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Pinioning is Permanent

September 4th, 2016 | Posted by LadyNerkle1 in Pinioning is Permanent - (Comments Off on Pinioning is Permanent)




Permanently Ground SWAN CYGNETs 1 – 21 Days Old.

Pinioning Swan Cygnets

Around 2010 when I First Learned to Pinion..
the Recommendation was to Pinion by 10 Days Old. 

By 2015 – 2016 I Developed a Safer Way.
I have Learned >>> Following the Procedure-Instructions Below
We can SAFELY Pinion Precious Cygnets up to 21 Days.

Pinioning Swan Cygnets


I WISH this was not Necessary.

Seeing Mute Swans Living Wild and Free to Fly
is an Experience I will always Cherish.

Mute Swans Flying

CLICK Images to Enlarge 

Since 2003-2004 the Legal Status of Mute Swans
in the United States has Drastically changed.

IN a Number of States Captive Mute Swans are REQUIRED to be Pinioned.

Swan Pinion Wing

ANY MUTE SWAN that becomes Feral in PA will not Survive Long.
This is Posted in the PA Hunting & Trapping Digest..
find attached Page.

PAGC 2014-15 Hunting Digest

There have NEVER been more then 100 Mute Swans living Feral in PA according
to the Mid-Summer Mute Swan Surveys
conducted by the Pennsylvania Game Commission in 2005 – 2008 – 2011.   
 > > >  (MSMSS)  These Surveys have been Discontinued in PA. 

Mute Swans Flying

Working with and Learning about Mute Swans over the Years,
I have come to Terms with the Benefit of Pinioning Swan Cygnets.
Any Swan that leaves your Private Property and becomes Feral and Free,
WILL Pay Dearly.            Few will Survive.

Mute Swan Flying

Most of the Young Mute Cygnets  ( 8 to 12 Month Old ) that are Rescued in the Spring..
are JUST LUCKY that someone found them before the Hunters.

Rescued Mute Swan Cygnet

The RESPONSIBLE Thing to do is to Pinion Swan Cygnets 
   Find them Good Homes.. DO NOT Allow them to Fly Away. 


Swan Cygnet Wing Pinion
From Wikipedia
Pinioning is the Act of Surgically Removing a Section of Wing at the Pinion Joint.

AVIAN WING Bones Pinion Joint
The Wrist – Pinion Joint of a Bird’s Wing is Farthest from the Body.
To Prevent Flight, Pinioning is often done to Waterfowl and Poultry.

Pinioned Mute Swan

Pinioned Swans and Waterfowl may Walk Away from your Property.
Hopefully, you will have a Better Chance to Locate them if they are “On Foot.”    Pinion Swan Cygnet

Most Reading Sources Recommend this be done by 10 Days Old.
I have FOUND at 10-21 Days the Cygnets are EASIER to Handle.

Pinioning “should” only be done by a Trained Breeder-Person or Veterinarian.
For Those of you New to Swan Care… This may be a Challenge. 
Few Veterinarians are Trained to Pinion.. Few are Willing.

>>> Check Your Area for an Exotic-Avian Veterinarian.

Before Sharing this Information with the Public at Large on this Site,
A Rescue Friend and I took Two Cygnets into our Swans’ Veterinarian’s Office.
I Asked Dr. L to Watch this Procedure and Check that I was Doing this Safely.
And to Suggest Any other Steps that Should be Included. 
He Approved my Procedure. 
Dr. L has Commented How Nice these Pinions Look when Healed. 
Pinioning Swans Cygnets

After doing this for a Number of Years….These Thoughts:

I have Pinioned Cygnets Up to 21 Days with NO Problems.
I Like that they are a Little Bigger and NOT so Fragile..

Opportunity is the Priority.  CATCH the Cygnets when you CAN.
Pinioning Swan Cygnets
With this Important NOTE:  Try to Give the Swans and Cygnets 48 Hours 
for them to IMPRINT with Each Other before you Gather up the Cygnets. 
The Swan Family NEEDs this Vital Imprinting Process to Occur.

Pinioning Swan Cygnets Do Your Best to Leave the Swans and Cygnets Alone for their First 48 Hours. 

Pinioning Swan Cygnets

Have Your Supplies READY.. When it is Time for the Cygnets to Hatch.
Cygnets should Hatch 37 Days after the Pen starts to “Sit” Full Time.
Pinion Swan Cygnet
It can be a Challenge to Catch the Swans and Cygnets once they Leave the Nest.. 
SO, PLAN Various Ways to Catch the Swan Family.. Pinion Swan Cygnet
In the Image Above, the Parents have taken their Cygnets to a Small, Narrow Stream.. 
They did this for Several Days for their Cygnets to Enjoy ALL the Spring Insects. 
We Made our Plans.   One Try and Extra Hands.. and we Successfully Pinioned their Cygnets.
Every Pair of Adult Swans will Behave Differently.. NO Rules..

“IF” You Know What You are Doing.. you can Safely Pinion up to 21 Days.
IF you CAN NOT FIND Someone to HELP… Read this Information Carefully.
EVERY Thing you Need to Know is Here..  I have been as Detailed as Possible.
Pinion Swan Cygnet

*****  The Cygnet Below..  was Pinioned in about 5 Minutes  ..Little Stress.
One Quick “SQUEAK,” there was NO Bleeding and NO Pain when Finished.Pinion CygnetsWonder Duct Active Ingredient:  Iodoform – 2.0%, Potassium – 5.0%,
Flowers of Sulfur – 2.0%, Tannic Acid – 2.0%, Activated Charcoal – 5.0%,
Copper Sulfate – 13.0%, Hydrated Lime – 71.0%

A Little Puff of Wonder Dust for a Final Touch.
Pinion Cygnets

 > > > CHECK there is NO Bleeding
before Putting the Cygnets back on Your Pond..

Pinion Swan Cygnet

The First Time Pinioning, People are Afraid to PULL the Tape TIGHT..
REALLY TIGHT !! The Cygnet Should SQUEAL ! 
That is when they Bleed, when the Tape is NOT Tight Enough..
If your Cygnet Bleeds.. RE-Tie -PULL the Tape Tighter !

How much Blood can the Cygnets Safely Lose.. ?? Not Much..
I would be Guessing.. Each Day Old they are would be Different..
Their Size.. So many Factors.. As Little as Possible.

Pinion Swan Cygnet

      The Same Cygnet at Four Months Old..  
Pinion Swan Cygnet

AFTER 21 Days Old take ALL the Cygnets or Older Juveniles or Adult Swans
to Your Exotic-Avian Veterinarian to have them Pinioned.
Between 21 and 30 Days Solid Bone May Start to Form..
The Exact Day can not be Stated..
If you Cut through a Bone it will Bleed and be MORE Difficult to Stop.
Young Cygnets do not have EXTRA Blood.  PREVENT BLEEDING ! 

After 21 Days of Age – Pinioning is Considered a Painful, Invasive Surgical Procedure.
It should NOT be done Outside of a Veterinary Office without appropriate Anesthesia,
Surgical Care, and Pain Medication.   > > DONE Wrong – it can be FATAL.

Swan Cygnets Days Old

DONE WRONG – Without Understanding “How” and “Why”
can result in serious Harm to your Tiny Cygnets.
Pinion Swan Cygnets
The Cygnet Wings Above – it Appears ONLY the Alula was Removed..
NOPE – that is NOT the Portion that Should be REMOVED…
This 10 Month Old Cygnet was ABLE TO FLY !! 

This Cygnet was Sold by a Farmer that DID NOT KNOW How to Pinion. 
The Cygnet came Close to Learning to Fly…  Short Hop & Drops.. 
The New Family Shared Photos when they Adopted him.
Seeing the Photos I COULD SEE Both Wings had Primary Feathers !  
Clipping will be Necessary… to Keep him Grounded !!!

PINIONED or FULL Wing          Learn to Visually Know..

Learn how to Visually Tell if a Cygnet or Swans is Pinioned.. 

Pinion Swan Cygnets
READ ALL this Topic Page.  I have Many Examples and REPEATING Text.
Pinion Swan Cygnets

If you know someone who knows How to Pinion.. ask for their Help.
BUT, Please Read this.. So YOU can Tell “IF” they do Know what to Do.
Pinion Swan Cygnets

For Your VERY First TIME..   Share the Experience – Extra Hands..
ASK Your Veterinarian to Come to your Pond and Help.  Never Hurts to Ask. 

Mute Swan Cygnet
OR: TAKE ONE CYGNET to your Avian Veterinarian and have Him or Her do this with you.
ASK your Veterinarian to READ this Topic Page..
Most Veterinarians have NEVER Pinioned Swan Cygnets.

Place this ONE Cygnet in a Container it can not ESCAPE from..
Keep the Cygnet Safe.  Always CHECK the Carrier Door is Closed.
A SMALL Pet Carrier is Idea..  Line with NewsPaper or Old Toweling.

SWAN Pet Carriers

If your Veterinarian is not Familiar with doing a Pinion,
SHARE this LINK and Information with them.
Pinioning is Permanent 


The MORE Swan Owners/Veterinarians who are willing to Pinion,
the MORE Cygnets and Swans will be SAVED from becoming Feral.  Or Rogue.

Mute Swan Full WingThe Swan Above was NOT Pinioned.

The Swan Below Both Wings were Pinioned.   DO NOT PINION BOTH WINGs.
Mute Swan Pinioned*****
Pinion Swan

 The Cygnet Below was Properly Pinioned – Just One Wing – Alula Spared.Pinion CygnetPinion Swan Cygnet The Wing looks Very Nice with Alula Feathers Covering the Pinioned Joint.
Pinion Swan Cygnets

The Wing Below was Cut Shorter then it Needed to be.
The Alula was not Spared.. NO Feathers to Cover the Cut-Butted Wing End.
This Swan’s Pinion is OK.. It just is not as Aesthetic..
Pinion Swan Cygnets



You will Need to have One or Two Helpers.
Have a Plan – all Pond Situations are Different.
Have Equipment and Supplies READY.


Pinion SuppliesA Sharp Pair of Blunt End Scissors  –  Be Sure they Cut Cleanly.
– Scrub them with Soap & Water  – Leave in Open Position
Sterilize by Boiling in 4 Quarts of Water 3-5 minutes.
Save the Cooled Boiled Water to RINSE Scissors between Cygnets.

Pour about 6 Ozs. of the Sterile Water into a VERY CLEAN Plastic Gallon Jug.
Shake to Spread Water inside Jug and Discard this Rinse.
Now Pour Remaining Boiled Sterile Water into Jug.

A Clean Dish Pan to Organize your Supplies in a Clean Place.
The Ground and Grass around a Pond has Lots of Dirt and Poop.

Several Old Bath Towels to put on your Lap – Cygnets will POOP.
It is Wise
to Wear Shoes or Boots that can be Washed or Cleaned.
Several Old Wash Clothes – For Clean Ups.

Rubber or Plastic Food Handler’s Gloves if you Feel you Need them.
Roll of Paper Towels. > > CUT 50 3-4 Inch Squares – Put in ZipLoc Bag.
Use these Paper Towel Squares with the Alcohol to Clean Scissors
between Each Cygnets.. and to Check the Cut for any Oozing.

A Container  of Wet Wipes are Nice to have.
A Bag for Trash.    Collect ALL TRASH.

 > > > WAXED DENTAL TAPE < < < X2
. . . . NOT Thin FLOSS – This will Cut the Skin.

Pinion Swan Cygnet
 Two Small Containers of IsoPropyl Alcohol.    (One might Spill)

SWAN Wonder Dust

WONDER DUST – a Medicated Powder – Info Below.
> OR Clean Flour Small Container.  
> OR Clean Corn Starch Small Container.
Empty Pill Containers are Useful.

KWIK-Stop Powder – TOO STOP Excess Bleeding.
I Put a Small Amount in a Different Small Container.
If the Main Container gets Damp.. the Powder will become Solid.
READ the Instructions for KWIK-Stop before Using.
Use VERY Sparingly..  A Tiny Touch will Do.

DO NOT ALLOW Cygnets to Ingest the KWIK-Stop Powder.
The Powder becomes VERY Hard when Damp – Stone Like.
It COULD/WOULD Attach to their Esophagus if Swallowed. 

SWAN Kwik Stop Styptic Powder

 >>>> Remember Your Eye Glasses if you Need them.

The Male Cob – “Sire” will try to protect his Family.

Transport Carriers – One to Put Cob – “Sire” in.  > > Place in SHADE.
Have Two if you Want to Put the “Dam” in another Carrier.
Plan for Pen – “Dam”.. Contain Her as Needed.
Swan Transport Carrier

Once you Catch the “Dam” – Step back for a Bit.  Be Still.
She will Call her Cygnets.. they will Scurry to her.. Scoop them UP ! 
Basically, if you Catch the Pen – their “Dam,” YOU will have the Cygnets.. 

If you have a Large Hoop Net – Great.
Pinion Swan Cygnet

> > HAVE a Large Net or Medium-Large Blanket.
Just walk toward the Pond and as the Cob COMEs OUT to CHASE you AWAY…
Put the Net or Blanket over him.  At this Time most Hormonal Cobs are Easy to Catch.
Do NOT Do this Alone unless you are Experienced.

> > HAVE A BUDDY.  Extra Hands are VERY Helpful.
Try to Keep EveryOne Calm.. Loud Voices will Scare the Swans.

One Small Carrier to Put Cygnets in to Keep them Safe.
Cygnets can Jump-OUT of a CardBoard Box.. Be Careful.
I know People who have LOST Cygnets when Using a CardBoard Box.

We keep a LandScape Fish Pond Net with us..
It has a Small Hoop and Fine Netting.
If there is a Cygnet that is Out of Arms Reach – This Helps..
Pinion Swan Cygnet
You Might Consider Temporary Fencing to Collect the Swan Family.
This will Prevent People Chasing Them off the Pond.

SWANs Multi-Purpose Fencing

The Swan Family is Able to Swim Quite Fast..
Pinion Swan Cygnet******
Pinion Swan CygnetIf you can GET the Swans into a Fenced Area… Everyone is Safer.
Swan Temporary Fence This Movable Fencing lined with Bed Sheets was VERY Clever
and Worked VERY Well.
It Opens and was Walked Around the Dam and her Cygnets.

The Cygnet will do their Best to Stay with their Dam.
It is Important to Give the Swans and Cygnets Time to Imprint. 

Swan Cygnets Days Old

If you Catch the Female-“Dam,” You will have the Cygnets.
They are Imprinted on her.

If you have her in a Carrier, she will “Call” them
and the Cygnets will RUN to be Close to her.
Scoop them UP.

Swan Cygnets Days Old


If you Plan to Collect DNA Samples Have Submission Kits Ready.
ZipLoc Bags – Clean Paper Towel Squares – Envelopes – Marking Pens.

NOTE: In 2022 AnimalGenetics is ONLY using EMail.

READ the Information about Avian DNA-Sex Testing at Animal Genetics

OR Read the Information on the Links Below..

If you can Squeeze a Nice Drop of Blood from the Removed Wing Tip
when you Pinion, Soak the Blood Dot onto a VERY CLEAN Paper Towel Square.
Do your Best NOT to Touch the Area to be Soaked.
Be Sure you can ID the Cygnet and the Blood Dot..
Allow the Blood Dot to Dry.  
Place in Paper Envelope – Label carefully, Refrigerate in a DRY Container.

These can be Sent in for their DNA-Sex Test Weeks or Months Later.
You will have these Samples to Submit for the Cygnets that Survive. 
Cygnets Raised by their Parents on a Pond or Lake Face MANY Perils. 

Review Animal Genetics Website for Instructions.

Pinion Swan Cygnets
*** The Prevailing Pinion Method is to Cut
– Remove One Wing Tip 
before a Cygnet is 1-10 days old.
– CAREFULLY Following the Instructions that Follow –
You can Safely Pinion up to 21 Days Old.  READ Carefully.

The Point is to keep the Swan OFF Balance..

Mute Swan Pinion

Removing the Wing Segment Distal to the Pinion Joint of a Bird/Swan
is Anatomically Similar to Removing a Person’s Hand
but Leaving the Thumb.
Pinion Swan Cygnets

These Instructions “SPARE the ALULA”
(Structure like our Thumb).  Cut along the Purple Dotted Line.
Detail Instruction Below… Keep Reading..

Pinioning Wing Anatomy

“Sparing the Alula” – The Removal is done slightly beyond the “Pinion Joint.”

  LEAVE Knotted DENTAL TAPE on Wing after Removing the Distal Tip.
The ACTUAL Pinion will Occur UNDER the TIGHT Dental Tape.

Pinion Swan CygnetPinion Swan Cygnet
This Removes the most Distal Wing Section, which contains the 10 Large Primary Flight Feathers- Preventing the Acceleration and Balance required for Flight.  Pinion Swan Cygnets This is the Proper Way Wing Feathers are Numbered.

The Primary Flight Feathers Number 2 and 1 May Remain.
Pinion Swan CygnetsWithout Primary Flight Feathers 10 – 3 Your Swans should be Rendered Flightless.

Cut 12-15 Inch Lengths of Waxed Dental *Tape*.. Make a Tie-Loop.
Pinion Swan Cygnet

If the Fuzzy Down is making it Difficult to See what you are Doing,
Gently PULL some Down to Help you Visualize the Joint Structures.
This does NOT Hurt the Cygnet.. You Need to SEE What you are Doing ! 
Pinion Swan Cygnet
Ease the Dental Tape Loop into Place..  Take your Time..
Pinion Swan Cygnet
You want to get this RIGHT.. for a Nice Pinioned Wing.
If it helps, PRACTICE ahead of Time on a Straw or Pencil or Twig with Branching…
to get your Fingers familiar with Tying these Fine Knots.
Pinion Swans

TIE and Pull Tight-Snug.   Check Dental Tape is in the Correct Location.
Adjust if Needed… 
When Ready PULL Tighter.
THE Waxed Dental Tape should NOT Cut the Wing Tissue. 
> > > The Cygnets SHOULD Squeal !     >>> KNOT Tape X3

Wrap the Tape Around the Same Spot and Tie-Knot X3 Again !
NO Messy Strings.  If the Tape Gets Tangled.. Start Over.

The “Squeal” the Cygnet makes when you PULL the Tape Tighter
is the ONLY time this will HURT the Cygnet.   ONE Quick Squeal !

IF you have the Tape Pulled Properly TIGHT..
It will NOT Hurt when you Cut the Wing Tip.  Cygnets Seldom Flinch.
AND there will Little to NO Blood – Bleeding.

Pinion Swan Cygnet
Some of the Fuzzy Down will become Tangled in the Dental Tape – GOOD !
This will help the Dental Tape Stay on the Site where you Tie it.
Trim Long Ends… Fairly Close to the Knot.

BE Sure to Trim the Excess Dental Tape – NOT the Knot.
>>>DO NOT Take the Dental Tape OFF after Cutting Wing Tip.

Dust the Cut with *Wonder Dust or White Flour or Corn Starch.
*Wonder Dust is Medicated.. I Prefer this.  
Pinion Swan Cygnets

Watch and Check Cygnets Wing for 20-30 Minutes..
Touch where you Cut with a Clean Paper Towel Square – Check for Blood.
ONCE You are SURE there is NO Bleeding….
The Cygnets may go back with their Dam on the Pond.

Pinion Swan Cygnet

   The Mute Cob Below was Pinioned on his Left Wing.
Mute Swan Pinion
This will Permanently Ground all but a few of these large Birds.

Pinioning is not 100% Effective.
A few Swans will learn to Fly Short Distances.. They Can Not Sustain Flight.
This may Save them from a Predator or Threatening Situation.

Mute Swan Pinion This Female was able to Fly about 35-40 Feet just above the Water.

For keeping large Captive Waterfowl, like Swans as Pets,
Pinioning is the most Accepted Practice.
It is Better to Pinion One Tiny Wing Tip… then to need to do it later..

After 21 Days Old it will be MORE Involved.

To Pinion Older Cygnets-Swans Safely

IF you Know How or Know Someone Experienced at
VENT Checking for Sex:  Maybe 80% will be Correct.
Then Submitting Feathers around 12-16 Weeks will be 100% Correct.

Try to Pinion the RIGHT WING Tip for Females.
**** ONE WING ONLY ****

Pinioned Female Mute Swan

Pinioned Male Mute SwanPinion the Left WING Tip for Males.
**** ONE WING ONLY ****

Mute Swan Pinioned

It is VERY Challenging to Color Band 4 to 8 Very Small Cygnets that will be out on your Pond.

Mute Swan Cygnets
Tiny Cygnet Legs GROW Very Fast.  The BANDs will NEED to be Changed. 
Cygnets may need to be Caught and Bands Changed 3 to 4 Times
within their First 16 Weeks.

The Cygnet below was Hand Raised..  It was Easy to Change her Band.

Cygnet Colored Leg Band
IF you are sure you will be able to Check the Colored Leg Bands
and Change as Needed consider saving the Wing Tips.

Pinion Swan Cygnets

Read Instructions for Saving the Wing Tips Removed during Pinioning:

If you Label the Wing Tips so you can keep track of which is which…
SAVE the WING TIPs that are Snipped-off… LABEL – Store Properly.

Place Each Wing Tip in a Paper Envelops.  Place Wax Paper Between Envelops.
DO NOT ALLOW the Envelops to TOUCH Each Other.
Any Blood or Serum that Stains a Paper Envelop will Contaminate another Sample.
Place ALL Envelops in a ZipLoc Bag.. and Freeze.  Can be Submitted Up to ONE Year.
Frozen Wing Tip Samples will Need to be Mailed with DRY ICE. 

Submitting the Frozen Wing Tips is more Involved.. But it is Acceptable.
In the HOT Summer Months..
These may Spoil-Degrade before Arriving at the Testing Labs.
OverALL it is Easier to Submit Feathers when Cygnets are 12-14 Weeks Old.


Cygnets GROW Quickly.  Leg Band Must be Slightly Loose.

With Cygnets Raised out on the Pond, it is Easier to Wait
and Color Band the Surviving Cygnets
when they are
12-16 Weeks Old.
Pinion Swan Cygnets
At 3-4 Months, their Legs are MUCH Bigger and you may only be Banding them One Time.  
At the Same Time you can collect Feather Samples from Each Surviving Cygnet
for their DNA-Sex Testing.  Average Time is Early August.

Cygnets have True Feathers and you will not be Fussing with Frozen Wing Tips.

Cygnets are Ready for New Homes by Late August – September to November.

Cygnet Colored Leg Band

These Colored Plastic Bands will last about SIX Months.
Try to have them Slightly Loose.
If you Notice any Band getting TIGHT Change it !!!  ASAPPinioning Swans   Cygnet Colored Leg Band
Slip a Thick Piece of Paper UNDER the Snug Band..
to Protect the Skin from Pressure as you Snip the Band..

If you are Hand Raising Cygnets you will be able to put Colored Leg Bands on when you Pinion..

Look for Small and Large Colored Cable Ties – Bands.
There are Multi-Colored, Various Size Cable Ties at HardWare Supply Stores.

SWAN Cygnet Colored Cable Ties
REMEMBER to Check them frequently and Change as Cygnets GROW Quickly. 
Bands that Get TOO TIGHT will Restrict the Bones and Skin Development.
Their Legs MAY have Permanent Damage.

It can be Helpful to Place the Bands on the Same Side as the Pinioned Wing.
Just be Careful not to have TWO of the Same Color on the Same Side..
on Different Cygnets.   “Yikes.”

Colored Bands to ID Cygnets

If the “WING TIPs” are Cut off before the Cygnet’s Sex can be determined…  
These Wing Tips can be sent for the DNA-Sex Determination Testing.. OPTIONAL.

Be sure you can Identify – Match the Wing Tip with the Cygnet it came from.. 
Place a Sheet of Wax Paper between Envelopes to prevent any Contamination
between Sample Envelopes.
Completely Label Each Envelope..  Your Name – Date – Cygnet ID.
***Return Address Labels come in Handy..
Then Put these INTO another Larger Envelope with the Submission Form..
and Send for Testing ASAP..  Wing Tips May Degrade in Hot Weather.
Pinion Swan CygnetsThis Young Cygnet does not have True Feathers for DNA Sample.
If the Wing Tip Samples are Unacceptable for Testing.
The Animal Genetics Lab is Good about Waiting for a Future Sample Submission
– Without an Additional Charge.  Send Feathers when they are Ready.

DNA Testing WING TIPs   Animal Genetics is the Same Lab in Tallahassee, Florida.


Pinioned Wing Tips for DNA

Animal Genetics for Instructions for Storing the Wing Tips.
Toll-free Within US: (800) 514-9672 – Currently they want us to Use their Website,

CONSIDER: It is Likely you will lose some of the Cygnets to Predators.  
Sending for the DNA Test before the Cygnets are 12-16 Weeks Old can be a Waste of Money.

Common Swan Cygnet Predators Include:
Snapping Turtle, Hawks, Owls and Great Blue Herons, Mink, Weasels,
Fox, Cats, Dogs, Large Mouth Fish…etc…   And Humans.

Pond Predator

*****Mute Cygnet Feathers

It May be more Practical to do Feather DNA-Sex Testing when Surviving Cygnets
are 12-16 Weeks Old.  They will have True Feathers by then.
This is what the Cygnet’s Pinioned Wing will look like by “Sparing the Alula.”
The Royal Mute Cygnets have such Beautiful Feathers their First Year.

Pinion Mute Swan Cygnet
Having the Alula Feathers to Cover the “Cut-Butted” End of the Wing
makes a nice Neat Appearance.

Pinion Mute Swan Cygnet

The Large Primary Flight Feathers are Absent.
The Tiny Primary Section of Wing was Removed at 5 Days Old.
The Alula was Spared – left to Grow Feathers to make a Nice Cover over the End
of the Secondary Wing-Feather Section.
The Swan Below is the Same Female at Three Years Old.
Pinion Swan Cygnets


Discuss YOUR Plans before you START.

Pinion Supplies

FIRST We Catch the Adult Male – the Sire
and put him in a Transport Carrier in a Shady Location.

Mute Swan CarrierProtective Male Mute Swan This way we can work without his Protective Behavior.

Protective Mute Swan

We use Temporary Fencing to Gather the Swan Family.
It is TOO Difficult to Chase them on their Pond.

Pinion Swan Cygnets
Bait them into the Fencing with Treats.

Mute Swan Cygnets

The Tiny Cygnets will try their Best to stay Close to their Dam, the Adult Female.  
Pinion Swan Cygnets
If you Catch her, you will have them.

Mute Swans Cygnets
Move this Group to a Dry Place..
Collect several of the Cygnets into a Container that they are SAFE in,
with a DOOR or LID that Closes.

Time to Pinion Cygnets

Check that ALL the Cygnets are Able to Breath -Watch for Crowding.
Larger Cygnets TEND to Pile on Top of the Smaller Cygnets.
Pinion Swan Cygnets
Sit with One Cygnet – Old Towel on Your Lap.
Pinion Swan CygnetAnother Person can be Helpful if the Cygnets are WIGGLING..

Gently Extend the Little Wing.

Pinion Cygnet Wing
On the Distal End of the Wing there is a Joint  ( The Wrist ) The Pinion Joint.
There are two Sections of Wing attached at this Pinion Joint.
One Section is VERY small (the ALULA)  About the Size of a Dry Grain of Rice.

AVIAN WING Bones Pinion Joint
The other is a lot Bigger – ( the Carpometacarpus – Phalanges) the Wing Tip,
where the 10 Large Primary Flight Feather will grow.

Before the Cygnets are THREE Weeks Old, there is One Tiny Capillary
and One Nerve Fiber in their Tiny Wing Tip.
The Wing Tip is mainly Soft Cartilage, Skin and Fluffy Down.

THERE are NO FIRM-FORMED Bones Yet ! !
IF there are FIRM BONEs… STOP !!
It is Too Late for You to DO This Safely. 

Pinion Cygnet Wing

Use 12-18 Inches of Clean Waxed Dental *TAPE* (NOT the THIN Floss)
to Wrap TWICE. Try to get the Tape into the Tiny V between the Alula and Phalanx.

Pinion Swan Cygnet
Pull the Wrapped Tape Tight until the Cygnet Squeals..
                     . . . but, not enough to Cut the Skin. 
Tie a VERY Snug Knot at least 3 Times.
Wrap the Dental Tape around the Wing Tip once more and Tie a VERY Snug Knot 3 Times.
Snip the Excess Waxed Tape to leave about 1/3 Inch.
It is GOOD to have some of the Downy Fluff tied into the Knots.
Discard Tape Ends in Trash Bag.

Pinion Swan Cygnet

You CUT OFF the Larger Phalanx Wing Tip 1/4 Inch Distal to
(Beyond) the Snug Knotted Dental Tape. Leaving the smaller Alula intact.

There may be a Single Drop of Blood..
Immediately Sprinkled WONDER DUST on Cut Surface.
OR: Clean Dry Corn Starch or White Flour on the Cut..
This gives any Blood Fine Particles to Help Form a Clot..

>>>You will NOT REMOVE THE DENTAL TAPE when Finished ! 

CLEAN Scissors between each Cygnet.
Rinse with the Boiled Water then 
Wipe with IsoPropyl Alcohol on the Clean Paper Towel Squares.

Place Cygnets in Safe Place and WATCH-CHECK for any Bleeding.
Touch Cut Surface with a Dry Paper Towel Square to Check for Blood.
Check the Cut is Dry and a Firm Clot has Formed..
NO Blood Spot for 30-45 Minutes.
There is Additional Information BELOW.

In about 7-10 Days this will Seal – Scar and the Tiny 1/4 Inch of the Wing Remaining
beyond the Tape will fall off. The Pinion will be Complete.

Try to Wait for 30-45 Minutes with NO Blood Spot before returning Cygnets to their Pond.
Pinion Swan Cygnet The Dam and Sire will be VERY Happy to have their Cygnets Back.

Pinion Swan Cygnet

Release the Cob-Sire to Pond when you are Finished Doing the Pinioning.

Protective Male Mute Swan

*****Pinion Swan Cygnets
Once ALL Cygnets are Released..  The Swan Family will be VERY Happy.  Happy Mute Swan Family

IF the Waxed Dental Tape is NOT Tied SNUG ENOUGH…
– HOLD PRESSURE Until Bleeding Stops.   (5 – 15 Minutes)

If there is Slow-Oozing Bleeding, you can try to Squeeze the Cut
with your Fingers for a few minutes – Same Pinch Pressure.
Stay Calm…..
If Bleeding Continues RE-TIE Quickly. OVER the SAME Location.
Tie another Snugger piece of Waxed Dental Tape to Stop Bleeding..
IF the Bleeding Continues ! !
As a LAST RESORT used a Clotting Agent like “KWIK-Stop”

Wonder Dust Information

DO NOT put a Cygnet on the Pond that is Bleeding.  OR OOZING ! !
Once you let them go, it is tricky to get them again.
And Chasing them will Cause them to Bleed MORE ! !

There is NO Reason to put the Cygnets in Ice Water..
Pinion Swan Cygnet
Ice Water may be helpful if the Cut Bleeds a little.
Very Cold Water will Slow Bleeding.. 
BUT only put the Wing Cut in, NOT the Cygnet.
Cygnets can not Thermoregulate..
Chilling them Does Nothing but Shock them.

An Ice Cube Held on the Cut may Help Slow or Stop any Bleeding.

While I was Learning.. I Observed a Person who had been Pinioning Cygnets for many Years. 
The Tiny Cygnet Below was the Only Hatchling of a Black Australian Pair. 
After the Procedure, they were all Placed in a Sheltered Place together.

The Cygnet had Blood Slowly Oozing onto its Down.  I took several Images..
went back to the Farm House and Alerted the Person.
Pinion Swan Cygnets
I was Told it would be OK by Morning.. NO Worries.
I had so Little Knowledge at that Point..
All I could do was try to Accept the ? Experienced Person’s Comment.
We Left..

The Next Day, I Learned the Tiny Cygnet had Died during the Night.   
What I Witnessed was not a Safe Procedure.
Pinion Swan Cygnet
I spent Time, Reading and Studying until I felt I had a
Understanding of  “What and How” to do the Pinioning Safely.  

If there is ANY Question the Cut might be OOZING Blood, DO SOMETHING !
There are Several Things Listed to Do.. just a Few Line Above..

Then keep the Cygnet Dry, Warm and Quiet for the Rest of the Day to allow a GOOD Clot to form. 
If at all Possible, Keep at Least One Parent with the Cygnet.

Keep Swans Safe and Dry
BEFORE the Cygnets Hatch..  

Try to CLEAN any Blood from the Cut Wing…
Snapping Turtles SMELL that tiny bit of Blood and the Cygnets are like Fresh Meat in the Pond.
If possible, keep the Cygnets with their Parents in a Safe Place for One Night.

Snapping Turtle

If you have SNAPPING TURTLES try to Remove them before the Cygnets Hatch. 
Snapping Turtles take a Terrible Toll on Young Waterfowl.  >>> Any Waterfowl. 


Snapping Turtle
There are People – WildLife Control Services that will Trap and Remove them.

Trap for Snapping Turtles
You can Purchase Turtle Traps and Do this Yourself.
It is LEGAL ANY TIME of Year in Pennsylvania to Remove Snapping Turtles,
if they are a Danger to your Family or Pets..  Dogs, Ducks, Geese, Swans.
Just do not SELL them for Meat. 

Talking with various Swan Owners over the years, I Suspect that the Folks
who do not Pinion have a better Survival Rate for their Cygnets.
I have NOT Collected Data..  Just Suspect from Conversations..
The difference would be the tiny Blood Dot/Clot on the Wing Tip..

BUT >>> Their Unpinioned Cygnets are more Likely to Fly Away.
Flying Away their Survival will be Poor…
So which is Worse – Snapping Turtles or Flying Away..

Removing the Snappers will keep more Cygnets from Perishing..

Healthy Mute Swan Cygnets*************************************************
WONDER DUST – Farnam Company, Inc.
Please Read the Ratings and Reviews..
I am familiar with this Product.. It has Medicated Benefits.
I like this way to STOP Bleeding and Treat Minor Scrapes and Cuts on the Skin
of a Swan or Cygnet.
TRACTOR SUPPLY, Co. Check – Available in Store.

Wonder Dust is a Dressing Powder and Blood Coagulant for use on certain types
of 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 Pet First-Aid Kit!

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.
Pinion Swan Cygnets
Wonder Dust may be used with or without a Bandage.

A GROUNDED SWAN is a CAPTIVE PET.   Exotic Domestic Poultry.
Pinion Swan Cygnets
If Swans were living in the Wild, they would have a Feeding Range of 3-5 Square Miles
to find what their Body’s needs to be Healthy.
Pinion Swan Cygnets

Once we Pinion and they are Captive for us to Enjoy (Pets), the Swans depend on us
to help them have the Nutrients that their Healthy Bodies require.Pinion Swan Cygnets

A Pond with Natural Underwater Plants will be Grazed on ALL Day.
There will be Insects and Under Water Critters that will help provide Nature Protein and Calcium.Pinion Swan Cygnets

The Grain-Poultry Feed Mixture adds Nutrients that a Pond may not provide.

With the Pond, Lawn Grass and Poultry Feed Mixture Cygnets and Swans will do nicely.
**********************************************************Mute Swan Cygnets
If you have Cygnets in the Future… PLEASE Pinion them..
It is so much easier to find Homes and Care for Swans that are Permanently Grounded.   
It is the Responsible thing to do.

Pinioned Mute Swan Cygnet A Four Month Old Mute Cygnet Ready for a Forever Home.
Pinion Swan Cygnets


This a Work in Progress….. As I Learn I will Add.
Collected and Composed by Linda M.Sweger      UpDates  June 2023
1 (717) 732-6216    StarBug@comcast.net

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