Swan Care

Swans are enchanting creatures and will draw admirers in their direction. They are relatively gentle in nature, but will defend their territory well.


Age: Juveniles are 6-11 months old. Yearlings are 1-3 years. Breeders are 3-6 years.
Lifespan: Can range from 10-30+ years, depending on species, protection and environment.

Shopping List: Mazuri Waterfowl Feed, a bubbler to keep water from freezing, winter housing or shelter in extreme climates.

Swans love.

Suggested Reading:

Swan Breeding and Management

Modern Waterfowl Management

Shipping: Swans ship via Delta Cargo to your local airport. Swans ship and arrive the same afternoon or evening. We will provide an estimated arrival time and flight reference number. Be sure to check track the reference number on the Delta website several times the day they are to ship, as they may arrive earlier or later than expected. Swans will usually ship in the same crate depending on their size. The crate is normally 3 1/2 feet long and over 2 feet tall and over 2 feet wide. Timely pickup is recommended to lessen the stress on the swans. You will need to provide Delta with the flight reference number and Driver’s Licence to pick up your swans.

Release: When your swans are at their new home, simply open the crate near the water, and they will know what to do from there. Swans are pinioned so they will not fly away.

Feed and Water: We recommend Mazuri waterfowl feed, but any 13%-20% protein pellet is fine. Swans are foragers in the wild and will eat leaves, seeds, stems and tubers of submerged aquatic vegetation, algae, grasses, small invertebrates, larvae, fish and insects. Additionally, swans may be fed spinach, dark green lettuce, shredded carrots, celery, alfalfa sprouts and other vegetables. Cracked corn, brown rice, lentils and split peas are also acceptable foods.

Housing: Swans are heat and cold hardy. Swans do need a constant supply of water so an aerator can be used to keep a small area of your pond from freezing during the winter months. They do not need housing on the water and will typically completely avoid any that is provided. The recommended minimum pond size for a pair of swans is a 20’ diameter. A shelter on land should be provided. It needs a roof with walls on at least 3 sides.  The open side should not face north.

The Tundra, Trumpeter, Bewick, and Whooper swans are best for extremely cold weather. The Black swan is best for warmer climates. The Coscoroba, Australian Black and the Black Necked swans will need to be sheltered in the winter in colder climates.

Fencing: A minimum of 2’ fence is recommended to keep the swans contained. They do wander on occasion, sometimes during their natural migration season. Fencing will also help keep predators out. A higher or electrified fence may be appropriate depending on the predators in your area.

Predators: Grown swans and cygnets are preyed on by foxes, mink, coyotes, bobcats, and sometimes dogs. New born cygnets are mainly lost to crows, herons, magpies, turtles, pike and large perch.

Temperament: Our swans are domesticated and tend to be friendly. However, this is not always the case with swans. Black swans are the most aggressive of the swan species and are territorial. The Whoopers are known to be aggressive. In breeding season, cobs of all breeds will be aggressive when protecting the females while nesting or their young. Swans will hiss and bring their wings up in a defensive posture when they feel threatened.

Mates: Swans typically mate for life. If their mate is lost, replace with one of the opposite sex. In some cases, a swan may starve themselves and pass away if no replacement is made.

Breeding: Breeding season is from early spring to late summer, depending on species. Males are responsible for building a nest and must be approved by the females before mating can begin. Nesting will occur near the water. Incubation is primarily the responsibility of the female. Parents will lead their cygnets to the water to swim and feed 24-hours after hatching.

Cohabitation:  While most of the swan species can cohabitate, all wild birds have a tendency toward aggression during breeding season. It may be necessary to separate them out during this time. We recommend that you keep the Trumpeter separate from other species at all times. Swans and other waterfowl can live on the same pond together. If the pond it isn’t large enough, the swans may get territorial and chase away the other birds.

Safe Handling of Poultry: After handling poultry, wash your hands with soap and warm water. Do not let young children, elderly persons, or people with weak immune systems handle or touch live poultry. Do not snuggle or kiss your birds. You can get Salmonella from touching live fowl. Your birds can carry Salmonella and still appear healthy and clean. Regularly clean your poultry equipment.

10 responses to “Swan Care”

  1. Shannon Walker says:

    You are dead wrong about the black swans being the most aggressive of all the swans! The mute swan is by far the most dangerous of All the swans! The black swans are the most tame when not breeding! Mine follow me around all the time in the garden where they live

  2. Anna Pattermann says:

    Good morning Shannon,
    I’m so glad to hear you have such wonderful black swans! My understanding is that in a traditional sense, the black swans do tend to be the most aggressive of swan breeds overall. I am going to look into this further, and we will make any needed changes. Thank you for your input and bringing this to our attention. Have a great day!

  3. Juliene says:

    We have a large pond behind a condo in minneapolis we are interested in swans because we are getting hundreds of geese. We would not be able to put up a fence since the pond is so large. Is that a problem? Can they survive in a Minnesota winter?

  4. Julie, The swans would not need a fence, but would need some sort of shelter. They can certainly survive the Minnesota winter no problem! They would just need non-frozen water at all times, so the pond would need a heater, or bubbler of some type. I hope this helps! Let us know if you would like further assistance.

  5. Sigurlina says:

    Hi, I have one baby swan (my dog stole an egg, I didint know wherefrom) I am wondering if It will be possible for me to get him back to the “wild” this autumn if I care for him this summer, would he be able to survive?

  6. Anna Pattermann says:

    Good afternoon,
    I do believe it is possible for you to be able to raise this swan up to adulthood with proper care. The bird should retain it’s instincts. The important part is ensuring they have ample food available to them in the area in which it is released. There is always a chance this baby would grow dependent on you and your family, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to try. Please be aware that there may be regulations in your state preventing you from being allowed to raise a wild born swan. I do wish you luck. We are always here to help.
    Have a great day!

  7. bill says:

    where can i get about 6 baby white swans

  8. Anna Pattermann says:

    Bill, you can order 6 baby white mute swans right here at Purely Poultry! We should have cygnet white mute swans back available on the website in the next few weeks! We hope to work with you then.

  9. Jennifer Carter says:

    We have a horrible problem with raccoons preying upon our ducks and geese. We have a large natural pond but have had to pen up the few remaining waterfowl to protect them from the ‘coons. Would swans as bigger, more aggressive birds be likely to survive raccoon predation on our big pond? The area is heavily wooded so our electric fencing does not keep out climbing predators who just hop from tree branch to tree branch over the fence. Any suggestions?

  10. Shannon Mock says:

    Dear Jennifer,
    While I believe that Swans would, indeed, rectify your predation issue with the raccoon, swans are also very territorial during mating season and would likely chase off the ducks and geese during that time. However, outside of mating season, a pair of swans would be ideal for this situation. Something that could be done to rectify the territorial issue would be to purchase a male/male or female/female pair, therefore reducing the chances of aggression during a mating season. I hope this helps! Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you can think of anything additional that we can help with. ~Shannon M

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