Before You Let a Swan onto Your Pond
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BEFORE YOU LET GO.. Releasing New Swans to your WaterWay.
***These are just Suggestions: For you to Think About.
When we were First Caring for Swans, it was a BIG Learning Curve.
There were SO Many Things we did not Know.. It was SWAN 101
After Many Years and Many Swans, we are Still Learning..
THIS may be the Only Time you will have to Check the General Health/Condition of your New Swan.
OR This is a GOOD Time to have a General Check-up by an Avian Veterinarian.
IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO KNOW AN AVIAN VETERINARIAN.
Whether you Acquire a Swan from a Farmer, Breeder, Private BackYard Pond or a Rescue Group.. Swans may have Injuries or Conditions that you should be Aware of.. Many Minor Conditions are Correctable.
*** CHECKING BASIC HEALTH AND CONDITION:
Be Gentle, Talk Softly, be CALM..
BE SURE YOU HAVE CONTROL of the New Swan. (Two People)
- Check for any Bleeding.. Cuts. STOP ANY Bleeding.
DO NOT RELEASE A SWAN that is Bleeding.
A Broken Blood Feather should be Pulled..
For Minor Injuries. Apply a Little Triple Antibiotic Ointment.
For ANY Large Injury.. Ask a Veterinarian’s Advise.
As you Look from Head to Tail to Toe Claws…
Make sure there are NO Strings, Tape, .. Fishing Line.. HOOKs ! !
Check that any Leg Band is NOT TOO Tight. ETC..
REMOVE Anything that should NOT be attached.
Gentle Pressure on each side of Mouth Hinge will Open Beak.
Check under the Tongue – it should be a nice Baby Pink.
If the Tongue is Light- Pale to Creamy-White Suspect Anemia.
Poor Diet may be the Cause..
YOU Can Correct with Proper Feeding
Parasites are a Common Reason for Anemia..
ASK VET to CHECK.
Internal and External Parasites are Common to Waterfowl.
It is a Good Idea to have Your Swans Treated for Parasites.
You Might Start by Taking a Fresh Stool Sample to your Vets to be Checked.
CALL For Instructions.
ALL Birds have Lice.. If there are LOTs of Body Lice.. Take Action.
A Heavy Infestation of these Blood Sucking Insects will Cause Anemia.
(Most Do not Infest People)
When you Look down into the Feathers you will see MANY Tiny Brown-Black Insects Scurry through the Down..
If the Tiny Lice are Hard to Find.. Should be OK…
Good Clean Water will Help the Swan WASH these Away.
Bathing and Preening Swans Control the Lice Numbers
For a Heavy Infestation.. We Spray Under the Wings and Down the Back with Dilute Peppermint Oil. 3-4 Drops in a Pint of Fresh Water.
OR An Organic Pet Spray.. Containing Safe Oils..
Do NOT Spray their HEAD or EYEs..
The Swan will Preen the Oil through their Feathers.
The Peppermint Oil will not Kill the Lice..
The Lice do not like the Peppermint and JUMP OFF..
Check the Vent/Cloaca.. if there is a Crusty Yuck..
Not just Poop from being in the Transport Carrier..
Gently Wash with * Room Temp Water..
If the Cloaca looks Sore or Swollen.. Ask your Vet for Recommendations..
- Check for an Impaction under the Tongue… if Present – Remove.
These lift out. Gently push up under Chin.. lift out. (discard)
These are Wads of Tough Grass Fibers, Mud, Sand, Tiny Stones.
They cause a Bulge under the Chin. These are NOT Tumors.
If these Impactions get too Large, it makes Swallowing Difficult.
Under Tongue-Chin Impaction
- Look at Both Eyes – They should look Healthy, no Sores or Swollen Tissues.
Some Swans have very Pink Conjunctiva and this will show around the Eye. This is normal as long as it is not Swollen.
When the Swan Blinks, you will see the “Third Eye Lid.”
The Nictitating Membrane Closes during Flight to Protect their Eyes.
It also Closes when they are Grazing under the Water.
- Check the Wings that they are OK. No Strange Bends or Trauma.
A few damaged Feathers are to be expected.
If any Feathers are Bleeding Pull them OUT.
- Check the Wing that is Pinioned. Be sure One is. Note Which.
I Get Calls from Anguished Swan Folks that their New Swan
Flew Away.. They were TOLD the Swan was Pinioned. OOPs !!!
PINIONED or FULL-Wing This Page will Help you become Familiar.
If not Pinioned: Clip Most of the Primary Flight Feathers.. ONE WING !
(Unless done) to keep the Swan from Flying off. Grounded
*** BE SURE YOU Know when to Clip/when to Pull.
NEVER Cut a Feather with Blood in the Shaft – Pull it.
Clipping/Pulling is only a Temporary Grounding Method.
New Flight Feathers will Grow-in over time and Your
Beautiful Swan may just Fly Away on a Breezy Day.
It is WISE to Purchase Swans that are properly Pinioned. When Possible.
Clipping Captive Swan Pets
- Check Legs… any ID Leg Bands… Record Information.
Make sure the ID Band is not too tight.
If you are planning to place a Leg Band or Wing ID Clip
.. DO it NOW. Having Some ID on your Swans –
Especially New Ones.. A Bright Colored Cable Tie.
HELPs if you need to Look for a Wandering Escapee.
Hopefully, if Someone Else Finds your Swans they will
Know it is a PET.. and not a Feral – Rogue Swan to be Destroyed.
(Some Breeder/Owners have “Micro Chips” put in.. by their Veterinarian.)
I would not be surprised in the Future to learn tiny GPS Devices may
be used to help locate Domestic Swans.
Some Day… as this Technology becomes more available..
Look at the Feet.. any Cuts..?? Damage ?? Missing Claws.??
- Check the Heels and Bottoms of their Big Webbed Feet.
Look for Bumble Foot Sores.
These may need to be treated. DO NOT IGNORE these Sores.
- Feel under the Breast Curve toward the Abdomen.
The Keel Bone should not be Prominent, when a Swan’s Weight is OK.
The Breast Muscles should be even or a little Rounded..
It is Good to See Water Beading on the Feather.. Water Proofing Looks Good.
The Cygnet Below has Lost most of his WaterProofing.
He will Chill Easily.. you may see Shivering.
May NEED Sheltering on Cold Days and Nights.
Daily Bathing and Preening will Help to Restore the WaterProofing.
When the Keel Bone is Prominent/Protrudes the Swan is Underweight.
Minor Conditions will Correct with Time and Good Care.
- This is a GOOD time to give at least One Dose of Worming Medication.
You might consider taking a Fresh Stool Sample for an Ova & Parasite Evaluation. -The Fresher the Better.
Watch for ANYTHING to MOVE in their Stool.
You do not want to introduce an unknown problem to your Environment.
The LIST of Possible Parasites is TOO Long for this Topic Page.
Swans can become Infected with the Same Heart Worms Folks Treat
their Dogs for. Humm.. Think about Annual Treatment.
For One Move of our Swans: They had been Spending Time on a Pond
that had been used for 30 Years for Shot Gun Hunting of Ducks and Geese.
I KNOW how the Swans like to Dig into the Mud for Tiny Insects and Tender
Plants.. They can Easily Ingest Shot Gun Pellets.
I Arranged for a Veterinary Visit between Ponds when we Moved them..
AND had them XRayed for any Metal in their Gizzard.
Lead Shot will not Pass through their Intestines.
Metal Stays in their Gizzard and Slowly Dissolves Poisoning them..
They were Treated for External and Internal Parasites, Oral and Injections..
YEAH ! ! NO LEAD SHOT.. OFF to their New Pond..
***These are just Suggestions: For you to Think About.
If your Swan came Across State Lines.. or by Air Shipping..
If there is a “Health Certificate” and/or DNA-Sex Certificate keep
these with other Papers about the New Swan.
Where the Swan came from, Age… etc.
Years from now, you may want to know these things.
Keep a Record of Your New Swans
This is a Work in Progress. Organized (c) May 2020
Linda M. Sweger – PA SwanLover Linda