The swan is a beautiful, slender animal. A category bird that many would like to have as a pet. However, swans are very delicate animals and taking care of them requires a lot of effort and money. You want to know how to take care of him?
- 1 Types of swans
- 2 Can you really have a pet swan?
- 3 How long does a swan usually live?
- 4 Are all swans the same?
- 5 What is the ideal habitat for swans?
- 6 Is it a migratory bird?
- 7 What is usually the character of a swan?
- 8 What do swans eat?
- 9 What does it take for a pair of swans to reproduce?
- 10 Is it possible for a swan to have diseases?
- 11 The swan and the human being
- 12 Is it an endangered species?
- 13 Anything else to know before you choose the swan as your pet?
Types of swans
Can you really have a pet swan?
It may seem a bit far-fetched at first, but the truth is that it is possible. In fact, in Europe, for example, the swan has been a domestic animal since the 13th century, attracting the attention of nobles for its great beauty. The English nobles were the ones who most wanted to keep this bird as a companion animal in their gardens.
Over the years the swan ceased to be an animal considered a symbol of social class and economic power, becoming fashionable again in recent years. This has led many to choose to keep this bird as a domestic bird.
However, not everyone decides to have a swan as a pet bird. A person looking for a swan as a pet should purchase it from a specialist breeder, in addition to having the appropriate territory for the bird. However, many times swans make their home in ponds or lagoons in a person’s garden.
If the case arises, the law establishes the obligation of the person to care for and protect the swans that carry out such an action, since they will have decided that this will be their new home, so they become indirect pets.
How long does a swan usually live?
Swans are a species of bird with a half-life expectancy. When they are at liberty, their life expectancy is rarely more than 10 years, among other reasons due to hunting and predators.
However, when they live in captivity, with proper care the average increases from 13 to 20 years, with very rare cases of some reaching the age of 25.
Are all swans the same?
There is a popular misconception that all swans are equal, and this is not true. There are more than a dozen species of swans in the world, each with their own unique characteristics.
It is true that swans are usually completely white, but there is also the black swan, whose plumage is completely dark, or the black-necked, which only has a dark neck area. There are also some species of swans that can be differentiated by the colour of their beaks.
What most species share is their size, as a swan is between 1 and 1.5 m long and usually weighs around 8-10 kg. In addition to not having sexual dimorphism in their plumage, so the system used to differentiate the male from the female is that this is less heavy and measures less.
Interestingly, there is a species of swan, called a swan-goose, which has not yet been decided whether it is a swan or a goose, although it is usually included in the category of the genus cygnus.
What is the ideal habitat for swans?
Unlike some waterfowl, such as some species of ducks, it is cruel and completely forbidden by law to have a swan in a flat or apartment. Everyone who wants to keep this animal as a pet needs:
- A good garden
- A pond of at least 100 square meters in case you are going to have a partner.
- A shelter to shelter in at night.
- A central islet, where they’ll probably lay their eggs.
- Have the banks of the pond well planted with swamp vegetables, with a landing area with mixed grass of ray-grass, poa and fescue.
Swans spend most of their lives in water, floating from one side to the other. In fact, many species of swans sleep in water. As a general rule, they only come out when they reproduce and to incubate the eggs, which are usually built on vegetation inside the water.
When you have swans and they come out of the water into the garden for a walk, it’s not uncommon to find that they find it a bit difficult to walk, as they are not very used to using their legs out of the water.
Is it a migratory bird?
Yes, most swan species are migratory birds that seek warmer climates during the winter months. That is why it is not unusual to see that in some parks and gardens these birds are left alone during the winter months.
That is why it is so important that if you want to keep this bird as a pet you have a shelter for them, well acclimatized to withstand the cold of the night. They’ll get used to it so they won’t have to leave.
What is usually the character of a swan?
As a rule, swans are very affectionate animals and are rarely aggressive towards humans. Within their environment they usually live in flocks, although depending on the species they may be more or less members.
However, when swans are in their breeding season it is advisable not to approach them. The male will especially become very violent for protecting his female and her offspring, so you have to be very careful.
It is a generally monogamous species, so once established the pair will last until one of the two dies. Once this happens, the swan will usually seek a new partner, although he or she may end up deciding to be alone for the rest of his or her life.
What do swans eat?
A swan’s diet is quite varied. It includes aquatic and prairie vegetables such as plankton, snails, small amphibians and other live prey such as some species of small fish.
As a general rule, those living in captivity are fed on bran enriched with fishmeal or crustacean meal, aquatic vegetables that they must have in the pond and small animals that they can catch. It is best to use rest periods, so that the pond can recover the submerged plants.
Watching them feed can be quite a spectacle, as is the case with flamingos. To get the food from the bottom of the pond, the swan stops on these, on the surface of the water, and begins to move its legs at high speed, but without moving from the site. This rapid movement of its legs causes the soil around the plants to separate until the roots have a weak grip. Then the animal submerges its head, taking advantage of its long neck and grabs the silver. They have a system very similar to that of flamingos and ducks to filter the water in their beaks, which means that they only end up eating the food they were looking for.
What does it take for a pair of swans to reproduce?
Nothing really needs to be done. If you have a pair of swans in the pond, don’t worry too much, they will reproduce themselves.
As a general rule, a pair reproduces with the arrival of northern spring. The nest is built on an islet in the pond or on the edge of the pond, over the vegetation, also taking advantage of some of the parents’ feathers.
Egg laying varies according to the species, but on average there are usually five or six eggs. The mother is in charge of the incubation process, while the father has the task of watching that no predators approach the nest, including the presence of humans.
After about 25 days, the chicks will finally hatch. As with ducks, two or three days after birth they start swimming with their mother in the pond. But they’re still too young to get their food, so parents are the ones who feed them. By two weeks of age, they are able to get their own food. But they won’t be able to fly at least until they’re three or four months old.
A very curious peculiarity after the reproduction and incubation of the eggs is that the swans, both male and female, lose part of their plumage in the process and make a molt for new feathers after a month.
Is it possible for a swan to have diseases?
Swans are not free from disease. However, few are known to be related to this species, as few are currently known to actually keep them as pets.
Most commonly, they are attacked by endoparasites, which ravage some swan populations. If a swan is attacked by one of these parasites, it needs immediate veterinary attention.
Another common thing is the breakage of a leg, especially by the movement they make when they want to get food, a wing or that they get hurt in the neck area when submerging it to try to get food.
The swan and the human being
The swan has always been a bird closely related to human beings. Although its domestication in Europe did not take place until the 13th century, in some eastern countries it has always been a companion bird in the great temples or castles of royalty.
But his relationship with humans is not only focused on being a domestic bird, but in popular culture is also very famous:
According to Greek mythology, the swan was a bird consecrated to Apollo, among other things considered to be the deity of music. The motive? It was believed that before dying a swan sang melodiously, before which Pythagoras said that this bird resembled a soul that never dies and that its singing before dying comes from the joy that it will experience because it will be freed from its mortal body.
They are also related to the goddess Venus in Roman mythology, for their wonderful whiteness. In some works of art the Venus float is pulled by Swans.
The commemorative Irish euro coin minted in 2004 showed a mute swan to commemorate the accession of the 10 new member states, while in Denmark, the mute swan has been considered the national bird since 1984, replacing the lark.
The greatest popularity of this bird came with the story of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling, in which he tells the story of a mute swan calf mistreated by the rest of his brothers for his different appearance.
Currently, the British monarchy retains the right to ownership of all unmarked wild swans in open waters. However, Queen Elizabeth II only exercises this property in some stretches of the Thames and its surrounding tributaries. This ownership is shared with the Winegrowers and Dyers, who were granted the Crown’s property rights in the 15th century.
In Boston’s public garden there are two swan specimens that were named Romeo and Juliet after the famous pair in Shakespeare’s play, although it was later found that they were both female. But they’ve already taken that name.
The popular work of The Swan Dance represents the great appreciation the author had for these birds, as at the end of the play both protagonists become swans.
Is it an endangered species?
It is difficult to determine whether the swan is currently threatened or whether it is a stable species. In some areas CITES has determined that it is threatened and has added it to the IUCN Red List.
It is a species that faces continuous dangers on a day-to-day basis, and not just because of the predators it may have. To begin with, there is copper and lead poisoning, both of which are very present in the products used for fishing and which contaminate the water on which the swans move afterward.
In some areas some species of swans have been forced to move elsewhere because most of their habitat has been destroyed or because lakes and ponds have been contaminated by waste disposal. And although they are now highly protected, poaching also remains one of their main threats.
Thus, its main threats could be summarized as follows:
- Oil pollution
- Copper and lead poisoning
- Motorboat and car crashes (this is less common)
- Hooks and fishing nylon
- Street animals such as dogs, cats and foxes
- Confrontations with other species over the territory
Anything else to know before you choose the swan as your pet?
Making the decision to have a swan as a pet is a serious one. You just have to ask yourself: Is it really the bird you want to keep as a domestic bird? But having a swan as a pet can be very good.
To begin with, if you have young children, it will help you understand better why you need to take care of nature and protect it by watching these birds. Interestingly, swans are usually very good with young children and often approach them.
With swans you can swim near them. But don’t do anything that might make them nervous, such as splashing or jumping into the water. All this bothers them very much and makes them very aggressive.
Remember that swans are a species that like to live in company. So if you’re going to have this house bird, make sure you get a partner. Thanks to this the swan will not feel lonely at all and will be very happy.
Spending the afternoon watching them swim from one side to the other can be very relaxing to forget about stress. You could get used to spending time each day with your swans feeding them with your hand and you could forget everything that has overwhelmed you during the day.