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

Mute Swans Annual Moult

October 2nd, 2016 | Posted by LadyNerkle1 in Mute Swans Annual Moult - (Comments Off on Mute Swans Annual Moult)

 Once a Year Swans will Moult Replacing all 25,000 of their Feathers.
Collectively their Feathers are called Plumage.

Mute Swans Feathers Moulting

Moulting is the Periodic Replacement of Feathers by Shedding Old Feathers
while Producing New Ones.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

To Enlarge Images – Right Click Image then Open in a New Tab.

MOULTING – English Spelling

MOLTING – American Spelling

Feathers are Dead Structures at Maturity which are Gradually Abraded.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

In May as the Cobs are Patrolling there are Slight Signs of Spiky Feathers. 

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Wear and Tear during the Year.. Daily Preening.. Feathers Need to be Renewed.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Generally All Healthy Birds Moult at Least One a Year.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

You will KNOW it is Time when you See FEATHERs – LOTs of FEATHERs..

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

It is Good to Understand the Moulting Process your Swans go through.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Especially for Swan Owners who NEED to Clip a Swan to Keep it Grounded.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Swans become Flightless during their Annual “Wing Moult.”

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

In Healthy Swans, the Moulting Occurs after the Nesting Season.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

The Mute Pens Typically Start their Moult Two Weeks after her Cygnets Hatch.
Or if NO Eggs Hatch – Two Weeks after she Starts to EAT !!

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Regaining her Lost Weight.. seems to Stimulate their Moult.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

The Cobs will Show the Signs of Worn, Spiky Primary Wing Feathers.
His Moult Generally begins Five to Six Weeks after the Nest is Closed.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

It is a Gradual Process – Birds Do Not Shed all their Feathers at One Time.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

We will be Raking a Good Size Bag of Shed Feathers Weekly.

This Feather Shedding Process will Occurs in Many Phases.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

The Areas of Feathers that are Shed Varies.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Shedding is Generally Symmetrical, with Feather Loss Even
on each Side of the Body.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Birds/Waterfowl/Swans must Retain Sufficient Feathers to Regulate
their Body Temperature and Repel Moisture.

Mute Swan Shabby Stage
SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Worn Feathers are Less Able to WaterProof and Insulate.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

You can See the Fine Fraying of this Cobs Primary Wing Feathers.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Waterfowl NEED to have Good WaterProofing so they FLOAT !
And so they do not Get Wet into their Skin for Insulation..

Mute Swans Mount
Feather Waterproofing

IF Swans/Cygnets Lose their WaterProofing they GET WET ! !
You will see them Shivering in Cold Pond Water.

SWAN WaterProofing Feathers

Healthy WaterProofing Aids the Insulation that Keeps Swans
Warm in the Cold Winter Months.

Mute Swan Feather Waterproofing

It takes an Average 4-6 Weeks to Renew all their Worn Feathers.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

During the Moulting Periods, Swans Renew Feathers on their Head, Neck and Body,
Shedding the Wing and Tail Feathers during Slightly Later Moulting Period.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

More and More Feathers are on the Ground where the Swans Preen.

Mute Swan Moulting Preening Area

It is Late June and the Cob below is Starting to Moult.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Three Weeks Later, the same Cob, most of his Primary Flight Feathers are Missing.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Bald Spots are Typically Signs of Unrelated Illnesses,
such as Gross Injuries, External Parasites.

As Swans Begin to Shed their Older Worn Feathers,
the Tiny Pin Feathers Start to Emerge through the Skin.

The Tip of the Pin Feathers Break Open for the Full Feathers to Grow-in.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

When our Young Cygnets were getting their First True Feathers,
We could Feel the Pin Feather Down in their Fluffy Down..

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

You will See the Cygnets and Swans Bite at the Itchy Pin Feathers as they Emerged.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

I Noticed Tiny White Dandruff on the Ground.
The Cygnets were Nipping OFF the Ends of the Pin Feathers.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Feathers make up a Percentage of a Swans Body Weight.
Estimates for a Mature Mute Swan about One Pound of their Weight is Plumage.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

It takes a Large Amount of Energy to Replace All their Feathers.
A Healthy Diet is Important.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

If a Swan has Lost Weight due to a Poor Diet, Illness or Injury,

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

their Moult is often Delayed or Poorly Staggered.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

This Rescued Black Australian Cob was Severely Under Weight.. His Moult was Stalled.
After Three Months and a Steady Weight Gain his Plumage Improved.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

The Rescued Juvenile below was UnderWeight.. After Gaining Weight she Moulted in October.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Once they are able to Gain a few Healthy Pounds their Moult will Resume.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

**********************************************************************************

   During a Royal Mute Cygnet’s First Winter, their Smoky Grey-Brown Feather
will Slowly be Replaced by more and more White Feather.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

I am Not Sure if this is Considered Moulting ??
There are Feathers Shed.. (See Above) as More and More White Feathers Appear.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

This 9 Month Old Royal Mute Cygnet Still has a few Beige Bands in his Wings..
These will Remain until the First Full Summer Moult.
They will do a FULL Moult of all 25,000 Feathers in June-July-August.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

You will find their First Primary Flight Feathers with the Pretty Earth Tones laying around.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

I Miss the Pretty Feather Patterns of the Royal Mute Cygnets.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

***************************************************

Mute Swan Red-Head – Red Crown – Iron Stains.

Swans use their Beak and Head to do most of their Preening.
The Tiny Feathers on their Heads become Worn.
 If there is Iron in their Pond Water, this Mineral Attaches to these Feathers.
 Air Interacts with the Iron Particles and Rust Forms.
 This Rusty Cap will be Renewed to a Clean White during their Annual Moult.

Mute Swan Rust Red Head
SWAN MOULTING Feathers

As their Feathers Wear, they Stain more Easily.

Mute Swan Red-Head
SWAN MOULTING Feathers

    It is Easy to Spot their Large Primary Flight Feathers.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Their Preening Site is a Messy Place.. A Weekly Raking to Remove this is Wise.

Mute Swan Preening Area
SWAN MOULTING Feathers

**********************************************************

Their Moult may Start at Slightly Different Times Annually.

This Female had a VERY Late Nesting due to Flooding.. A Third Clutch of Eggs. 
Her Moult was DELAYED until Late July – Two Weeks After Nesting Ended.. 
It Helps to Understand the Timing of Moulting. 

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

If you Need to Clip your Swans.. Start to Watch the Stages of Moulting.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Their Preening Area will Look like a Pillow Exploded.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers
Mute Swan Preening Area
SWAN MOULTING Feathers

   Females Generally Moult in June – Males in July. 

Nature Timed the Adults’ Moult so the Female-Dam would be Grounded with her Tiny Cygnets.
The Females Generally Begin their Moult TWO Weeks after Nesting Ends.
 The Male-Sire Remains Full-Feathered so he is still able to Flog to Protect his Family.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

As the Female’s Primary Flight Feathers are Growing in the Male will Start his Moult.  
This way they are Not Both Grounded at the Same Time.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Our “Handsome Fellow” was Rescued One Year before this Image.
He had to have his Left Wing Completely Removed.. Long Recovery.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

You May Observe your Swans Pulling their Wing Feathers OUT !

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

I was Sitting Near our Cob while he PULLED his Larger Wing Feather OUT – POP – POP !

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Both the Pens and Cobs have their “Shabby” Stage..

SWAN MOULTING Feathers
Mute Swans Shabby Stage
SWAN MOULTING Feathers
Mute Swan Shabby Stage
SWAN MOULTING Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers
Mute Swan Blood Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers
Mute Swan Blood Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers

If your Swans are Pinioned, there will Only be Primary Flight Feathers from One Wing.

Mute Swan Blood Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers
Mute Swan Blood Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers

**************************************************

As the New Pin Feathers Emerge they are “Itchy.”

Swans will Spend more Time Preening – Biting Deep into their Thick Down.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

It is Time for the NEW PLUMAGE !

“Pin Feathers” – “Blood Feathers” are the Developing New Feathers.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

These Pin – Blood Feathers Grow as the First True Feather of Young Cygnets.
The Same Process of Pin – Blood Feathers will Replace Feathers during their Annual Moult.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

THE LARGER NEW FEATHERS ARE BLOOD the FEATHERS.

The Pin – Blood Feather looks like a Pink Straws.
At this Stage the Pink Straws have a Blood Supply Flowing through it.
If Damaged, a Swan/Cygnet CAN Bleed Heavily. This NEEDs Immediate Attention.

Mute Swans Blood Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers

The Large Primary Flight Feathers are Blood Feathers at this Stage.

As the Feather Shaft Grows Longer, the Blood Supply will be Seen
More in the Base of the Shaft – Quill.
The Tip of the Keratin Shaft Encases the Forming Feather.
As Swans/Cygnets Preen, they Nip-off the Keratin Tips and the Feathers Unfurls.

Mute Swans Blood Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Many of the Larger Tail Feathers are Blood Feathers.

Mute Swan Blood Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Remember Healthy Cob and the Pen will Moult at Different Times.
About 4 Weeks Apart.

Mute Swan Blood Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers

If a Swan has a Poor Diet, is underweight, their Moult may be Delayed.  
Swans Typically Lose a Pound of Body Weight with the Loss and Regrowth of their Feathers.
Good Nutrition will Help Keep your Swans Healthy.

Mute Swan Blood Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Also, the Pens Need to Replace the Weight they Lost Laying their Clutch of Eggs.

Mute Swan Blood Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers

> > A Broken Blood Feather can Result in Serious Bleeding. < <
During this Time Take EXTRA Care when Catching or Transporting your Swans.
These Blood Filled Feathers MAY be Broken in Transport Crates – Pet Carriers.
DO NOT Release a Swan with ANY Bleeding Feathers to your Pond.

IF NECESSARY: PULL any BLEEDING FEATHERs ! !
( In a Few Weeks these Will Regrow. )

Hold the Skin-Tissue with your Fingers of One Hand to Keep the Skin from Tearing.
Firmly – Slowly Pull the Broken, Bleeding Feather Straight OUT.
Use Needle Nose Pliers if it is Too Short to Grip.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

The Blood Vessels in the Feather’s Shaft will Start to Atrophy
once the Feathers have Fully Grown-in.

Mute Swan Blood Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Once the Larger Blood Feathers are Completely Developed,
the Blood Vessels Atrophy.. Leaving a Hollow, WHITE Channel in the Feather Shafts.
If Broken or Cut at this Stage, these Feather will NOT Bleed.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

When the Blood Supply has Atrophied, the term “Blood Feather” is No Longer Used.

If your Swans is Full-Winged and Needs to be Clipped Annually
this is when you Need to Start Watching for your Opportunity.
DO NOT Cut any Pink or Purple Area of a Feather
– Only where the Feather Shaft is White.

Mute Swan Full Wing
SWAN MOULTING Feathers

The Topic Page Link Below will Explain Clipping.
Clipping Captive Swan Pets to Keep them Grounded.

 CLIPPING Captive Swan Pets  >>PLEASE READ COMPLETE PAGE.
https://swanlovers.net/category/clipping-captive-swan-pets/

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

There is a Short Period of Time when the Feathers are NOT Stiff Enough to Allow Flight.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Such Beautiful Creatures.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

With ALL the Beauty that Nature Shares with Us..

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

These Moments can be the Hardest to Bare.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

I NEVER want these Magic Moments to End..

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

For Several Months the Swan’s Appearance is Enchanting White.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Every Feather may be Perfect.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers
Mute Swan Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers
Mute Swan Wing Feathers
SWAN MOULTING Feathers
Mute Swan Wing Feathers

I am Adding this Information at the End: I Read this in One Article about Moulting.
Artificial Lights at Night can Affect the Moult of Birds.
I Read that a Single 40 Watt Light Bulb at the End of a 1000 Foot Field can Alter the Timing.

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

Natural Lighting is DARK at Night.
Their Body’s Cycle through Daily Hormone Changes..
Natural Darkness at Night help with this Process..

SWAN MOULTING Feathers

************************************************************************
A Non-Invasive Method of Studying the Moult of Swans is Photography.
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
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&