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TRANSPORTING Swans and Cygnets

June 21st, 2018 | Posted by LadyNerkle1 in Transporting Swans


Transporting Swans

Click Images to Enlarge

Are You Planning to Move Swans to a New Home ??
Maybe to Your Home Pond or Private Lake ??Swan Pond
This may be Exciting for YOU.. ! !

Catching Swan
But, might be Very Scary – even Traumatic for the Swans.Catching SwanJust the Act of Catching the Swans or Cygnets is Stressful.Catching a Swan
Some Socialized Swans will Travel Very Well…Transporting Swans
There are a Few that will be Terrified the Entire Time.Transporting Swans
They Alarm Call and Panic which can Lead to Harmful STRESS and/or Physical Injuries.

It is TRUE that Stress Can Kill Birds.
Remember 3 Things – Be Calm, Stay Calm, Remain Calm.
If you want to know WHY…
SEARCH for and Read about – Capture Myopathy.

FROM: http://wildlifedisease.unbc.ca/
Exertional or Capture Myopathy (disease of the muscle) is a
Non-Infectious Disease of Muscles that is Characterized by Damage
to Muscle Tissues brought about by Physiological Changes,
usually following Extreme Exertion, Struggle and/or Stress.
This can be Fatal..

If a Swan starts to Struggle hold them just Enough to Control them
and Allow them to Calm Down.
Mute Swans generally Settle Down after a Quick Burst of Movement.
Trumpeter Swans tend to Struggle Longer.
We have Little Experience Traveling with other Species of Swans.

DO NOT HUG a Swan’s Ribs TOO Tightly.
They CAN NOT Breathe and will REALLY Struggle.Catching a Swan
Speak Calmly and with a Soft Voice. Yelling will Scare a Swan.
Transporting Rescued Cygnet   This Very Young Rescued Cygnet was all Alone in a BIG Carrier.
All her Nest Mates has been Taken by Predators.
She was Scared.      Whistling to her Helped..  Transporting Rescued Cygnet
I held her, Wrapped in a Towel for Part of the Trip.  Passenger Side.Transporting Rescued CygnetTransporting Cygnet

You are taking Swans from their Home, where they feel Safe.
And in many Cases Away from their Swan Family.

Transporting Swans
You Can NOT Explain what their Future will be.
Transporting SwansMoving Mute SwanTime for a Move to Your New Home, Pond and Family.
Transporting Swans I Hope to Share Information to Help you have a Safe Trip.

PLAN AHEAD: There are Many Things to Do to get Ready.
Transporting Swan
It is GOOD to Transport Mid-to Late Morning..
The Swans need some Time to See and Adjust to their New Home/Pond.Transporting Swans

Have a Large Dark Sheet or Blanket to Cover a Very Rammy Swan.
We have only had Two maybe Three Swans.. Panic.
Rarely Happens.. most Swans Travel Well..

Some are a Little Restless. Some will Stand and Prance..Transporting Swans
They may Rake their Beak..Transporting Swans
A Thinner Tube Sock ( with the Elastic Area Removed) over their Head will Stop Beak Injury.
Remove once the Swan Settles..

Have a Large Towel or Small Blanket Available.Transporting Swans
Wrap the Swan with the Towel to Control their Wings..
This Helps get the Swan in the Carrier-Box without the Wings Flapping all over the Place.
The Swan’s Wings can REALLY Whack you ! !Transporting Swans The Towel is Helpful, if you Need to get into the Carrier-Box for any Reason.

Have EXTRA NewsPaper to Change if Needed.
For a Long Trip, Roll Up some of the Soiled Layers of Newspaper
and Toss when you Stop along the Way.
Have some Plastic Bags for the Soiled Papers.
Swans are BIG Messy Birds.. LOTs of Poop.

It Helps to have Water & Paper Towels for Clean-Ups.
I keep a Gallon of Fresh Water in our Van..
Just in case I need it for ANY Reason..

BE VERY CAREFUL if you try to do some Clean-up..
That the Swan does not get away from YOU !!!!Transporting Swans*****************************************************


DO NOT PUT SWANs or CYGNETs LOOSE in your Vehicle.

This Distraction is NOT Safe for You or the Swans.
The Risk of Breaking their Wings, Legs and Necks.. TOO Risky.

Transporting Swans    These Young Cygnet eventually Died.. from Bone Abscesses.

DO NOT PUT in the Back of a Truck Bed Open to the Air – UnSecured.
IF you need to Transport in a Truck Bed.. Cover Carrier with a TARP.
Shield the Swans from any Rain and Rapid Swirling Air or HOT SUN ! ! 

Will Your Vehicle Allow you to have LARGE Containers Safely Inside ?Transporting SwanWe can Put TWO Large Carriers in Our Van.
OUR TRAVEL-AIRE CARRIERs are 36″ X 26″ X 24″
We can Easily Move Mature Swans.

Is Your Air Conditioning and/or Heat Working. ??
BE VERY CAREFUL NOT to Over Heat the Swans.
You need to keep the Conditions inside the Carrier-Box Comfortable.

Transporting Swans Comfortable Vehicle Temp is Important.
Being Dehydrated and Overheated can cause Brain Damage.

KEEP the Vehicle at a Comfortable Cool Temperature.
Inside the Carrier-BOX Can get TOO Warm. Check Swans Frequently.
Swans can GET VERY HOT in a Confined Space.Transporting Swan

Swans have a HIGH Body Temperature Normally at Rest – 101-103 Degrees F.
When Swans are Active – Flying or Stressed their Temp may be 104-106 Degrees F.
Swans Normally are Able to Cool themselves in Water.Transporting Swans
If the Swans or Cygnets are PANTING  <  <  <  <  <Transporting Swans
They may be TOO HOT !!     This is VERY Stressful.

IF You Stop in Your Travels –
DO NOT Leave Your Vehicle in the SUN.Transporting Swans

One Swan Moved by itself is more Frightening..
Two Swans Moved together are Comforting to Both.

For a Trip an Hour or Less.. you could Skip the Water.
but, a Chunk of Wet Lettuce is a Treat.
It is GOOD if you can See the Swans as you Travel..
Check Swans Once an Hour or Two. Listen for Activity.
Soft Vocal Sounds are the Swans Talking to you..
If they are ALARM Calling.. try to Comfort.. Stay Calm.

IF Transport Time is Over an Hour – Supply Water and Food.

Transporting Swans
Have a Gallon Jug of Fresh Cold Water with You. Corn and Lettuce.
Putting Whole Corn and/or Some Broken Lettuce in the Water Tub.
Transporting Swan CygnetOR A Gallon Jug with the Shoulder Cut Out can be Tied to the Interior.. 
Secure Well so they CAN NOT Untie the Cord.. !!

Once you HEAR a Swan Drinking you will know it is Relaxed.
A Stressed Swans will NOT Eat or Drink.Transporting Swans
When you hear them Slopping in the Water.
Smile, they are Relaxed.. A Sound I Love to Hear…

Keep Noise and Radio Low – CALM and Quiet is Best.Transporting Swans
Talk to the Swans. Let them get to know your Calm Voice..

If your New Swans Perceives you are Kind and Caring… Transporting Swans You may be Starting to Develop “Trust” with them.

DRIVE like you are Transporting a Fish Aquarium FULL of Water.Transporting Swans
Do not Take Turns Quickly or STOP Suddenly.
The Swan may be Standing and this Might Twist their Legs..



Choose a SAFE Transport Carrier-Container-Sturdy Box.

Please have Separate Containers for the Larger Swans/Cygnets.
Mute Cygnets 4-8 Months Old should – Will Weight 16-20 Plus Pounds.Transporting Swan
If One Swan gets Rammy or Panics – they are BIG and can Hurt Each Other.

A Swan’s BIG Feet have Toe Claws that can SCRATCH…Transporting Swans
Swan Cygnet Leg Bones are STILL Fragile, they can Bend Easily.Transporting Swans
This will not Correct itself.. Better to be Safe.

If you are Moving Mute Swans..
A Healthy Mature Mute Pen will be around 24-26 Pounds at most. Transporting Swans
A Healthy Mature Mute Cob may Weigh as much as 30-Plus Pounds. Transporting Swans

Black Australian Swans are Smaller.
Transporting Swans
Trumpeter Swans are Larger by Several Pounds.
Transporting Swans
Transporting Swans

We use Large Hard Shell Pet Transport Carriers.Transporting SwansSwans are BIGGER then they Look.
Transporting Swans

Mature Mute Cobs may Weigh 30 Plus Pounds..Transporting SwansThis BIG COB has been Transported MANY Times in this Carrier.
Transporting SwansTransporting Swans
Transporting Swans
These Come Apart for Easy Washing..
They Come in Various Sizes. A LARGE One is BEST.
OUR TRAVEL-AIRE CARRIERs are 36″ X 26″ X 24″
We can Easily Move Mature Swans.
Transport Carrier
These can be USED for Many Things.. VERY Helpful to Have. Transporting Swans  Transporting Swans


Recently, a Swan Friend Shared Information for these Pet Carriers.

SWANS PETCARE Transport Carrier

36 X 25 X 25.. would be Perfect.. NOT to BIG or SMALL..

These were not Available when we were Purchasing our Carriers..
I Like the Look of these.. AND the Handles..!!
Our Carriers do NOT have Handles.. So Wish they DID !!

NOW, I will Add One Comment.. SWANs are Very MESSY Birds.
They POOP a LOT ! These Mesh Sides might not Contain ALL
the Waste that the Cygnets/Swans will Expel..
Swan Waste is SOFT and Wet.
Maybe ADD an Old Shower Curtain or Tarp
to Protect your Vehicle’s Cargo Area..
On a LONG Trip there will be POOP !

SWANS LESURE PET Transport Carrier
I Like the Look of these.. 
I will not have an Opportunity to Use these.
Until a Person Uses Anything..
it is Tricky to know ALL the Pros & Cons.


If you do not have a Suitable Transport Container,
Check with a Friend or Neighbor who might have a Large Carrier to Borrow.

OR If you do not have Large Pet Carriers Available.
GET a VERY LARGE Sturdy CardBoard Box..or Two.
Transport Carrier
The Box above would be Good for a Swan/Cygnet 10-15 Pounds.

For Mature Swans Try to have Large Sturdy Boxes 36″ X 26″ X 24″
Check these  Boxes will FIT in your Vehicle..

More Info will Follow.. about CardBoard Boxes.

If you are Transporting Very Young Cygnets Smaller Carriers are OK.
Medium Size Cat Pet Carriers. > > >Double Check the Carrier Door is Secure.
Transport Carrier
Only put 2-3 Young Cygnets in One Container. 
They should be OK Together – Comforting Each Other.
A Large Brood 4-8 in ONE Container will Crowd into the Corners.
> > >Smaller Cygnets may be Suffocated.

Transporting Swans
Check them Frequently. Provide some WET Chopped Lettuce..Transporting Swans
Many Times Cygnets will Crowd into the Corners when Scared.Transporting Swans
This Crowding Behavior is Common when Cygnets are 1-6 Weeks Old.
The Crowding may Result in Smaller Cygnets Suffocating.Transporting Swans
Make sure all the Cygnets are Breathing.

Lots of NewsPaper for the Bottom of the Carrier Allows me
to Roll-up and Discard most of the Poop.
Expect LOTs of POOP – that is Normal.Transporting Swans
Young Swan Cygnets are Eating POOP Machines…

Then Head OFF to their NEW HOME in the Morning.
Transporting SwansOR When we had an Early Morning Veterinarian Appointment.
Transporting SwansMost Swans are Comfortable in the Carriers.. We Check on them Frequently.
Transporting SwansThis is an Adult Female Mute Swan.. You can See she has Ample Room. 
She was in the Carrier between 20-24 Hours.
Transporting SwansThis Young Female Knew us Well.. Trusted Us.
Transporting Swans
Her New Home was a Beautiful Place. 


Swans are BIG MESSY Birds – Lots of POOP..

These are Safer for Transporting Swans/Cygnets then Wire Dog Carriers..
( Info Below..)

PLAN for an Adult Swan – 30 Plus Pounds. Transporting Swans

Home Depot and Lowes have LARGE Cardboard Boxes..
These Boxes will be Comfortable for Medium Size Swans..  20-25 Pounds..


Swan Transport Box

For Mature Swans Try to have Large Sturdy Boxes 36″ X 26″ X 24″
Check these will FIT in your Vehicle.
Swan Transport Box

Add a Dozen or MORE Holes for Ventilation. Transporting Swans
Air Holes NOT Larger then 2 Inches.  ( Smaller Holes for Young Cygnets.)
Their Heads can come through Larger Holes.
Swans and Cygnets may Hang themselves
trying to Pull their Heads Back into the Box.

 Transporting Swans Line & Tape to the Bottom a Large Trash-Garbage Bag to make a Moisture Barrier.
Swans are Messy Birds. Add Generous Thick Layers of Newspaper.
Straw is OPTIONAL. NO HAY ! !

A LARGE 3 Pound Margarine Tub Fixed to One Corner.
To Provide about 3 Inches of Fresh Cold Water. Transporting Swans
Some Chopped Lettuce and maybe some Corn in the Water Tub.
Have Scratch for Young Cygnets.. and a Smaller Water Tub.

   A Gallon Plastic Jug is a QUICK Travel Feed and Water Container.
Transporting Swans

Fresh Water in an Attached Tub or Jug – Several Inches. NOT TOO Full.Swan Transport Box
Better to Occasionally Add some Water then have a WET Mess.Swan Transport Box

Swan Transport Box

When you Put a Swan in the Box – Orient it to Reach the Water Tub.Swan Transport Box
Otherwise they may not be able to Turn Around…. Transporting Swans

BE SURE you have a Way to Secure the OPEN FLAPs.
You do NOT want a Swan Loose in your Vehicle. Transporting Swans
Bungees or Ropes
Take Care the Swan can not get Tangled.

SIDE STORY: One Gal Picked-Up TWO BIG Cygnets in Boxes
without any way to Keep the Boxes Closed.Transporting Swans
On the Two Hour Drive Home the Cygnets GOT OUT
into her Car SEVERAL TIMEs.


Inside the BOX Can get TOO Warm.. Check Swans Frequently.
IF You Stop in Your Trip Home..
DO NOT Leave your Vehicle in the SUN !

Once the Swan is Finally HOME and OUT of the Box..


When you Get to the Swans Destination..
Try to Allow them to Leave the Carrier on their Own.
Transporting SwansSome Times we have Removed the Carrier Top..
Transporting SwansSeeing their New Home.. is a Lot to Take in for a Swan.
Transporting SwansSOME Swans WANT to GET to the WATER…

The New Swans will take a Splashy Bath once on your Pond. Transporting Swans

On Transport Day TRY to Stay with the Swan/Swans
until they are Comfortable-OK and Staying on the New Pond.

 Transporting Swans Some Swans Adjust Very Quickly..Transporting Swans
Some are Bewildered and just Want to Go Back Home..
There is Some Benefit from a Quiet Place to Rest and Adjust. Transporting Swans
TRY to Stay with the Swans the First Day or Two.. ! ! Transporting Swans
Check they are on the Pond at SunSet and First Thing in the Morning.


*** When you Go to Pick-up Cygnets:

 Transporting Swans
If there is TIME, ask about their Parents.. ??? Related or Unrelated..???
Try NOT to acquire Brother – Sister Pairings.. Transporting Swans
Try to get your Breeding Pairs from Different Broods.

Ask for about 3-4 Days Worth of the Feed they Normally are Eating.
This will let you know what their Diet has been.
This will be a Clue to their General Health.
A Cygnet 6-8 Months Old should be 18-20+ Pounds.

Check for the Pinioned Wing. OR the Clipped Wing. Transporting Swans
IF the Swan or Cygnet is FULL-WING.. CLIP ASAP ! ! !
Otherwise, when you get Home the Swan will Fly Away !!!!!

Clipping Captive Swan Pets          READ this Complete Page

Ask for the DNA-Sex Certificate.. Check the Date.. Check ID.  > >If Valid.
The Date and Information on the Certificate should make Sense..Transporting Swans

If Sex-Vent Checked: It is more Reliable for Males..
> > > IF the Boy Parts are Found.
For Females Vent Sexing is Unreliable.
If the Female is 3-4 Years Old.. they should Lay Eggs in the Spring. 
> > > Eggs = Female..
Over the Years we have become Aware of a Number of Female Swans
that NEVER Lay Eggs.
 Transporting Swans

Once Home, BE SURE Your New Swans or Cygnets are EATING.
If a Swan or Cygnet is not Familiar with Bag Poultry-Waterfowl Feeds… Transporting Swans
If they have only been Fed Corn – Poultry-Waterfowl Feed is Foreign. Transporting Swans
Feral- Wild Rescues need to Learn what Commercial Bag Feed is.
Put some Feed in their Drinking Water so they Taste it.

During Cold Months, when there are NO Plants to Eat 
a New Swan may NOT Understanding you are Providing Food. Transporting Swans
This is a Reason for a New Swan to Wander Away. 
Make SURE they are Eating ! !

Here a Resident Swan MAY be Helpful. (Not Always)
When they Eats from a Feed Mix Container the New Swan/Cygnet will see. Transporting Swans
Swans do Learn from each other.


LARGE Wire Transport Carriers
Commonly used for Dogs.

 Transporting Swans

The Typical Wire Dog Carrier-Cage.  NO – Not a Good Idea ! ! Not the Safest.Swan Transport

The Risk of Breaking Feathers in this Type of Wire Pet Carrier is VERY High.
Especially, Soon after New Blood Feathers Emerge.
  CHECK for ANY Broken Bleeding Feathers !  Transporting Swans

If BLOOD FEATHERs are Present at the Time of Transport DO NOT use these.

The LONG Flight Feathers can get Caught, Break and Bleed.
New Tail Feathers can Bleed.. Swan DO NOT have Extra Blood.
ANY Blood Lose is a Concern.. Transporting Swans

A Rammy Swan may Injure their Toe Claws and Webbing between the Wire Bars.Swan Transport

As I Talk with Swan Folks..
ONE Person had a Swan get a Leg/Foot through the Wire Bars.
The Swan Struggled to get Free.. Cutting the Thin Leg Skin..
This Swan had to Heal for 10-12 Days before being Released to the Water. 
Another Person had a Swan Push its Head through the Bars..
and they had to CUT One Bar Totally Out to Get that Swan Free.
Using Wire Carriers is VERY RISKY ! 

*** If you ONLY have a Large Wire Type Dog Carrier.
It is BEST to Line the Insides with CardBoard.
( Make Sure the Swans can NOT Swallow Any Strings or Twist Ties.)

Line Bottom with LOTs of NewsPaper or Straw..
NO HAY ! !

DO NOT Put a Swan or Cygnet on Your Pond
if there are ANY BLEEDING Feathers or Bleeding Cuts.

For an EMERGENCY Transport.. for an Injured or Sick Swan
A Laundry or Large Duffel Bag is Useful.
Transporting Swans


GOOD LUCK Moving-Traveling with Your Swans.

I Wishing you many Happy Years with these Enchanting Creatures. Transporting Swans I Love to Visit Swans.



I have found Used Pet Carriers at various Second Hand Stores.
Check Yard Sales and Auctions or some times on CraigsList.
You might find a Large Pet Carrier at a Reasonable Price.

OVER TIME: We have found a Variety of Pet Carriers along the Road. 
Placed out for the Weekly Trash Collection.
Some have been Like New.

ALWAYS WASH Well… Disinfect with 10% Bleach.

Consider HAVING at Least ONE LARGE Box READY at ALL Times.
It is Good to have Something READY, if “God Forbid” you would
NEED to take a Swan to the Vets.TRANSPORTING SWANs

It is a Good Idea for any Swans Owner to have One Box like this Ready 
” Just in Case” there is an Emergency
and a Swan Needs to be taken for Medical Attention.

An Injured or Sick Swan Needs Help Quickly.
When a Swan is in Trouble, they are in Trouble.
Preparing a Transport Box takes Time the Swan may not have.

If the Swan is Weak – you Could Just Wrap them in an Old Sheet.. Transporting Swans

If a Swan was attacked by an Animal.. DO NOT Touch them with Bare Hands.
BE VERY Careful.. to Protect yourself.. Protect your EYEs.
Mammal Saliva MAY CARRY Rabies.

Swans do not get Rabies.. In General Birds do not..
But, if you have a Swan, or Bird, or Pet that is Attack..
be sure to Protect Yourself.. Hands, Arms, etc..

If you have any Pet/Swan that Dies from an Animal Attack..
Try NOT to Touch it with your Bare Hands..
Put – Wrap in TWO Plastic Bags. Then YOU WASH VERY WELL..

 Transporting Swans For any Swan or Cygnet that Dies for an Unknown Reason,
We send to the Department of Agriculture Pathology Lab for a Necropsy.
A Complete Diagnositic Necropsy for PA Residents is around $50-100.00.
CALL PADLS for Instruction and where to Send.
Having a LARGE Box on Hand can be Useful and Save Time.

Swan, Duck and Geese are Sentinel Bird.

SHIPPING Swans by OverLand Mail or Air..
is VERY Risky..

People Experienced with Shipping Swans by Air or Land
have better Success
then the Average Swan Owner. 

Recently, GMA did Segments about Pets-Animals Shipped by Air.
How many Deaths Occur.. ESPECIALLY, in Hot Weather.

I want to WARN YOU… Summer is a TERRIBLE Time of Year to Ship Swans.
The Poor Animals that go by Air are put in Cargo Areas with little Temperature
or Air Quality Control.. In the Winter Temperatures may be below Freezing.

IF they go by U.S. Land Mail they are NOT in Temperature Controlled Trucks.
And, they are just a Box in the Back of the Trucks.

In Both Methods they may be Set Out in the Sun on
Concrete or Asphalt between Connections.
This is WHY we will NOT Ship or Fly Swans
that we Arrange Adoption for.

Shipping Mortality is HIGH during Summer Months..
Spring and Fall are the Safest Time to Ship – If you Do.

There are Private, Commercial WaterFowl Breeders across the United States.
These Folks have Experience with Sales and Shipping of their Birds.
Checking with them may will give you Tips to Improve the Safe Arrival of Birds.

Years ago, you could Purchase Insurance to Cover the Value of a Swan. 
But, the Losses were TOO Frequent.
The Air Services Changed to just $100.00 for any Animal Loss.
Now I am not sure they will Insure at All.

 Express Mail Swan
** Express Mail – Insurance is for Damaged Container not the Swan.

It is JUST not Safe to Fly Swans.. the Containers are so Small.
If the Transport is Delayed they can be in Real Trouble – Stress – Panic. Express Mail Swan
The Risk is HIGH.. The Swan can become Terrified.. > > >No One to Comfort it !

With ALL Forms of Commercial Shipping there are Lots of Regulations to Observe.
Veterinary Health Check Certificates, some States require Vaccinations..

An Unacceptable Number of Swans and Cygnets DO NOT Arrive OK. Transporting Swans
The Boxes-Container they are Shipped in are NOT Treated with Care.
The Shipping Companies – U.S.Postal or Air, etc. Do NOT take Responsibility. Express Mail SwanTransporting Swans
An Injured or Dead Swans does NO One any Good..
Depending on the Time of Year.. Summer – Winter
The Risk is VERY High.. TOO HOT – TOO COLD.

It is NOT SAFE to Transport without Air Conditioning in HOT Weather.
The Swans need their Feet in Water to Regulate their Temperature.
When they are Stressed.. they can easily OVERHEAT..
Stress can Kill them.. BIG Problem with Birds in General.
Being Dehydrated and Overheated can cause Brain Damage.

It would be WISE to have an Agreement between the Seller
and the Buyer who will be Responsible for the Monetary Loss.

The Lives of these Precious Swans are Worth Transporting In Person. Transporting Swans
Have your Swans Moved by Private Vehicle. Drive there.
You can Check on them.. Comfort them.. Provide Food and Water.
Make sure they are Traveling OK..

This is a Work In Progress
(c) Linda M.Sweger     UpDated September  2023


SWAN Lovers


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