Can We Eat Swans? Are They Good For Eating?


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Swans, as we all know, are large water birds that are beautiful and strong. They are found in few places around the world and have become a sight people love to stand and watch. There are lots of amazing things about the swans and of course, they symbolize a lot which people love to relate with. Swans are known for traits like love, loyalty, grace, strength and more. They are simply cool birds and many people are left wondering if we can actually eat swans or if they are even good for eating. If you are one of them, no worries! In this post, I will answer the questions and more!


Can We Eat Swans?

Yes, we can eat Swans and they even taste good. It is totally safe to eat and even easy to prepare, just like the goose. However, Swans reproduce quite slowly and so if everyone were allowed to eat them, there’s a possibility that they might become extinct in no time. For this reason, some countries have stopped the hunting and eating of Swans.

It’s also well known that there was a tendency to reserve large wild birds like swans for royalty (especially places like Europe) hence, people are advised to go for other waterfowl apart from the Swans.

Is It Legal To Eat Swans?

It is legal to eat swans in some places, while in other places, it is not allowed. In some countries like the US, hunters with a swan tag to hunt certain swan species (except the trumpeters), can hunt and eat Swans legally. And in some places like England, the swans belong to the Queen and no one is allowed to eat them.

So, this all goes down to which region you are and if there are laws that ban the eating of swans there or not. If you are new to a place and you find Swans there, try to find out from the residents if it is legal to hunt and eat Swans there. No matter how tempting they may appear, you don’t want to get yourself into trouble.

Some Countries That Permit Hunting Swans

You need to know that Swans are not really everywhere in the world; even in those few places that you can find them, you may not have the liberty to hunt them at will. There are some countries where the Swans are living which do not allow the hunting or eating of Swans. You need to know which laws the country you are in may have on the Swans. You do not want to get into trouble anywhere.

Here are some known countries that permit, or do not permit the hunting of Swans:

  • In New Zealand for instance, it is legal to shoot 1 swan per day in most parts of the country. You can do this during duck hunting season which is between May and August each year. The swans and geese are known to be game birds and they can be hunted within a limit during this time.
  • For the USA, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act helped curb hunting that is not legal. There is a carefully managed hunting of some migratory birds which is allowed under regulations. In the states where the Swans are hunted, they are treated as trophy birds. To be able to hunt them, you will need a hunting tag. These hunting permits are distributed by lottery and the limit is one per season. This has helped control the hunting
  • In Iceland, all wild birds are protected under the Icelandic Act. Though some people still go ahead to hunt these Swans down from pictures or videos that have been going around the net; they are still protected and open hunting of these birds can lead one into trouble.
  • For those in the UK, the swans are actually the property of the Queen and so hunting Swans may be unlawful. Sometimes hunting a swan can be classed as criminal damage as they are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.


  • If Swans are legal or illegal to hunt in your region, do let us know in the comment section below.

There are more states that accept or do not accept hunting of Swans. Before deciding to hunt a Swan to eat, try to check with local authorities before blowing out anything. You really do not want to get into trouble over meat you can easily try the alternatives. You can use a duck or goose as alternative waterfowl meat if you have anything you need the Swan meat for.

What Would Happen If We Hunt And Eat Swans?

It is becoming common to see that the things that we may enjoy actually have some downsides. About hunting and eating Swans, not everything about it is positive. There are actually many wrongs that come with hunting and eating the Swans. Here are some reasons why you should consider not hunting or eating the Swan:

  • Hunting Swans can endanger other waterfowls. The Swan is actually the largest waterbird and for this reason, it has been like the specie that comes in front when predators come to attack them.  Swans are known to be protective and if we go around hunting them and taking them away from the lake, we are exposing the other waterfowls to more danger. And of course, we all love to have ourselves some duck or goose meat.
  • Swans could be hunted into extinction if all those who want to have a taste of it take to hunting it.
  • We can endanger the species. Swans truly do not reproduce fast and hunting and eating them can endanger the species as we will have fewer and fewer Swans out there each passing day.
  • A good number of people who have succeeded in getting and cooking the Swan have agreed that the Swan really does not taste as good as the other waterfowl like goose or ducks. Some say that it has a fishy taste and the hunt was like a waste for them.
  • Hunting the Swan feels like a waste of beauty as these graceful birds are regal and beautiful such that people take out time to visit the Swan lake just to gaze at them.
What Does The Swan Taste Like?

People have mixed feelings about how the swan tastes. Some say it tastes really great while others say that they can actually try something better as the Swan does not taste like meat they love. Swans sure have a very gamey and succulent taste. But generally, domesticated swans that are always fed usual pelleted specialist waterbirds foods actually taste a lot better. The meat of the swan can be tough but preparing it right can get it tender and tastier.

How To Cook A Swan By Yourself

Like many others, I am really not up for hunting and eating Swans and my reasons are based around the wrongs that are mentioned above. Swans are not cut out for eating but if you want to enjoy one and get the experience, then that’s is fine. Well, as long as it is legal to eat Swans in your state.

So, if in your region you are allowed to hunt for swans either with a permit or not, then you can go ahead and prepare a good Swan recipe for yourself. On the other hand, you can simply order a swan online. You will get a live, flapping and kinda annoyed Swan, lol. Or you can as well order a frozen, dressed swan.

With that said, here are some of the best ways to enjoy Swan meat:

  • In a hamburger
  • Smoked
  • Baked
  • Roasted
  • Fried
  1. Preparing Baked Swan Meat:

Bake Swan meat is a bit common more than the other methods of preparing swan meat. To bake a Swan is quite easy. All you need to do is to:

  • Scald it and take out the bones.
  • Parboil it and then season it very well with pepper, salt and ginger.
  • Lard it and put it in a deep coffin of rye paste with butter.
  • Close it and bake it very well.
  • When it is baked, fill up the vent-hole with melted butter
  • Keep it aside for when you would serve.
  • You can serve it just as you do your beef-pie.
  1. Preparing Roasted Swan Meat:

Roast Swan meat is another common recipe which is also easy to prepare. To prepare this:

  • Pluck the Swan like a chicken or goose.
  • Scald or boil the meat to get it a bit tender.
  • Split and skewer in four places.
  • Roast it with all its feet and beak and also leave the head unplucked.
  • Keep roasting it till it is properly done.
  • Once done, dress it the way you want. You can also eat with yellow pepper if you wish.


  1. For Meat Burgers:

Using Swan meat to make burgers has been a trend in some places. This may not be all that simple but it can be a great meal once you are done. All you need is 1 swan breast, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, sage, bread crumbs, pepper, egg, burger buns, lettuce, tomato, pickle, mayo and fruit chutney (or peach or apple).

To prepare it, you need to get the patty ready first:

  • Mince or chop the breast of the Swan and add Worcestershire sauce and pepper before mixing.
  • Try to check the consistency of the meat by stirring it to ensure it sticks together. If it doesn’t, you may add an egg and a handful of bread crumbs to help the patties stick together cooking.
  • Divide into 4 even-sized portions and form into balls using your palms before squashing the meat into patties.
  • Cover and refrigerate it for at least half an hour to stop the patties from breaking up during cooking.
  • While the patties are in the fridge, you can prepare the buns, tomatoes etc just like the regular hamburger bun you know.
  • Cook the patties till they are well done, then assemble the burgers.
  • Serve them with lettuce, tomato, pickle and chutney.
  1. Preparing Smoked Swan Meat:

Smoking a Swan will actually keep the meat more tender and juicy. To prepare smoked Swan:

  • Pat the skin of the Swan completely dry after scalding and washing it.
  • Fill the cavity of the Swan with orange halves.
  • Place the Swan directly on the smoker and close the lid
  • Go ahead and smoke it for about 2 and a half or 3 hours, or until the internal temperature of the Swan ( breast and thigh each) reaches a minimum of 165-170degrees F.
  • Making a basting liquid from fat or juices and baste the Swan with the basting liquid after it comes out of the smoker.
  • Once it is well-cooked, get it out and serve it with any dish you have on the menu. This is a delight!
  1. Preparing Fried Swan Meat:

Swan meat is very lean and the best part you will enjoy frying is the breast. Once you have the breast out:

  • Bone out the breast meat and get the tenderest parts out.
  • Marinate these in the spices of your choice.
  • Shallow fry them in oil till they are well-cooked.
  • Try not to overcook it so that it doesn’t turn out dry.
  • Once done, get them out and serve with your favourite dish.

If you want a quick video to see an easy way to skin, dress and cook a Swan in a short time, check out this video on How To Clean And Cook A Swan


Swans are not really raised for consumption. They are slow to grow, they don’t lay a lot of eggs and of course, they are even too big to fit in a lot of domestic ovens. If it’s possible, it is best to not hunt and eat the Swan, especially for their rarity and beauty. But if you want to enjoy the Swan taste experience and it is allowed to be hunted in your region, I guess you can go get yourself a good Swan and prepare it using any of the methods shared here.

What do you think?

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