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Swans As Pets (What To Know)

by Lucy

Most of us know what goes into keeping a dog or a cat as a pet, and maybe even a little bit of information on keeping a parrot, but not much is known about keeping swans as pets!

The reason that there is not much known about keeping swans as pets is because they are not your average pet, and there is quite a bit of a debate on whether or not keeping a swan as a pet is the right thing to do.

So, what is there to know about keeping swans as pets? There is quite a bit to consider when thinking of keeping swans as pets. In some states, it is illegal to keep swans, whereas it is fine in others. You need to make sure that you have adequate space for swans to live, as well as a suitable body of water for them as well.

It is not such a great idea to keep swans in your backyard with other animals, and the conditions do need to be right for them in order to keep them as pets successfully.

Keep reading to find out more on keeping swans as pets, to make sure you know all you need to before deciding to bring a swan or two home.

Why You Should Consider Not Keeping Swans As Pets

Before we get stuck into what you need to know about keeping swans as pets, you should take a moment to consider the reasons why many people believe that they should not be kept as pets at all.

Swans are wild animals, and they do really well when left on their own in the wild. Swans are big birds, and they enjoy having space to roam and swim and don’t do well when confined in smaller environments.

Being wild animals, it is unfair to keep swans as pets if you don’t have the space, time, love, and effort needed to take care of them. Yes, some can be hatched in captivity and raised to be comfortable living as domesticated swans, but they do much better in the wild.

Swans love living in marshy or swampy areas, and it would be quite difficult to replicate this exact environment for them in a backyard unless you live in a similar area and own lots of land with a large pond or lake. Being kept in an environment that is too small for them can even hinder their development.

Keep in mind too that swans can grow to around 30 pounds and 1.5m tall, which is huge, much bigger than you might think, and this also means they eat a lot as well.

How Much Space Do Pet Swans Need?

Pet swans need just as much space as swans in the wild, but this is not always possible when they are kept in captivity. Swans need ample land to live on, as well as a body of water to swim in. Replicating their natural habitat in your home can be tough. 

First, you will need to start with a large piece of land. This land should be fenced in to keep the swans protected from predators and bad weather. Along with the land, there should be a large pond or equivalent body of water for them to spend their days in.

When the swans are first brought into your backyard, it can take quite some time for them to acclimatize. For this reason, you might need some additional protection to keep them from flying off.

For the body of water, it should be at least a ¼ acre pond and should be at least 2-3 feet deep. The land needs to be big enough for them to wander around and not feel constricted.

How big the land needs to be depends on how many swans you have as pets, but the bigger the land the better.

Keeping Swans Happy

If you do decide to keep swans as pets, you need to know how to keep them happy, and how to make sure the environment is suited for them.

You can follow the below tips as well in order to attract wild swans to your garden instead of buying swans, by creating the perfect home for them!

Grow Their Favorite Plants

Swans will need to be around natural food sources, and you can grow some of their favorite plants in your garden. Duckweed and pondweed can all be planted in aquatic areas, and in the right conditions, can grow beautifully.

You will need to check with local authorities that you are allowed to grow these plants in your garden.

Duckweed and pondweed do stop growing as well in winter, but in the warmer months, they can be a great food source for the swans, and can keep them coming back!

When the aquatic plants begin to dwindle in winter, swans will start eating wheatgrass, water plantain, cranberries, and tubers.

Build Islands

Swan islands are raised areas in a body of water, where swans stay in pairs. The island needs to be raised quite a bit out of the water for the swans to feel comfortable staying there. If they are happy with the island, the swans might even lay eggs and raise cygnets on this island.

The island should be more than 50 feet in circumference, as swans grow really large and need enough space to feel comfortable. Make sure the swan island is full of grass, plants, and twigs.

Ensure The Water Is Good Quality

The water you provide for your swans needs to be good quality, safe water. The better the water quality, the more the swans will want to stay in the pond and stay in your backyard.

Make sure that the water is free from pollution and that it does not become stagnant and too muddy or murky.

Make The Area Safe

The swans need to feel safe when kept in one area, and this means protecting them from natural predators and possible hunters.

Swans’ natural predators include foxes and minks, and cygnets can fall prey to crows, magpies, pike, herons, and large perch.

There is only so much you can do to protect your swans, but it is worth putting up a fence and even creating a little hut for them to find shelter in. Make sure that it is not in a hunting area as well, and that there is not too much human activity around the swans.

Are Swans Aggressive?

The one other issue with keeping swans as pets is that they can be aggressive, and you can’t really change their behavior unless they are hand-reared from cygnets.

Swans will become aggressive and attack humans if they feel threatened or if humans come too close to their nests or eggs. Being much bigger than the average bird, swans can also do more harm than a normal bird could.

Male and female swans form monogamous pairs and are usually not far from each other. During mating season, they might even become more aggressive. It is best to just leave them to be on their own and not try to get too close to them during this time.

How Long Can Swans Live?

Swans do live longer in captivity than they do in the wild. In the wild, swans can live for around 10 years or a little bit longer.

In captivity, swans can live to 30 years, which is a huge commitment to make. This is another reason why it is not recommended to keep swans as pets. If your swans do not fend for themselves and are used to living in captivity, it will not be easy for them to be released into the wild at a later stage.

Should You Keep A Pair Of Swans Or Just One?

It is best to have two swans as pets instead of one. They have been known to become lonely on their own, and this can make them act aggressively toward other animals and waterfowl around them.

It is preferable to keep a male and female swan as a pair, but then be prepared that they might mate and you might end up with some swan eggs!

Do Pet Swans Need Shelter?

You should provide pet swans with some type of shelter, such as a pen or a small hut that is large enough for them to fit into. This provides them protection and shelter at night and gives them a place to keep warm in the winter.

Keeping Swans As Pets

Swans can be kept as pets, but it isn’t always advised to do so. Swans do so much better in the wild and need ample space and water to survive and be happy.

If you do choose to keep swans as pets, make sure that you provide them with everything they need to feel comfortable in their environment, and offer them protection from any potential predators or bad weather.

Keeping swans as pets is a big responsibility, so make sure you are ready for the commitment!

Why is it so expensive to buy a swan?

Swans are expensive to buy because they take a long time to breed, and because they require special care. They need quite a bit of space to be happy, and they are restricted in many areas.

What should you not feed swans?

Do not feed swans any processed human food, such as cakes, cookies, and sugary food. Avoid feeding them any raw meat either.

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