options:
> > > You ONLY Need to Submit One Type of Sample.

SAMPLE OPTIONS: Cygnet Wing Tips – Blood Dots – * Feathers – Others.

Order or Request Animal Genetics Send you a Dozen Collection Kits.

SWAN DNA-Test Kits
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

OR Make you own Sample Kits.
Clean ZipLoc Bags.. For Feather Samples.

SWAN DNA-Test Kits
Swans DNA-Sex Testing
SWAN DNA-Test Kits
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Clean White Paper Towel Squares Prepared for a Drop of Fresh Blood.
Draw a 1/2 Circle to fill with a Drop of Blood. DO NOT TOUCH SAMPLE CIRCLE !

When you Pinion a Cygnet, there may be a Drop of Fresh Blood.

Animal Genetics Main Office in the U.S.A.

Animal Genetic International
Toll Free: 1-800-514-9672 The Lab is NO Longer Taking Phone Calls
contact@animalgenetics.us Send Your Questions to this EAddress.
Fax: 1-850-386-1146
Email:  https://www.animalgenetics.us/about-us.php#contactform
1336 Timberlane Road
Tallahassee, FL 32312-1766

Swans DNA-Sex Testing

A Printable Submission Form is Available on AnimalGenetic WebSite.

With Cygnets Older then Eight Weeks..
I Suggest you Pay the Extra $5.00 to have a DNA-Sex Test done with Feathers.
– fee $24.50 (with Postage – $25.00)

Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

INSTRUCTIONS.. for Submitting a Feather Sample.

AnimalGenetics – AVIAN BioTech has instructions on their WebSite
for Proper Collection of Samples.
Feathers must be Plucked..    Not Picked Up – No Shed or Moulted Feathers.

Moulting Swan
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Various Methods of Avian DNA Sex Testing 

AVIAN DNA SEX TESTING by Feather Samples.

  • Mail Samples to:
    3382 Capital Circle NE
    Tallahassee, FL 32308


    A carefully collected Drop of Blood can be sent for DNA – Testing.
    DNA – TESTING from a DROP of BLOOD (by a Puncture Wound.)

  • This would mean a Tiny Spot will have Open Skin Exposed to Dirty Pond Water.
  • Avoid allowing Cygnets to go back in the Pond for 1 -2 hours..
  • ESPECIALLY, if there are Snapping Turtles in their Water.
Wonder Dust
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

ANY Bleeding is to be Cared for and Completely STOPPED.
I have used Clean Corn Starch and Clean White Flour as an Aid to Stop MINOR Bleeding.
WONDER DUST has been Recommended..  This Works Well !!

There is additional Information for Wonder Dust at the Bottom of this Page.

Kwik Stop Styptic Powder
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Kwik Stop Styptic Powder should be used CAREFULLY as a Last Resort to Stop Bleeding. 
DO NOT Allow Ingestion of Kwik Stop.
The Powder will become Rock Hard and May Adhere to the Esophagus.

Pinioned Mute Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

If you can Squeeze a Nice Drop of Blood from the Removed Tip of the Wing
when you Pinion, Soak the Blood Drop onto a VERY CLEAN Paper Towel Square.
Do your Best NOT to Touch the Area to be Soaked with a Blood Drop.
Allow to Dry – Place in a Labeled ZipLoc Bag.

OR Use the Blood Dot Kits Requested from Animal Genetics Inc. 

SWAN DNA-Test Kits
Swans DNA-Sex Testing
Mute Swan Cygnets 
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Label carefully, Refrigerate in a DRY Container.
This can be sent in for their DNA-Sex Test..

These Rescued Cygnets are Eight Weeks Old.  NOT Pinioned !

Pinion Mute Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing
Pinion Mute Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing
Pinion Mute Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing
Pinion Mute Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

If you need to take Older Cygnets  (3-12 Weeks Old) to an Avian Veterinarian
to be Surgically Pinioned, you will be able to have the Blood Dot Sample
Collected from the Wing Tips Removed.
Be Prepared with Blood Dot Submission Kits for Each Cygnet
and a way to ID each Cygnet.
Follow All Post-Op Instruction to Avoid Infections.
YEAH …. A Mixed Brood.

Pinion Mute Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing


A Blood Dot Sample Fee is $19.50.  (in 2021)
Both Feather and Blood Dot Results take 5-10 days.

I do not like to see Holes Poked in a Swan’s Feet or Legs to Collect a Blood Dot Sample.
This Greatly Increasing the Risk of Painful *Bumble Foot Infections.

Bumble Foot Sore
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Beautiful as they are, Swans Walk, Stand and Swim in POOP.

Swan Standing in Poop
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

DO NOT PUNCTURE their FEET.. The Sores it Causes are TERRIBLE..

Swan Bumble Foot Sore
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Bumble Foot Sores are NO FUN to TREAT !!


The Tiny WING TIP of a Cygnet Pinioned when less then 10-14-21 Days, 
may have a Drop of Blood to Soak onto a Blood Collection Card
– . . . . or onto an Absorbent Paper Towel.

10 Day Old Mute Swan Cygnet
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

I Checked with Animal Genetics..   (October 2014)
The Tiny Wing Tip that is Snipped Off when a Cygnet is Pinioned 
Can be Submitted for the DNA-Sex Testing..
The Wing Tip has an Area of Skin which is Fresh Tissue Acceptable for Testing.

Swan Cygnet DNA Sex Testing
Swans DNA-Sex Testing
Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

IF you have a GOOD Way to Identify each Tiny Cygnet when you Pinion them,
you can put each Wing Tip in a Carefully Labeled > > PAPER ENVELOPE.

Mute Swan Cygnet DNA
Swans DNA-Sex Testing
DNA Submission Form
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Information: DATE Specimen Collected
– Cygnet ID – Your Name

Fill out the Submission Form *Immediately and *Send ASAP
ANIMAL GENETIC, Inc. and Avian BioTech are the Same Laboratory.

Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Since we were Hand Raising the Rescued Cygnets Above,
I Sent Drops of Blood when we Pinioned them.. Squeezed from their Wing Tips.
It is Fun to Know their Sex when they are still Tiny.
OR If you want to Wait to Send the Wing Tips…

Since Some Cygnets may not Survive the First Several Months,
it is Practical to Send for the DNA-Sex Testing when the Cygnets
are around Three to Four Months Old.


ID the Cygnets SOME WAY…

ID Each Separate *PAPER Envelopes.
Place Only One Wing Tip in each *PAPER Envelope with ID INFO.

I Place a Square of Wax Paper between Each Paper Envelope.
-Just in Case a Little Blood Bleeds through.

Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Put ALL Pinioned Wing Tips in Separate Envelopes together
>>>> ( Separate Envelopes with Wax Paper )
in a Larger PAPER Mailing ENVELOPE.. LABEL. 
Put these in the Freezer. They are Good for One Year.
I Checked this with Animal Genetics  (June 2016)

Check with > > >Animal Genetics for Instructions to Send Frozen Samples.  

At Three to Four Months of Age, you will be able to Send the Ones you Need.

Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

CHECK Handling Instructions for Sending Frozen Samples.

Mail ALL Labeled Paper Envelopes Inside a Larger Paper Envelope with Submission Form.

Swan Cygnet DNA Sex Testing
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Once the Diagnostic Lab Receives your Sample/Samples you will Receive a Message by EMail..

Then in 3-5 Days the EMail Results will be Ready..
So, allow 8-10 Days for Results..

DNA Sex Test Results
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

A Print-Out and the DNA Sexing Report Certificate will come in the Mail in 2-3 Weeks.

SWAN DNA-Certificate
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Example of the Certificate that Avian BioTech Sends. (I added the Photo)

This DNA-Sex Test with its Certificate increases the Salability of Swans/Cygnets. 
This information is Very Desirable to Folks looking for Swans/Cygnets. 
NO Guessing the Sex.

There are other Animal Genetic Labs that do this Testing.
This is the Lab I have used for years.. 
Original Name * AVIAN BioTech – Avian Services Center *

Now the Laboratory’s Name is:  . . Animal Genetics

Animal Genetics Lab
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Over the Years, Animal Genetics have Updated their WebSite..
I have Tried to List all their Current Links.. But, they keep Changing.
Check their WebSite:

Animal Genetics, Inc. has instructions on their WebSite
for Proper Collection of Samples.
FOR True Feather Samples to Send for DNA-Sex Testing.
Animal Genetics Page for Avian DNA Sexing (Feather)

Feathers must be Plucked.. FRESH and Allowed to DRY Completely.
Do Not Picked Up Feathers laying on the Ground.
No Loose Moulted Feathers.
The Test is Run on the Pink Skin Flesh that is inside the Quill.

SWAN Feathers DNA-Sex Testing 
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Feathers MUST be Plucked-Pulled from the Live Bird.

DNA Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Cygnets must be Old Enough to have Real-True Feathers.
Fuzzy Down is NOT Acceptable. Feathers will start coming in
when they are around Two – Three Months Old – 60-90 Days.

DNA Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing
DNA Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Pin Feathers are New Growth Feathers.. They are Rich in DNA.
5-6 Pin Feathers are an Acceptable Sample. ( I have not Collected these. )

Swan Cygnet 90 Days Old
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

These are Photo Images to help you see what needs to be done…

Pull 5-10 Contour Feathers from the Chest area…
A Slight Tug will be needed..

It Does Not Hurt the Swan to Pull these Feathers…
They will FUSS just being held..

Fresh Plucked Feathers
Swans DNA-Sex Testing
Mute Swan Contour Feathers
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

The Breast Feathers are Contour Feathers..
NO Very Big.. About 3-4 Inches. They are Curved.
Get Control of the Cygnet/Swan. They may Fuss just being Held.
Gather a Small Clump of Breast Feathers – Pinch them..
Pull UPWARD Until they Come Out. No Need to Jerk them.
It is NOT Painful for the Cygnet/Swan.

You NEED 5-6 Contour Feathers with the Quill attached to the Feathers..
a Few Extra is OK to Submit..

Place DRY Feather Sample in a ZipLoc Bag just before Mailing.
Label each Swan and Sample so you know which Swan the Results will Correspond to.

Feather DNA Sample for Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing
Polish Mute Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

You will Receive a DNA-Sex Test Result Certificate for each Cygnet/Swan.
This Certificate should stay with the Swan through its Life.
This is much like their “Birth Certificate” – “Hatch Certificate.”
Since the SAFE Time to Pinion Cygnets is their First 10-14-21 Days..
It is not always possible to be sure what Sex the Cygnets are
when deciding which Wing to Pinion..

Pinioned Swan Cygnet
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

It is BETTER to Pinion A Wing by 10-14-21 Days then Not to Pinion.
Grounded Cygnets and Swan are Safer as Private Property Pets.

There are Instructions to Clip a Tiny Piece of Toe Claw for DNA-Sex Testing.

Swan Missing Toe Claw
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

I am not familiar with this.. I do not know if this will Bleed..
We had One 10 Month Old Female Cygnet
–                                                    that was Missing a Toe Claw.
I Wondered if this was how she was Tested.. ??
Animal Genetics offers DNA Sexing for Birds from the Vascular Material
found on the Collagen Membrane of an Egg.

There are Instructions for sending
–    Egg Shells for DNA-Sex Testing…

Mute Swan Egg Shells
Swans DNA-Sex Testing
Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

I am not familiar with Testing DNA using the Shell..
The “Dam” will generally Ingest the Shell if a Cygnet Hatches. 
Which Cygnet belongs to the Egg Shell Membrane  ???

Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing
Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

This might be Practical when Eggs are Hatched in an Incubator.
Making Sure which Cygnet belongs to which Shell would be Tricky.
Check HOW to Submitted this type of Sample Properly.

Take Care to Adjust ANY Leg Band so it will NOT
Slide UP the Leg over the Ankle Joint.. The Joint Next to the Feathers…

Cable Tie ID Swan Cygnet
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Adjust to Minimize Catching on things.

As the Cygnet/Swan Grows. THEY GROW QUICKLY.

We have used Colored Cable Ties on Cygnets we are Hand Raising.
NOT on Tiny Cygnets on the Pond with their Parents.

Colored Bands to ID Cygnets 
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Most Hardware Stores have Multi-Colored – Multi Size Cable Ties.

ID Banding for Swans

I have NO Suggestions on how to Label or ID Tiny Cygnets
that are on Ponds with their Parents.

ANY Thing Placed on their Legs will NEED to be changed as they GROW..
We WAIT for them to be 12-14 Weeks Old.. and Band the Summer Survivors.

One Lake Community Banded their Tiny Cygnets when they Pinioned them.
Then were Unable to Catch and Change the Tightening Leg Bands.
Two of the Fast Growing Cygnets had Severely Constricted Legs.
Once the Bands were Removed, it Took Months for their Legs to Function.

I was Hoping to find a Safe Permanent way to ID Swans.

There are Metal Registration Bands for Trumpeter Swans.
These may not be used on other Swan Species.

There are Colored Bands for Domestic Poultry.
NONE are Large enough for Mature Male Mutes.

I made several Calls to Companies that make Bands and ID Tags
for Poultry and Farm Animals.  Suggestion – This Clip MIGHT work.

June 2016 – After Evaluating these as Possible Permanent IDs
for Swans/Cygnets, a Veterinarian felt these might be OK to try on 
Cygnets that are FOUR Months Old. Clipping ON Wing Skin.

(June 2016)  More Information will Follow:  SCRAP this Idea.
As of August 2018 We have NOT used the Ear Tags Below.
The Concern is that NO ONE will LOOK for the Tags Covered
with Fluffy Wing Feathers.  A Good IDEA -But Maybe not Practical.
NONE of the Suggestions Below.. are Really Going to Work.. (Sigh)

NB&T Metal Ear Tag 681

National Band & Tag Company
International Identification INC

721 York St, PO Box 72430
Newport, KY 41072-0430
Phone: 1(859) 261-2035
Fax: 800-261-TAGS (8247)
E-Mail: tags@nationalband.com

Spoke with a Sales Person Natasha April 2016
She felt Metal Livestock “Tags” would work well put on Tiny Cygnets
Weighing One Pound that will Grow into Swans 25-30 Pounds.
These would be clipped into the Wing Skin.
TAKE CARE NOT TO Clip anything but SKIN.

Metal Livestock Identification Ear Tag
Cattle Ear Tags Self-Piercing – Self Locking
Tamper-Resistant Light Weight Aluminum
Will Last for 20+ Years. Style 681
Packs of 100 Number or Letters as you Choose.
One Color add $10.00

There is an Applicator Squeeze Tool that Seals these Tags.
The Photo Images is on the same Page.. $25.00
One Investment should take care of 10-12 Years of Cygnets.

2018 – For Now,  we will keep Seeking for another Idea.
I have Chatted with various Veterinarians about the Implanted
  ID Chips used with Cats and Dogs..
I did read about a Public Park being able to Recover a Stolen Swan
because the Swan had an ID Chip.

Something to Think About..
Draw Back:  You would need a Scanner to Read the Chip..
In the END WE Continue to Use Colored Cable Ties.

If you have several Cygnets from One Brood that you are SURE
you can Monitor the Leg Bands..  DO NOT Allow to GET TIGHT.
Constriction Damage to their Legs CAN Cause a Lifetime of Limping.

Cable Tie ID Swan Cygnet
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

AND CHANGE as they Grow…….
Have at least 4 Colors of SMALL Cable Ties…
OR four Colors of Light Weight Cotton Cord (Crochet Floss)…

Colored Bands to ID Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

You can ID a Total of 8 Cygnets.
One of Four Colors on Left Legs
One of Four Colors on Right Legs

IF you need to ID more then 8 Cygnets..
Use combinations of 2 Colors… Keep Careful Records..

NEVER Let the Cable Ties get Tight on their Legs..

Cable Tie ID Swan Cygnet
Swans DNA-Sex Testing
Cable Tie ID Swan Cygnet
Swans DNA-Sex Testing
Cable Tie ID Swan Cygnet
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Before you Cut the Cable TieSlide a Folded Piece of Paper under
the Cable Tie then Put the Scissors between the Cable Tie & Paper.
This way you will Not put any Pressure on the Skin
when you Snip the Cable Tie Off.

ANIMAL GENETICs Main Office in the U.S.A.
Fax: 1-850-386-1146 . . . . . . contact@animalgenetics.us
Email: https://www.animalgenetics.us/about-us.php#contactform

Mail DNA Sample for Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

ANIMAL GENETICs AVIAN Biotech International
3382 Capital Circle NE
Tallahassee, FL 32308
ANIMAL GENETICs  AVIAN Biotech Office in England
Animal Genetics (Europe)
1 Mount Charles Rd,   St. Austell Cornwall, PL25 3LB   ENGLAND

Telephone: 44 (0)1726247788
Email: Use Contact Form . . . . . contact@animalgenetics.us

If you are Lucky to know Someone who can teach you to Vent Check
the Swans/Cygnets, try to Learn..
Then when you are Unsure Send a Sample for DNA-Sex Testing.

Male Mute Swan Cygnet
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Not Finding “Male Parts” does not mean you have a Female.
It just means you did not find a Penis.

It is Surprising how Difficult it is to be sure if a Mute Swan is a Male or Female.
 Look at this Breeding Pair – So Similar.

Breeding Polish Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Cygnets of all Swan Species are the same Challenge.

Black Australian Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Size of Swan – Size of Cygnet – Not Reliable

In the Summer of 2015, we Rescued Three Cygnets from the Same Brood.
The Larger Smoky-Grey Cygnet was the Female.
The Two Smaller Creamy White Nest Mates were BOTH Males.

If we had just Guessed… we would be WRONG.

Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing
Male Mute Swan  Nest Mates
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Several Years Ago.. A Swan Breeder with 20+ Years of Experience,
Claimed two Mature Swans that were always together were a Male/Female Pair.
A Person in Texas Purchased this “Pair” and Arranged for them to be
Flown from Pennsylvania. Off to Texas they Flew by Air Mail Cargo.
By Good Fortune the two Swans Arrived Safe and Sound.
But, it only took the New Owner a Short Time to Realize Both were MALE.
He was NOT Happy…
We met an Older Gentleman with a Lone Two Year Old Swan on his Pond.  
We hoped to help him find a Mate. He was SURE “Swanie” was a Female.

Two Year Old Mute Swan
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

“Swanie” had been Vent Checked Twice… by a Person Familiar with Swans.

Male Mute Swan
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

I Remember Thinking, this Swan has a Very Large Knob and is “Busking.”
I thought… Hummmm.. Acts like a Male.  (Not a Good Way to Guess Sex.) 

I was told, “No.”
A Person who “knows” how to Vent Check, had done so Twice
and Determined “Swanie” was a Female.
I know “Looks” vary Greatly..
Lone Females may Behave more Aggressive as a Survival Tactic.

This Gentleman Purchased a Year Old Male Juvenile.

Swan Companions
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Four Years Passed….
The Swans Spent more Time with One Fussing and Chasing the Other
then being a Peaceful Bonded Pair.
No Mating was Observed – Nesting… Yes – Sorta.  NO Eggs.

Same Sex Male Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

The Purchased Juvenile Male had Grown into a Large Dominant Male Swan. 
He would Build the Nest and “Sit” on it..

“Swanie” was NOT Allowed Near the Nest.        ???
The Owner was Bewildered and Frustrated at the Pair’s Behavior.

I Suggested several Times this MIGHT be Two Males.
But, the Owner was SURE he was RIGHT ! !

Male Mute Swan
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

One Winter Day, we had a Chance to Pull several Breast Feathers from “Swanie.”
When the DNA-Results came back…..
“Swanie” was CONFIRMED a Male.   The Owner was Shocked !!!

Same Sex Male Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing
Same Sex Male Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

NO Eggs after Two Nesting Seasons when the Swans were 4-6 years Old
was the BIGGEST Clue.

Poor “Swanie” had been the Submissive Male
to a Larger Male who was often Nasty to him.
Size of Knob.. Not Reliable      Only Mute Swans have Knobs.

The Knob of both Male and Female Mutes Changes through the Year
as the Swan’s Hormones Increase/Decease Annually..

Female Mute Swan Large Knob
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

The Knob on a Mute Swan will Change as their Weight Changes.
Healthy Swans tend to have Larger Knobs – Underweight Swans have Smaller Knobs.

Female Mute Swan Knob
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

This was a Lone Feral Mute we Visited often.

Vocal Pitch-Sounds

With many Ducks you can Differentiate Males from Females by their Vocal Sounds.
But this will not work with Swans.

Listening to Cygnets and Adult Swans, I do hear that they all have their own “Voice.”  
Each Cygnet in a Brood has a unique Chirp.  
But, which are Male Vocals and which are Female.. ???

Singing Swan Sisters
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Behavior ??? Not Reliable

Some Females are Dominant when Alone – Survival Mode.
They Busk and Snort and Swim in Full Display..                Swan on Left Female.         Swan on Right Male.

Busking Mute Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

We were Fooled by a Large Swan Living Alone on the River near us.
But, Eggs in HER Nest and we REALIZED this was a Mature Female.

Nesting Mute Swan
Swans DNA-Sex Testing


Female Mute Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

When Two Females Live Together
–          One will be Submissive and the other Dominant.
There may be all Ranges of Behavior. They will Nest.
They may Both Build a Nest.  Laying LOTs of Unfertile Eggs.
OR They may Build One Nest Together and put ALL their Eggs in One Nest.
A Nest with 10-15 Unfertile Eggs… Good Bet these are TWO Females.

Two Females are more Vulnerable to Predation.

Female Swans Nesting
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

One Swan may do most of the Nest “Sitting.”      One may Patrol…
Depending on how closely you Observe them….

Female Mute Swans Nesting
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

You might be Unaware they are Both Female.
Nest Failure is Common..   No Male = No Cygnets.

Nesting Mute Swan
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

So when the Eggs do not Hatch after 42 Days (Unfertilized)..
Owners may just be Disappointed. Blaming a Very Cold or Wet Spring..

Male Mute Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

When Two Males Live Together
–         One Male will be Submissive – the Other Dominant.
They may Behavior like a Pair most of the Time..
There tends to be more Fussing and Nipping and Chasing.
NestMates have the Best Chance of Living Together Peacefully.

When they Nest (at 3-6 Years Old)  – NO EGGs.  BIG CLUE.   Two Males..
BUT, as I mentioned Earlier..
I am Learning of More and More (DNA-Tested) Females that Never Lay Eggs.
An Online Story “Much Ado about a Mute Swan.”
The Website that Told this Swan Story is no longer Active.
The Story Summary:
“Prince” and “Princess” together for 21 Years on a Community Lake.
They Nested every Spring out on the large Community Lake.
Each Spring the Community hoped and watched for Cygnets.
In 21 Years there were NEVER any Cygnets. ??? 21 Years.

Some Years “Prince” and “Princess” Nested together.
Some Years they both Built Nests. ??? Never any Cygnets.
Boaters went out to Check the Nests… NO Eggs… 21 Years.
When “Princess” died.. she was taken to a Veterinarian for a Necropsy.
The Report – “Princess” was a Male.
–                               21 Years and NO ONE GUESSED !!!

We became Part of a Similar “Swan Soap Opera.”

Same Sex Mute Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

In 1987, Two young Royal Mute Cygnets NestMates were Vent Checked.
Determined to be Females.  Named “Angel” and “Princess.”
They were taken to a Large Golf Course Pond to Live. 
For 26 Years, these Swans lived Peacefully.   No Cygnets.
NO Aggressive Behavior – No Problems for the Golfers.
During the 2013-2014 Winter Months “Angel” was found Deceased..

Same Sex Mute Swans
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

A Young Female was Purchase as a Companion for “Princess.”
Two Springs passed.. Nests were Built with Unhatched Eggs.

Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

THE Third Spring – 2017, there were Seven Tiny Cygnets on the Golf Course POND !!!!      

Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

PANIC and Disbelief. . . . . . . . . . . . .After Sorting some History and Known Facts..
#1 FACT – the New Polish (DNA-Checked) Female was the Cygnets’ Dam = FEMALE !
At the Age of 30, “Princess” had to be Renamed “Prince.”
(Photo from 2014) Had to be ReLabeled..

Male Mute Swan
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

 At 30 Years Old, “Prince” had his first Cygnets.. ALL Beautiful and Healthy.. 
All Seven Cygnets were Removed, Hand Raised and are now on New Home Ponds.

Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

In Memory of “Angel” – Posthumously Renamed “Luigi” by his Friend Pat L.

Male Mute Swan
Swans DNA-Sex Testing
Swans DNA-Sex Testing


Swan / Cygnet Coloring is NOT Helpful – Polish vs. Royal

Mute Swans – Royal vs Polish Cygnets

Male Polish Mute Swan Cygnet
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Old Published Information was Misleading.
All Polish Cygnets are Female.. > > > >Surprise.. This is NOT True.
Black Feet – Brown Feet – Dark Orange Feet – Pink Feet.
Pull a Pink or Blue Slip of Paper out of a Hat Full of little Pieces of Paper.  
With Lots of Experience you get better at Guessing.. GUESSING.

Female Polish Mute Swan Cygnet 
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

FROM an ARTICLE Published around 2000

**** ALL Creamy White Cygnets will be FEMALE… (WRONG)
They can be Pinioned on the Right without worrying about Vent Checks 
or DNA-Sex Tests. (WRONG)  Very Wrong ! 

Male Polish Mute Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

This Information does NOT Hold TRUE.
I have heard others use this OLD Information with the Polish Cygnets.

I had Read an Article about this, but that was found NOT TRUE.
That Article has been Removed from the Internet. 
Replaced with the Current Information..  Polish Cygnets can be Females or Males.

Polish Mute Swan Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing
Swan Cygnet DNA Results
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

This Brood of SIX Polish Mute Swan Cygnets
DNA-Sex Tested Four Female – Two Males…
From the RATTLING CROW June 2012

Conover MR, Reese JG, & Brown AD (2000).
Costs and Benefits of Subadult Plumage in Mute Swans: Testing
Hypotheses for the Evolution of Delayed Plumage Maturation.

This Article Corrected the previous Information about the Polish Mutes.

Swan Cygnets DNA Results
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

We decided it is BEST to have All Swans and Cygnets Regardless of Color
– DNA-Sex Checked.

DNA Sex Tested Cygnets
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

There will be some Cygnets that will be a Silvery-Grey with Grey Feet and Beaks.

Male Mute Swan Grey Feet
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Some are Male – Some are Female.. WE TEST – NOT GUESS.
The Swan Below was Purchased as a “Known” Female Polish Cygnet.
By the Age of 5 Years Old..  NO Nesting, NO Eggs..   ????

Mute Female Swan
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Feathers were Sent..  Surprise.. FEMALE..
This is One of Three Females we Know that NEVER Lay Eggs..  ???
SO… We Send Samples for DNA-Sex Testing on ALL Swans and Cygnets we do not know. 
I would rather be sure then to “Guess.”

Swan Cygnet Feathered Out
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Enough Examples


WONDER DUST – Farnam Company, Inc.
Please Read the Ratings and Reviews..
I am familiar with this Product..  Use this when I Pinion Cygnets.
It does STOP Bleeding and Treats Minor Scrapes and Cuts on the Skin of a Swan or Cygnet.
I do know other People who have used Wonder Dust and Recommend it.

Wonder Dust
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

TRACTOR SUPPLY, Co. Check – Available in Store.

Wonder Dust is a Dressing Powder and Blood Coagulant for use on Certain Types
of Minor Wounds, Cuts and Abrasions. Please Read Complete Product Information.
SMARTPAK Farnam Wonder Dust Powder, 4 Oz.

Information from this WebSite…..
Wonder Dust is a Dressing Powder and Blood Coagulant for use on Wounds,
Cuts, Abrasions, and Capillary Bleeding. Will Stop Bleeding Fast,
Dry up the Wound, and Help Control Granulated Tissue Formation
– A Must for any First-Aid Kit!

Mute Swan Proud Flesh on Foot 
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Wonder Dust contains Activated Charcoal to Help Prevent Proud Flesh,
and Serves as a Caustic and Drying Agent for Slow-Healing Sores
and Infected Lesions. Wonder Dust may be used with or without a Bandage.

Mute Swan Proud Flesh on Foot 
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

Proud Flesh Looks like a Pink Bubble Gum Bubble.

Mute Swan Proud Flesh on Foot 
Swans DNA-Sex Testing

This is a Work in Progress..
Information Collected and Organized by L.M.Sweger UpDated JULY 2021

SWANLovers Info
Swans DNA-Sex Testing