A site dedicated to sharing general care of mute swans

Feeding Swan Cygnets

August 5th, 2014 | Posted by LadyNerkle1 in Feeding Swan Cygnets

IF you are LUCKY and Cygnets Hatch to your Swans in the Spring.
 REMEMBER these are CAPTIVE Conditions.  
It is important to understand how your Swans
would Care for their Cygnets in Natural, Wild Conditions.  
You will need to Provide some Special Feed for the Cygnets
for their Healthy Development.

                                              FEEDING SWAN CYGNETS 

Mute Swan Cygnets

 FEEDing Swan Cygnets – A Healthy Start.
Feeding Swan CygnetsCLICK to ENLARGE Images

THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS…. It may Never be Finished.
I am still Collecting, Learning and Checking on Information for this Topic.Feeding Swan Cygnets
I have been Observing, Reading and Collecting the BEST General Information
I can find for the Feeding of Mute Swan Cygnets.
I have Checked with our Avian Veterinarians,
Poultry Specialists at the PA Department of Agriculture at Harrisburg
and the Folks who work in our Local Commercial Feed Store. 

I Snoop through Feed Ingredient Lists on the Bags and OnLine.. 
Have asked Numerous Question about the Formulations
of Various Brands of Commercial Feeds..  Check Reviews here and there. 
I am Still Checking.. when a Question is Asked.  
Feeding Swan Cygnets

There are many Feeding Ideas. 
Some make Sense and seem to be a Healthy Approaches.
Then there are others… I will not suggest.

It should be Reasonable to think that Dog Food is for Dogs,
Cat Food is for Cats and Horse Feed is for Horses…
PLEASE DO NOT Feed these Feed Formulas to Swans.Feeding Swan Cygnets

or for their CYGNETS Prepared by any Manufacturer in the USA.

Do a SEARCH for:  NON-Medicated Poultry Crumble
EXAMPLE  BELOW –  This is One of Five Pages Listing NON-Medicated.Feeding Swan Cygnets
Not all Commercial Feed Product are Available Across the Country.

You will need to do your BEST to Find and Mix Feeds for their Good Health.
Some Commercial Bag Feeds are a Good Starting Product.
With some Modification/Mixing they will provide a Healthy Swan Diet.Swan Cygnet******
SWAN Esophagus-FoodNOTE: If a Swan tries to Eat TOO Fast..
The Dry Feed may get STUCK in their Esophagus and Block Swallowing.
Forming a Condition called CHOKE.
         This could be an Emergency… 

Supply Water with DRY Feed Mixtures.


  Cracked or Whole CORN is NOT a Complete Diet.

It is helpful as part of a Healthy Feed Mixture.

SWAN Feed SS Corn

I am sharing this with you, hoping some of this information may Benefit
you and your Swans/Cygnets.

Golf Course Grounds

Captive Swans and their Cygnets that live on a Pond or Lake
where there is Chemical or Biological Run-off of Lawn Care Products
and Fertilizers to Control Weeds/Plant Growth and/or Insect Control
may not be Living with Enough NATURAL Plant and Insect Variety
to Ensure Proper Balanced Nutrition.Feeding Swan Cygnets

Supplemental Feed will help Round-Out the Diet for Swans and Cygnets.
Well-Fed Healthy Swans are more Content, will have FEWER Health Problems.Mute Swans Feeding

SWANs Require a Diet, Different from Duck, Geese, Turkeys, Chicken.
Their Protein Intake NEEDs to be LOWER then other Waterfowl.

Feeding Cygnets

ALL Swans are Vegetarians, their Basic Diet will be 80-90% Plant Based.Feed Swan Cygnet

******Swans Fresh Grass

I see Folks Feeding “Fish Pellets.”  Not Good as a Diet, maybe a few for Treats.

Feeding Fish Pellets

The Protein Value of various Fish Pellet Products may Range from 30-40%

A HIGH Protein Diet for Swans will Result in Lipidosis
– a Fatal Liver Condition.

This Significantly Shortens a Swan’s Lifespan.
The Female in the Koi Pond Above.. Died before Turning 4 Years Old. 


A Few Swan Keeping Terms…

Cob – The Male of a Pair of Breeding Swans:
Used for the Male during the Breeding Season.
With Good Health and Care may Live 25-50 Years.Nesting Mute Swans

Pen – During Nesting Time the Female Parent of a Clutch of Eggs.
With Good Health and Care may Live 20-30 Years.
Females have a Higher Mortality Rate during Nesting.

Clutch – The Eggs in the Nest.Mute Swan Clutch Eggs

Brood – A Group of young Birds (such as Cygnets)
                          .. that were all Hatched at the same time.
Feeding Swan Cygnets

Dam – The Female Parent of a Brood of Cygnets.Nesting Mute Swans

Sire – The Male Parent of a Brood of Cygnets.

Cygnet – A Young Swan from Hatching until One Year Old.

Downy Swan Cygnet

Downy Cygnet – The Stage before Feathers Grow In.

Juvenile – A Young Swan from One until Three Years Old.Feeding Swan Cygnets

Swan Cygnets are Precocial.
     Precocial refers to Bird Species in which the Young are relatively Mature
and Mobile from the moment of Hatching.
     Precocial Bird Species are normally Nidifugous,
meaning that they leave the Nest shortly after Hatching (24 hours).
Feeding Swan Cygnets
     Precocial Birds Hatch with their Eyes Open.
They are Covered with “Downy Feathers” that will be replaced by Feathers-Plumage.
     Precocial Birds can also Swim and RUN much sooner
after they Hatch than other Birds.

Cygnets are Precocial

    Precocial Birds Find their own Food,
sometimes with Help or Instruction from the Parents.Swan Cygnet

Many Precocial Chicks/Cygnets are not able to Thermoregulate
(the ability to regulate their own body temperatures), and they depend on the attending Parent(s) to Brood them with Body Heat for a short period of time. 
When Spring Weather is Cold and Wet Fewer Cygnets Survive.Feeding Swan Cygnets


Swans with Cygnets

The Mute Swan Nest usually Matures from Mid-April to late May.Swan Cygnet

Mute Swan Parents Normally take their Tiny Downy Cygnets
to the Water 12-36 hours after the Last Cygnet has Hatched.

Swan Eggs Hatching

Just before the Swan Cygnets Hatch, their Body Absorbs
any Remaining Egg Yolk Material.

The Absorbed Yolk can Sustains the Cygnet for an Average of Three Days.

After that they must leave the Nest for FOOD…
Swan Parents do not Feed their Cygnets, do not bring Food to the Nest.  

Cygnet WaterProof

The Parents will Check to be sure the Cygnets are Waterproofed,
Floating and Swimming Properly before taking them beyond the Water’s Edge.
They will take them Further each Time they enter the Water.

Cygnet NapTime

During the First Few Days, the Cygnets will be kept Close to the Nest Area.

The Parents will take the Cygnets back to the Nest for Rest Periods and Naps. 
DO NOT Place Foods for the Cygnets or the Adults Near the Nest.
You DO NOT Want to Attract Rodents or Predators while the Tiny Cygnets
are Still Using the Nest.  

Swan Cygnets eat Water Insects

Swan Cygnets Hatch during the Time of Year
when there is Normally an Abundance of Insects along their Waterways.

Feeding Cygnets

Feeding Swan Cygnets

The Parent Swans will take their Tiny Cygnets to Graze in Shallow Areas
where there are Tender Grasses and various Young Aquatic Plants and
LOTs of Aquatic Insects, Snails, Grubs, Tadpoles and Small Invertebrates.

Feeding Cygnets******
Feeding Cygnets******Cygnets Grazing


We Rescued this 8 Week Old Cygnet.. Barely 2 Pounds.
“Abigail” would not Eat.. Too Weak to Stand.
It Took 10 Days of Encouraging and Fussing with Her
for this Fragile Cygnet to Start to Eat Well.  Finally !
Feeding Swan Cygnets

While Reading, I came across a Comment.. “Cygnets Need to Learn to Eat.”
Swan Cygnets MUST “Learn to Eat” and Eat Well during their First 10 Days.
Feeding Swan CygnetsOne Year Later “Abigail” was a Beautiful, Happy Juvenile.. Heading to Ohio.

Most Young Cygnets will Eat without Any Problem.

Cygnets Learn to Eat******
Feed Swan Cygnet******
Feed Swan Cygnet The Cygnet is Watching and Learning.

Feeding Swan Cygnets

During the First Several Days up to Day 10, the Cygnets need a Higher Protein Diet.
In a Natural Setting they will Consume many Small Insects found
in their Watery Environment.

Mute Swan Cygnets

The Parent Swans will do their Best to take their Cygnets to a Location
which will provide the Diet the Cygnets Need.

Feeding Swan Cygnets

During the First 10 days, the Cygnets’ Protein Need is Higher
then it will be for the Rest of their Lives.
Feeding Swan Cygnets
That is why the Insects and Underwater Critters are so Important.
I had to Laugh > One of my Swan Friend uses the Term:   “Bugs au Gratin.”

Swan Family

The Swan Family will Swim Together in a Line with One Parent at the Front,
the other Parent Watching and Protecting from the Back of the Line.

Cygnet on Back

The “Dam” (Pen) may Carry some of the Young Cygnets on her Back.
The Cygnets Crawl-up under her Wings and Nestle in-between and under her Wings.

Cygnet Riding on Back

Sometimes the Cygnets will Ride on their Parents’ Backs.
The Swan Family will be able to Travel Quickly.

The Swan “Dam” will be VERY Hungry after Nesting for Five LONG Weeks..

Swans Feeding

She will Graze in Shallow Waters with her Cygnets
where there are lots of Insects in the Aquatic Plants.Swan Cygnet

In Nature, the Tiny Cygnets Feed on the Water Surface
and Depend on the Adults to Stir-up the Water around them.Swan Cygnets

The Swan Parents do not Feed their Cygnets.
As the “Dam” pulls Plants to Eat, she will Dislodge many Nutrient Rich Pieces
onto the Surface Water which the young Cygnets would otherwise be unable to reach.

Feeding Cygnets

You may see the “Dam” “Foot-Pedaling” the Water with her Feet to Stir-up the Bottom to bring Food Bits to the Surface for the Cygnets to Graze on.

Swan Dam Pedaling her Feet to Stir-up Tiny Things for her Cygnets to Eat.

Swans Guarding CygnetsOne Parent will ALWAYs be On-Guard as the Cygnets Eat.

Cygnets Grow Fast

The Tiny Swan Cygnets Grow Very Quickly…

Swan Cygnets Grow so Fast.       Hatch Day to One Year.

Adequate Food is Important the First Year as their Bodies Develop.

Feeding Swan Cygnets

The First Three Month, Cygnets are Eating (and Pooping) Machines.

Feeding Swan CygnetsThey Eat and POOP..  Eat and Poop…  Lots of Poop.

Retention Ponds can be Overwhelmed with Swan Cygnet Poop. 
This Pond is.  By Mid-Summer this Pond was Unhealthy.Mute Swan Cygnet Poop

If their Diet is Poor and Insufficient they may not Thrive or Survive.

Swan Cygnets Fragile Legs

Swan Cygnets have Soft-Fragile Leg Bones…
Without a Diet that contains Adequate Calcium, their Legs may Bow,
Twist a bit, even Break with Little Pressure.
Handle Cygnets VERY Gently, Pick-up Carefully and Set Down GENTLY ! 

SWAN Spinach Nutrition

The First Week, Cygnets will Eat some finely Chopped Romaine Lettuce,
finely Grated Carrot and a little Chopped Spinach Floating on the Water.  
Feeding Swan Cygnets
Put Grains and Vegetables in Very Shallow Water.   Carrots Sink..
Swan CygnetAt about a Week Old the Cygnets will Eat a little Scratch Feed
(Corn-Wheat) Floated on the Water.

“Scratch” is Small Pieces.. It is Cracked Corn and Cracked Wheat.
By Cracking these Grains.. it is Easier for Young Birds and Chicken to Digest..

A Few Brands will Add Barley.. which Sinks like a Stone into the Mud..
It is Not Practical for Feeding by the Pond..  Maybe Place in a Saucer.. 
Swan Cygnets

On their First Time on the Water,
Cygnets will be able to Peck at Water Plants and Insects on their own.

Feeding Swan CygnetsWithin 2 to 3 Weeks the Cygnets Start to Eat Aquatic Plants.
You will see them Start to “Up-End” and Eat from below the Water’s Surface.

Swan Cygnet Up-Ending

The Cygnets need a Diet Rich in Protein and Calcium for their First Two to Six Weeks.Feed Swan CygnetIf you are Hand Raising Cygnets – A Sprinkle of Dried Meal Worms
is a GREAT Source of Protein and a TREAT !   
SO We Thought !!  NO MORE.

There are Now (2021) Guidelines – NOT to Feed MealWorm.
Surprise.. but it is to Keep our Waterfowl Safe.
Cut and Paste to Read this WebSite..  Do a Search for Other Web Articles.

Feeding Swan Cygnets

The Cygnets’ Diet will gradually change to more Plant Material.

Mute Swans Grazing

Swans Living in Fresh Waters will Typically Eat Duckweed, Algae, Pondweed, Stonewort and Wigeon Grass, as well as Tadpoles and Insects such as Milfoil.
Mute Swan Family******
Ocean Salt Water Swan

Swans Living in Salty Waters will typically Eat Sea Arrow Grass, Salt Marsh Grass,
Eel Grass, Club Rush and Green Algae, as well as Insects and Molluscs.
Feeding Swan Cygnets

    These Ponds Looks YUCKY to Me..
  But, they are Swan Cafeterias of Yummies.
Feeding Swan Cygnets


When Choosing a Commercial Feed Product,
It is a Good Idea to do a Search for REVIEWs, Recalls..
and other Problems the Manufacturer of these Products have had.
Even Brand Names have Quality Control Failures.  Check Reviews. 
ASK Your Feed Supplier if they know of any Problems with Feed Products.

READ the Ingredient Labels.. Understand what is in the Formula.

EXAMPLE of Ingredient Lists:
I Grow-up in the 1940-60s.  Food was more Basic. 
I Purchase these Pastry Twists..  I have for many Years.. Great with Morning Coffee.
But, if I wanted to Bake this Pastry from Scratch..
I would not Find Most of these Ingredients in ANY of my Cook Books.   
(Sigh)  What are we Eating ?
Feeding Swan Cygnets
My Point is: Read the Ingredient Labels. Understand what is in the Feed.
IF you have any Questions about an Ingredient – Look it Up.
Or Call the Company – They are Happy to Share Information.

I Enjoy Several of the Entenmann’s Pastry Treats.  


In the Series of Images and Info that Follows,
I have Used Images from a Variety of Years and Places..
Not all are Perfect Examples.  
I have Picked Images that Show what the Text is Saying. 

**** Captive/Hand Raised Cygnets Need a SPECIAL DIET SCHEDULE
for Their Age and Size…Feeding Swan Cygnets

If you want to Encourage the Healthy Growth of your Cygnets…
Mimic what Mother Nature would Provide.  

Feeding Swan Cygnets

Put these Early Cygnet Foods IN or VERY Close to the Water.
Check or Change any Wet Food Containers at least Twice a Day…Feed Swan Cygnets
Feed/Mixture Sours QUICKLY on Warm Days.
All Birds, Swans and Cygnets are Sensitive to Heavy Metal Poisoning.

Feeding Swan Cygnets
Cygnets will be Eating these “Baby Swan Foods” during Warm Weather.

For VERY Small Cygnets use a Low Saucer or Dish.. 
Feeding Swan Cygnets
 … Frisbees Work.Cygnet Saucer Feeder

To Keep the Cygnets from Standing or Swimming in their Feed Dish..
Feeding Swan Cygnets
Place a Weighted Container in the Center of the Saucer. Cygnet Saucer Feeder******Feeding Swan Cygnets
Mix Feed with Water to the Consistency of Thin Oatmeal.
Feeding Cygnets

After the First Few Weeks, Cygnets will Stop Trying to Swim
in their Feed and Water Dishes.. 
UNLESS they have Very Little Pool Time. Feeding Swan Cygnets
Take Care to keep their Food in the Shade if possible to Reduce Spoiling.
Feeding Cygnets

Putting their Feed in Containers that Encourage them to Stand
May Help to Strengthen their Legs.  Not Too High.

Feed Cygnets Standing

It is well known that Swan Cygnets tend to have Weak-Fragile Leg Bones.
They are Growing SO Fast.. their Bones are Stretching-Expanding-Forming.
Most Birds have Bones that are Structurally Very Light.  

You will Need to be VERY Gentle if you want to Pick-up the Young Cygnets.

Feeding Swan Cygnets
TRY NOT to Chase, or Grab them in a Way that will put Pressure
on their Fragile Legs.  Set them DOWN GENTLY..

Swan Cygnets

Cygnets NEED to be Out in the SunShine ***When and Where Safe…
Growing Bones need SunShine/Vitamin D to Prevent Rickets/Weak Bones.Feeding Swan Cygnets

The Cygnet Above is “Abigail.”  Growing, Gaining Weight…STANDING.  (-;

A Balance Commercial Feed will help Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency.
Feeding Swan Cygnets

The Added Vitamins in these Feeds will Help Prevent various Health Problems.Swan Cygnet

Cygnets Need to be able to Swim/Bathe Each Day,
to Clean and Preen which is NEEDed for their WaterProofing.Feeding Swan Cygnets******Growing Cygnets


Feeding Swan Cygnets

CHICK – STARTER is Perfect for Chicken Chicks.. NOT SWANS CYGNETS.
Chick Starter is for Chickens.

These Commercial Feeds Contains Medication which will
Feeding Swan CygnetsThese Feeds have Additives to Prevent-Suppress Coccidiosis.

Medicated Feed Chick-Starters are Formulated for Chicken Chicks
to help them Combat Coccidiosis, a Parasite Disease found in
the Environment. The Standard Medication added is >>>> Amprolium.
Amprolium is a Preventive that helps Suppress Coccidia Oocysts
until the Young Chicks’ Immunity Develops.

Coccidiosis is a Parasitic Disease of the Intestinal Tract Mucosa
caused by a Coccidian Protozoa. It may Parasitize the Entire Intestinal Tract.
The Disease Spreads by Contact with Infected Feces or Ingestion of Infected
Diarrhea may become Bloody in Severe Cases. Mortality is Increased..

When Coccidia Ingest Amprolium, they Experience Thiamin Deficiency
and Starve from Malnutrition.  While Inhibiting Thiamine Utilization by
the Coccidia Parasite, it ALSO Causes Thiamine Deficiency in the Birds.

Feeding Swan Cygnets
I did Searches of Various Poultry Blogs…
   Several Folks Raising BackYard Chicken Chicks..
Stop Using the Feeds with Amprolium after 8 Days.  

With Swan Cygnets these “Chick-Starter” seem to cause Chronic Diarrhea
and Malabsorption of Nutrients.  Cygnets Weaken – Do Not Thrive.
Rapidly Growing Cygnets Need Every Calorie and Nutrient they Eat.

Thiamine, also known as thiamin or Vitamin B1, is one of the B Vitamins.
Thiamine Turns Food into Energy to Keep the Nervous System Healthy.

Thiamine is Found in Foods such as Cereals, Whole Grains, Meat, Nuts,
Beans, and Peas.
Thiamine is Important in the Breakdown of Carbohydrates into Nutrients
Needed by the Body.   Rapidly Growing Cygnets Basically Starve. 

I Sent for Information to the Company who Formulate Amprolium.
HUVEPHARMA Pharmaceutical Company in Bulgaria.
They did not Reply.Feeding Swan Cygnets

What a COOL Building.. 

My Guess, is the Pharmaceutical Company has NOT Tested their Product
AMPROLIUM – with Swans/Cygnets.

From Various Sources it is Generally Recommended to Supply
NON-Medicated Commercial Feeds.. to Swans and Cygnets.
CHECK the LYSINE VALUE…        >>> Maintenance Feeds ONLY.

IF you are Unsure what Feed or Schedule to choose,
CHECK with your Avian Veterinarian..  
Feeding Swan Cygnets
Or your STATE’s Department of Agriculture Avian/Poultry Specialists.Swan Cygnet Feed

Your Cygnets will have a Healthier Start in Life if they get Proper Nutrition.
Growing Cygnets

In the Wild, Swans would have a Range of 3 to 5 Square Miles to Seek ALL
the Food Items that they Require for General Health. As the Cygnets Grow,
Parents will take them to Find and Eat a Wide Variety of Natural Foods.Feral Mute Swan Family

Captive Swan Parents will Need you to Evaluate their Environment and Supplement Nutrition to Aid Healthy Growth of their Tiny Cygnets.

Mute Swan Family Grazing

Swans Enjoy Grazing on Tender Grass Blades.. NOT TOO SHORT..
When you Mow around the Water’s Edge Rotate Cutting/Not Cutting Areas.
Allow some New Tender Growth for the Swans to Graze.

Swans Eat Grass

Fresh Cut Grass Floating on the Pond is a Welcome Treat. (Chemical Free)
Swan Cut Grass******
Swan Cut Grass

Hand Raised Cygnets Love Fresh Cut Grass in a Pan of Water or their Pool.
Feeding Swan Cygnets******Feeding Swan CygnetsThey will Suck-up the Lawn Grass Until ALL GONE ! 
Feeding Swan Cygnets     It is Funny Watching the Cygnets Sucking Up the Grass. They LOVE it !

Dandelion Plant

Swans will Nibble on the Flowers and Leaves of Dandelion Plants.
  Tear off the Roots.. that is Too Tough.. 

A Patch of Lush White Clover is a Tasty Treat.

Lawn White Clover******Natural Swan Pond
A ONE Acre Natural Pond
may have Everything they Need…              Country Swan Pond

Every Situation is Different…  Check there are Edible Plants. 

Natural Creek******Pond Plants&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Below is a Suggested Feed Schedule.  This has Worked Well for Us.

Weights I Note are Estimates from the Cygnet Data I have Recorded.
Their Inherited Genetics will Influence the Cygnets Growth and Future Size.  

**The First TWO Weeks provide:
*START-N-GROW*        If this is available….
One 25 lbs. Bag should be Plenty for a Brood of 6-8 Cygnets for Two Weeks.START N Grow Cygnets

Since we were Purchasing Feed.. Chewy.com is a Great Way to Order
and have Many Products Delivered.. with Orders of at Least $50.00.


It is Important to know what NORMAL Swan Poop Looks and Smells like. 
I can not Describe the Smell.. but it is Unique. 
Their Fecal Waste should be mostly Formed..
Color will Vary with their Diet.Feeding Swan Cygnets
Lots of Grains.. Stools will be a Little Gritty Looking.
Lots of Green Plants – Grass.. Stools will be more Greenish..
CARROTs will make the Poop Orange.   Most Swans LOVE Carrots.
Egg Shells for Extra Calcium will Show as White Haze on the Stool.
Their Body will Excrete any Excess Calcium in their Diet.

Every Day there is ONE Very Dark, Smelly Splat of Body Waste.
It looks like Tobacco Spit.. It Stinks.. Is Normal..   It does Attract Flies..Feeding Swan Cygnets
ALL Body Waste is Expelled Through the Cloaca..  Including Urine.
Urine is a Wet, Clear-ish Splat of Liquid with White Fleck of Urates. 
 I hope to Find an Example as I Edit more Swan Photos I have Collected.  


********** Good Starter Feed Alternative:

Crumble (Specialty Poultry Feed) ****NON-MEDICATED….

You Want “Maintenance” Feed – NOT Grower or Finishers.

*Crude Protein 16-18% to Mix.     >> Avoid the Higher Protein Feed.
*Lysine 0.75 – 1.00%                      >>> Avoid the Higher Lysine Feed.
Ask for Crumble Feed with Lysine 1.00% or Less.
A Low Level of Lysine is Important for Healthy Growth. 
Lysine is an amino acid (a building block of protein).
The Body cannot make lysine; therefore it must be Eaten in the Diet. 

**These Feed Formulas Should Contain Ca-Calcium & P-Phosphorus.
These are VERY Important for the Development of Strong Bones.

Look for Feed that also Contains Vitamin A, D & E…
All Promote Healthy Development.

** IF this is Unavailable Try for the Closest Formulation.
Ask your Feed Representative for Help Selecting the Closest Match.

SWAN Cygnets Crumble Compare

*** Hand Raised Cygnets Need a Supply of Fine Grit..
(Fine Play Sand Sprinkled into the Wet Crumble.)
Add about a Teaspoon to each Quart of Feed.

When Mute Cygnets Hatch their Average Weight is 9 to 12 Ounces. 
Tiny FuzzBalls.

For the First One – Two Weeks:
Place the “START-N-GROW”/ or Crumble in a Shallow Pan.
Add Enough Fresh Water to Cover. It should look like Wet Oatmeal.Feeding Swan Cygnets

******Feeding Swan Cygnets
** If Possible Place in a Cool Shaded Location in Shallow Water.
Use some type of Clean Stone on One Side of the Pan to Prevent
the Pan from Floating Out into the Water out of your Reach.

Feeding Cygnets

On Days when the Temperature is over 65 degrees
you may Need to Clean and Change the Feed Pan at Least Twice.


Sprinkle Feed Pan with Finely Chopped Romaine/Dark Curly Leaf Lettuces, Spinach.
Dark Greens are Good for them until they are able to Graze for themselves.

Feeding Swan Cygnets

If the Cygnets are on your Pond or Lake –
You might try Tossing Small Amounts of their Feed onto Clean Shallow Water
several Times a Day, so they can Swallow Water with the Feed.Feeding Swan Cygnets

Feeding Swans on the Ground is Environmentally Unsound and Encourages
Swans/Cygnets to Leave the Water whenever they see People.
This may bring them into Harms Way from Cars, Lawn Mowers, Dogs, Predators, People, etc.         >>>> Swans are *Safest* in their Water.

Kitty Litter Feeder

 WASH Cat Litter Buckets WELL !     Secure the Handle.. Put in Back.
Cut the Opening Lower or Higher for Cygnets Size. 

Kitty Litter FeederPlacing Swan’s Feed on the Ground Increases their Exposure to Disease
– Parasites, Bacteria, Molds and Fungus, etc…
Always place Feed in a Clean Container or in Shallow Water.
DO NOT Allow the Feed to Accumulate, Smell Sour/Spoil or Mildew …

Feeding Swan Cygnets

Continue Providing “START-N-Grow” or Change to a Poultry Crumble.
Week Two: Add Small Amounts of Cracked Corn/Wheat Scratch 10%.

Two Grain Scratch******
SWAN Esophagus-Food

A REPEAT NOTE: If a Swan tries to Eat TOO Fast..
The Dry Feed may get STUCK in their Esophagus and Block Swallowing. 
Forming a Condition called CHOKE.
         This could be an Emergency… 

Supply Water with DRY Feed Mixtures.

Cygnets Three Weeks Old

Week Three: Increase – a little more “Scratch” 20%.

Cygnets Four Weeks Old

Week Four: Add a little more “Scratch” 30%.
– Watch to see what the Cygnets are Eating.

Cygnets Five Weeks Old

By Five Weeks Mute Swan Cygnets will Weigh appx. 3-4-5 Pounds.
Feeding Swan Cygnets

By Six Weeks Mute Swan Cygnets will Weigh appx. 4-5-6 Pounds.

Cygnets Six Weeks Old

By Seven Weeks Mute Swan Cygnets will Weigh appx. 5-6-7 Pounds.

The Average Weight Gains I have Observed are:
The Males Gain about 16 Ounces Per Week.
The Females Gain about 12 Ounces Per Week.

Occasional the Females are Larger then the Males of the Same Brood.
Size is not a Good Way to Determine their Sex..  It is Just Guessing.
The Cygnets below are an Example:  The Larger Royal Cygnet is FEMALE.
The Two Smaller Polish Cygnets are MALE..   We do Not Guess.. We DNA.
Feeding Swan Cygnets

******Cygnets Eight Weeks Old

Month Two:
“START-N-GROW” or Crumble or Sweet All Stock 50-60% + Scratch 40%

By Eight Weeks Mute Swan Cygnets will Weigh appx. 6-8-10-12+ Pounds.

Cygnets Two Months Old

Their first True Feathers will Start to Grown In.. !!! Cute Stage.
The Cygnets look like they are Wearing Shaggy Fur Shoulder Stoles.

By Nine Weeks Mute Swan Cygnets will Weigh appx. 10-12-14 Pounds.

Month Three:   Depends on What Feeds you have Available.Feeding Swan Cygnets


A Basic Feed like     Sweet All Stock 50%      Plus Corn
OR All Grain Poultry *Maintainer 50%            Plus Corn
OR Mazuri Waterfowl Floating Pellets 50%    Plus Corn
Most Healthy Mute Cygnets do OK with WET Shell Corn.. 10% 
Crimped or Rolled Oats (Feed Bags) Great for Treats..  10% of Diet. 
 I would Not Use the Sweet Oats because of the Higher Sugar Value. Feeding Swan Cygnets

We “were” Using Southern States Floating Waterfowl Pellets.
This Product Line was Sold.. Now it Varies.. Barely Floats..  Shame.
We, Along with Most Swan Folks I know have Stopped Using this Feed.
Feeding Swan Cygnets

We are ALL going Back to Mazuri.
Mazuri Feed is Also Available through Chewy.com – DELIVERED !  Feeding Swan Cygnets

Feeding Swan Cygnets
Scratch 40% – Whole Dried Shelled Corn 10%
Feeding Swan Cygnets CORN WEEVILESDuring the HOT Summer Months, Bag Corn and Grain Hatch Tiny Weevils. 
We might Not be Using these Bag Feeds as Quickly.
There are Wheat and Corn Weevils.. They are Harmless.. 
Wheat Weevils FLY…  Corn Weevils Do Not.. they Crawl..

The Weevil Eggs are Present in the Grains.. and Hatch in WARM Conditions.
The Cygnets, Ducks, Geese and BIRDs.. Love these Tiny Insects.. 
I have Given these to our Swans when there is NOT a Large Infestation.

DISCARD Feeds if Mice, Rats, Rodents have Raided Stored Feed.


An Aut-O-Dine in Shallow Water adjusted for Growing Cygnets.
The Floating Pellets allow for Grazing – Good Usage.. 
Feeding CygnetsSome of the Whole Corn will Sink, Soften and be Eaten Later.
Cygnet Whole Corn******

SWAN Feed Alternate
Mute Swan Cygnets 11 Weeks Old

By Twelve Weeks Mute Swan Cygnets will Weigh appx. 10-12-15+ Pounds.

Swan CygnetAt this Stage the Cygnets will be Eating the Floating Pellets
that the Adult Swans are Eating.  Provide Scratch,
Some Shell Corn and Vegetables to keep the Diet Protein Value Reduced..Feeding Cygnets
Swan Cygnets Eat Vegetables
Feeding Swan Cygnets

Allow their Kidde Pool Water to Become a Little Soiled..
They NEED the Bacteria for their Gut.. to Aid Digestion.. 
Sounds Gross, but it Works.
Pond / Lake Water is Dirty.. Public & Well Water in Kidde Pools – TOO Clean. Feeding Swan Cygnets
Early on, we had a Terrible Time with the Various Cygnets DIGGING Holes
in the Lawn..  Any Place the Grass was WET ! 
The Cygnets had their Beaks in the Dirt Digging and Sucking Up the MUD !  YUCK..  

Feeding Swan CygnetsOnce a Week I had to Fill-in the Holes with Soil..  Silly Cygnets. 

Feeding Swan Cygnets

I Finally, Realized this was an Instinct.. They Swans Wanted the Dirt –
they Wanted to Micro-Organisms in our Soil.  AND, in the Dirty Pool Water.
Feeding Swan Cygnets
Month Four: Same as Month Three –
This Feed Mixture-Diet is Good for the Rest of the First Year.
Keep the Protein Value between 6-8-10%.
Feeding Cygnets******
Swan FamilyAdequate Greens and Plant Materials will help keep the Protein Level down.
Feeding Swan Cygnets
In their Kidde Pool – Pond – or Lake..  Lots of Plants and Vegetable.
Feeding Swan Cygnets


There are various Commercial Feeds that will be a Good Start to a Healthy Diet for Swans.  Whether you have Extruded Pellets, Crumble or Floating Pellets available you will need to Prepare the Feed Mixture for your Environment.

Male Mute Swan Cygnet Five Months Old.Cygnet Five Months Old

  We had One Hand Raised Male Cygnet that was 24 Pounds at 5 Months !
Feeding Swan CygnetsHe will be Eleven Years Old in the Spring of 2024.  

Mute Swan Cygnet 6 Months Old

                   Male Mute Swan Cygnet Six Months Old. 

Feeding Swan Cygnets******    Feeding Cygnets 
  Mute Swan Cygnets Seven Months Old. Cygnets Seven Months Old

Healthy Mute Cygnets will do Well Outside during the Winter. 

Male Mute Swan Cygnet Nine Months Old. Mute Cygnet Nine Months Old

By One Year
Healthy Mute Swan Cygnets will Weigh approximately 20-26 Pounds.

Mute Cygnet One Year Old

By Two Years     
Mute Swan Juveniles will gain another 2-3 Pounds

Mute Swan Two Years Old

A PROPER Diet will help Minimize Weak Bone Problems,
“Angel Wing” and Internal Organ Damage.

An Improper Diet will Weaken and May Shorten a Swan’s Life.

If the Feed you use is Low in Calcium.. You can Add some Crushed BOILED Egg Shells.

SWANs EggShell Calcium

One Tablespoon Mixed into 15-20 Pounds of Feed Mixture.
Feeding Swan Cygnets

You can Purchase Commercial Crushed Oyster Shell (Calcium).. Add as Directed. 
Oyster Shell Poultry Treats provide a Good Source of Calcium to Aid Bone Strength and Sound Eggshells for your Adult Pens.
The Commercial Oyster Shell Poultry Treats are Heat-Treated for Purity.

Generally you can not Over-Feed a Swan – they Self-Regulate. 
(There are Exceptions.. There are NO 100% Rules to Swan Behavior.)
Swans are not Greedy Creatures and will only Eat what they Need.
Over Weight Birds would not be Able to Fly.. Swans Evolved to Fly.

Swans DO Establish a “Pecking Order.”    
The Dominant Cygnets will Prevent the Submissive Cygnets from Eating
if there is Insufficient Food Available.

In Large Broods, there is Frequently One Cygnet that is Too Submissive.
Feeding Swan Cygnets

The Larger Cygnets are “Pushy” when Eating.. 
      The Smaller Cygnet gets Crowded OUT !!
Feeding Swan Cygnets*****The Smaller Cygnets gets to Eat Easily when Foods are on the Water.
Feeding Swan Cygnets******Feeding Swan Cygnets******
Feeding Swan Cygnets******
Feeding Swan Cygnets
You are providing Adequate Food, if there is a Small Amount left
in their Feed Containers after 24 Hours.

Cygnet Pecking Order

Keep in mind there May be other Birds or Animals, Rodents Eating the Swans’ Feed.  Adjust to be sure the Swans get Enough for themselves.

If there are Rodents or Wild Birds Eating their Feed…

Rodent Saliva and Waste can Carry Fatal Diseases.
One being Avian Cholera.
Another is Duck Viral Enteritis.. from Migrating Ducks.
Once Again Avian Influenze is Out there.



In the Winter, Natural Food in the Pond Water will become SCARCE.
In Central Pennsylvania from Halloween to St. Patrick’s Day…
there is VERY little Nature Food for Swans to Eat.
The Cob-Sire may Drive-off his Young Cygnets.

Doing this, he and his Female will have a Better Chance of Surviving until Spring.
Feeding Swan Cygnets

Providing Supplemental Feed will Help Prevent this.

When Food is Adequate the Adult Swan Pair will be more likely to keep their Young with them until the Adults are Ready to Breed again the next Spring.

August is a Good Time to Submit DNA Samples for Sex Determination.
Feeding Swan Cygnets

It is a GOOD Plan to have New Homes Ready for Surviving Cygnets
by the Middle of September when they are 4-6 Months Old.  (16-26 Weeks)
We have Found it is BEST to have all Cygnets Rehomed by Thanksgiving.
They MUST be Moved to New Homes by 8-10 Months of Age.

Mute Swan Cygnets 10 Months Old

The Parent Swans will Start to “Drive-off” their Cygnets as their Mating Hormones Start to Increase in late January-February…
The Chasing will CHANGE to Attacks if the Cygnets Do Not Leave.

Mute Swans Chasing Their Cygnets Away
Published on Apr 6, 2012 Video takes a Long Time to Load.

Time to say “Good-bye and Good Luck” to the 2011 Cygnets at Reddish Vale Country Park, the Cygnets hatched in June 2011, three out of four survived, their Parents are now ready to nest and they have to chase their Cygnets away.

Reddish Vale is a loosely defined area in the Tame Valley close to Reddish in the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport, Greater Manchester, England.

Pinioned Cygnets are unable to Fly-Off..  They NEED to be MOVED to a New Home.
The Adults will INCREASE the Attacks until they Injury or KILL their Cygnets.
Injuries will often Result in Crippling the Cygnets.
Injured Cygnets will Suffer – Increased Risk of Dying.
Even their Siblings will Start to Pick on the Injured Cygnets..
They become Helpless.Feeding Swan Cygnets

The Young Cygnet Above had her Hip Ligament Damaged by an Adult Pen.
She was Unable to Walk.. Even after Months of Rest her Future was Sealed.

Normally, in Countries where Swans live “Wild and Free” the Cygnets find their way to Non-Breeding Flocks ( Juveniles 1-3 years old).  They will Live with these “Juvenile Groups” for Several Years and Eventually Choose a Mate.  The Young Adult Pairs will leave the Juvenile Group to Find their own Breeding Territory.

Swans New Territory

Information Compiled by (C) Linda M.Sweger  >>>   UpDated  MAY  2024
I LOVE Swans.    I am Learning all the Time…  PA SwanLover Linda

SWANLovers Info

I will do my Best to Seek and Share Good General Information about Swans.
Feeding Swan Cygnets******Feeding Swan CygnetsSpending Time Feeding your Swans and their Cygnets will Socialize them.
Feeding Swan Cygnets
Trust and Treats..  
The Book I like the Best for Anyone New to Swan Care is:
The Swan Keeper’s Handbook.
Feeding Swan Cygnets

Complied by the Veterinarians at the Regal Swan Project in Florida
It is a Good General/Basic Overview of Swan Care…

The Regal Swan has Published another Book about:
SWANS of the World Habitats
SWANs of the WORLD HABITATsThis Book can be Ordered through their Regal Swan WebSite

After Working with Swans for Years I do have ONE Thing to Say:
“Swan DO NOT Read the Books Written About Them.” 
There are NO 100% Rules with Swans.. They Surprise Us ALL the TIME.
The WebSites Below have a Wealth of General Information about Swans.
You can Send them Questions by EMail.. and they will Reply.
The Regal Swan WebSite Florida

Regal Swan
EMail Bolin.S@att.net
The Swan Sanctuary in England
Links below may have Changed.



From the Swan Sanctuary in the UK


Knox Swan and Dog  – Bob Knox

Canadian Geese Control & Sales
The Trumpeter Swan Society


Mailing Address:    The Trumpeter Swan Society
12615 County Road 9, Plymouth, Minnesota 55441-1248 U.S.A.

Contact Information: Phone: 763-694-7851 Fax: 763-557-4943
E-mail: ttss@trumpeterswansociety.org
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Avian Diagnostician


Penn State – New Bolton Center for Large Animals
382 West Street Road 1(814) 863-1983
Kennett Square, PA 19348 Ask for Avian Specialists


Tri-State Bird Rescue   1 (302) 737-9543    https://www.tristatebird.org

170 Possum Hollow Rd, Newark, DE 19711

Call these Folks if you FIND a Wild Trumpeter or Tundra Swan
that is Injured and Needs Help.  The General Public MAY NOT
Legally Care for a Wild Trumpeter or Tundra Swan.

Tundra Swan

If you have a Wild Bird Rehabilitation Person near you, try
calling them first.  They may be able to Provide Immediate Help,
Help to Capture, Evaluate Injuries or Medical Needs.

Folks who are Licensed to Rehabilitate will Try to Advise to Help Save
all Animals and Birds.

It is a Good Idea to Know an Avian Veterinarian
in your Area Familiar with Swans.
Your STATE should have a Department of Agriculture to Assist you.
Check their Location and Phone Numbers – being Prepared is a Good Plan.
Your State Department of Agriculture can be Helpful
with Pond Environment Problems and Suggestions for Who to Contact.

You State Department of Agriculture Pathology Laboratory.
May be Helpful if there are Questions about Diseases or Parasites..

Will Assist you when a Swan/Cygnets Dies.. and you do Not Know Why ?

## Swans Death Necropsy

This is our “Meadow” at 2 Days Old..
Feeding Swan Cygnets
   July 15, 2020 he is 11 Years Old.  We can not Visit.. because of Covid-19.

Feeding Swan Cygnets
This is “Meadow” in Late 2023..  We have been Lucky with him and his Pen. 
Feeding Swan Cygnets

I Hope this Information is Helpful and ALL your Cygnets do Well.  (-; Linda

Feeding Swan Cygnets

The Young Male Below has Adopted these Rescued Mixed Brood Cygnets.

Feeding Swan Cygnets

A Fun Week “Cygnet Sitting” with these Rescued Cygnets.

Feeding Swan Cygnets
******Feeding Swan Cygnets
******Feeding Swan Cygnets

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