Can You Keep A Swan As A Pet? Pros and Cons of Owning a Pet Swan


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For bird lovers like myself, it is normal for us to want to have some birds as a pet. The most common ones to have is a parrot, canary, parakeet, or other small beautiful birds. But what about something bigger? Some people have actually settled for peacocks, ducks, geese, egrets, and more. Thus, can you keep a Swan as a pet?

Yes, you can keep a swan as a pet. However, even though the birds are elegant, graceful, and beautiful, they are quite big and aggressive especially when they feel threatened or their territory is invaded. Moreover, you can not keep them in a small housing like other pets since they need a large place preferably with a water body. Swans are not pets like dogs or cats, they also require a lot of care.

However, some have made known their interest in having a swan as a pet, and arguments have been thrown around as to whether it’s possible or not. In this post, I will be showing you just what you need to know about the swans, if you can have them as pets and what you can actually expect from them.


Can Swans Be Kept As A Pet

Those swans you see on Instagram or in your neighborhood may look adorable and majestic, but you might not realize the commitment required to own a swan. Swans are not pets like dogs or cats–they require a lot of care and space.

You also can’t just keep a swan in an apartment. Swans need to be able to fly and their wings need to be clipped so they don’t fly away.

Many people buy baby swans from pet stores, but this can lead to animal abuse as well as overpopulation problems. If you still want a pet swan, read on to learn more about how much work is required to care for them (hint: they’re not at all like goldfish).

Swans are just like wild animals who love to roam free, fly wherever they want to at different seasons and live life as they want with their mates and cygnets.

So it may not be pleasant to get them away from their natural habitat just to keep them as pets for your own amusement. Yes, they are beautiful and fascinating birds, but they are best enjoyed from a distance.

Not to mention that they can get aggressive when they are with humans they perceive as threats. It’s best to skip the idea of a swan as a pet and adopt a homeless animal or other birds instead.

What Kind Of Bird Is The Swan?

A swan is a waterbird like all other birds. It possesses feathers, beaks, and can also lay eggs. It has certain behaviors and qualities that make it special and also set it apart from other birds.

Of these special qualities are the fact that it can dwell both on land and water, can fly and swim very well and also exhibit uncommon love and devotion to its mate. Swans reveal so much strength, balance, and charm.

The beauty of a swan is not only in its elegance but also in its expression of strength. It is used as a symbol of love and many people have used it to express their deep feelings. Its life has also been studied by many to see what humans can pick from them.

Why Can’t Swans Be Kept As Pets?

A pet is basically an animal or bird we keep for decoration and not necessarily for food or any other reason whatsoever.

To be able to justify whether the swan bird can be kept as a pet or not, we may also have to look critically at factors that make this choice either feasible or not, and why.

Swans are very beautiful and graceful birds, yes, and this unique quality leans favorably in their use as pets, however other factors must equally be given due consideration for a proper conclusion to be made with regards to their use as pets or not.

The following analyses may be found relevant for a correct decision in this matter and the need to make informed choices:

1. The Swan’s Habitat:

Swans are known as both aquatic and terrestrial birds.

On land, they live in marshes, swamps, wetlands, and grasses but in very close proximity to large water sources like ponds, streams, lakes, rivers, or streams.

Therefore, they are supposed to be placed in a large expanse of land with the right kind of vegetation (or supply of green), must be allowed to roam free, must be near a water body, and must be kept in pairs for conducive survival.

The provision of these conditions is certainly capital intensive and very demanding to start with. It is therefore easy to see why the birds are mostly found in affluent neighborhoods with lots of outdoor spaces like lawns and backyards.

2. The Swan’s Protection:

Swans forage for food on both land and water and this exposes them to many dangers from predators while they go about searching for food, especially on land.

This has the additional burden of ensuring their protection from such harm by erecting barriers (walls) or constant surveillance to prevent any of such harm from predators.

Erection of barriers (or fences) and regular surveillance to protect the birds may be exceptionally necessary where you keep other predatory pets like cats or dogs as well. These arrangements for physical protection add to the already identified financial burden in keeping them as pets.

3. Things Can Get Messy:

As swans source for food in the surrounding vegetation, they create a lot of litter from their excrement and also create bits of torn leaves where they lay their eggs.

Laying their eggs among these torn leaves and grasses can also invite snakes that feed on the eggs. This constitutes a danger we may want to avoid at all costs.

It is even recommended that lawns, gardens, or backyards should not be mowed or trimmed as much as possible to give the birds the best habitats to thrive. Uncut lawns may be unsightly and nasty to look at, but they are the best requirements for swans.

This is another price to pay for keeping them, not minding whether you are seen as dirty and careless or not, but be sure this will earn you rebuke for filth from neighbors and visitors alike.

4. The Swan’s feeding:

Swans feed on grasses, leaves, and other plant products in their habitats. However, swans can be fed bread and other scraps from our kitchens without incurring any additional cost in the process.

Sometimes, they can be fed from pelleted specialist waterbird foods available on Amazon or from the stores of poultry feeds which costs a lot. In addition to its exorbitant cost, this specialist food (though with very rich nutrient content), may not always be readily available, like in this pandemic for instance.

Not to mention that adult birds without adequate feeding would weigh less, have less feather cover, and pass on easily. Provision of all this (and constantly) requires a reliable source of funds In a nutshell, their feeding is also another factor worthy of serious consideration in keeping them as pets.

In the event of starvation, for whatever reasons, the implications for the birds are pretty obvious; they would become more vulnerable to all sorts of avian (bird) diseases, they will lay fewer and more brittle eggs, will hatch fewer cygnets (most of which will have stunted growth and may even pass on before maturity).

5. Their Mates:

You have to bear it in mind that swans mostly stay in pairs and so if you want a pet, you must get a male and a female swan.

If you pick just one, you will risk having a socially withdrawn swan who is most probably taken away from the mate and who can suffer heartbreak.

The same can even happen to the other swan wherever they are. And getting two swans can really tell on your pocket as you have got a lot to take care of since they may start having eggs before you know it.


So with all the above, it becomes obvious that the swan’s stay as pets comes at a great and considerable cost we may not be ready and willing to contend with.

Any would-be swan lover that plans to keep them as pets should do well to remember the demands of their feeding, protection, space and more before finally deciding if they want that.

5. Care and Space for Your Swan

The first thing to consider when thinking about owning a swan is the space it will need. Swans need a lot of room so they can fly and stretch their wings.

The average minimum space for one swan is six feet by eight feet, but it can grow as big as 20 feet by 40 feet.

There are many other factors to consider when caring for your swan. They need an outdoor enclosure that is at least four feet deep with water, which needs to be cleaned every two days.

Swans also require a lot of care from their owner and employees if they’re going to thrive in captivity. They have special dietary needs, must go through conditioning exercises, and require baths (every two weeks).

Owning a pet swan is apparently not all that it’s cracked up to be, but if you still want one, keep these things in mind before purchasing or adopting one.

The truth is that owning a swan is a lot of work. You need at least an acre of space and a pond large enough for your swan to grow and thrive. They also require quite a bit of food, so in addition to the cost of the bird itself, you need to be prepared with plenty of food costs.

If you aren’t prepared with all the time and money needed, it may be best not to buy one after all. Not only could caring for them end up being difficult and expensive, it could also be heartbreaking if your swan dies or flies away. Swans are wild animals–they don’t want to be trapped by humans.

What Are The Advantages Of Having Swans As Pets?

Most bird lovers would definitely love to keep swans as pets not just for their beauty and grace; but also because swans remind us of how good it is to show love and receive it equally in return from those we love. If you are probably wondering about the advantages of having a swan as a pet, here are some things you should have in mind:

  • Having a beautiful and elegant waterbird roaming your property can make one feel elated. People often want to keep a pet swan because the birds are so beautiful. They come in many different colors and have an elegant way of moving that makes them seem more like royalty than a common animal. But it takes lots of time, space and food to care for a swan properly.
  • At least one can boast of having a powerful bird in their possession when they have a swan as a pet.
  • There is also the fact that though pets are not kept for food or any other economic gain, sometimes the wedge (as a group of swans is called) may become so large for the owner. Due to improved feeding and well-being of a swan of such number, the owner may have to either give some out to higher institutions of learning, other swan lovers (that may want them as pets too), or even zoological gardens. This gesture will eventually free up space for more breeding and expansion as well as reduce the cost of maintaining the birds. And these institutions of higher learning can use the birds for special studies on the specie and how to improve their breeding, health and overall survival.
  • You will get to learn more about the life and characteristics of the waterbird.

Are There Any Disadvantages Of Having Swans As Pets?

Yes, there are quite a number of disadvantages of the swan being in your possession as a pet. Many factors make them ineligible as pets and they include:

  • Swans are not a quiet specie of birds as they are known to be very loud and noisy, especially during their breeding. Even the mute swans, as the name implies, ought to be quiet but in fact, they are the noisiest of the lot. This may constitute a sort of noise pollution in the environment which may imply health concerns among humans that can lead to medical complaints. After all, noise is established to be causative to many psychological and physical problems in humans like deafness, insomnia, or even tinnitus.
  • Swans are called battering species of birds as they are known to attack viciously other birds, humans, or anything that approaches them, especially during their breeding seasons or when protecting their young ones. Under these circumstances, they attack with their beaks or wings which may cause considerable harm, especially to children. This certainly counts against their adoption as pets unless we put the children in harm’s way. Though chances of grave injuries to adults in such attacks are quite reduced because they have softer and lighter bones than most other birds; it is still better to avoid them especially when they are prone to aggression.
  • Extra attention needs to be given to ensure swans are fully protected on your property. Protected from predatory animals and even other humans who may share in the same swan love as you.
  • It is not legal to hunt, capture or even keep wild swans as pets or anything for that matter. One may easily get entangled with the law here without even knowing how. Trust me, you do not want to get involved in that.
  • To keep a swan as a pet, you must keep it in pairs if you really want to see the social side of the swan. A completely lone swan never plays out well after a while.
  • The cost of feeding and taking care of swans is really on the high side. Not to mention that they need regular care so that they don’t fall sick or pass on and leave their mate behind. This is another problem you may not want to be faced with as it will make you regret your decision from the beginning.
    • The cost is a consideration when keeping a swan. If you buy a baby swan from a pet store, the people at the pet store will usually take care of clipping its wings and other initial expenses. However, if you adopt an adult swan, then these services will cost extra money on top of what you’re already paying for food and housing costs. And just like taking care of any animal, you’ll need veterinary care and medical treatment throughout the life of your pet swan.
  • There is also the issue of diseases and health challenges where the birds are affected. In such situations, experts may have to be consulted or even contracted to see to these challenges which are all very cost-intensive and so cannot be taken lightly.
  • Swans are known to migrate to very distant places across thousands of miles during their breeding seasons to seek for other nesting sites. After such flights and if they eventually find good nesting grounds, they settle down and bring forth young ones (cygnets). Keeping them as pets may pose the risk of losing them to seasonal migration when the time eventually comes. This is a very serious issue with regards to the use of swans as domestic pets. It simply implies that you may wake up one day and find out that almost all your level swans have flown elsewhere to breed. And if it happens that you cage them and they can’t fly, this can make them aggressive as they aren’t getting the freedom they desire.
  • Swans need room to fly–at least 6 feet by 12 feet (or about 1/4 acre). If you can’t provide this for your swan, then they won’t be able to live with you as pets. Swans also need to have their wings clipped so they don’t fly away–and if you don’t clip their wings, they may attack each other or other animals. Clipping their wings can be dangerous, too–if they aren’t handled correctly, the bird could break its wing or neck.

How to protect swans

What is it like to have a pet swan?

Some people who have successfully kept swans as pets have shared their experiences with having them. They pointed out that swans are quite aggressive and can even get territorial.

They can also attack someone once they perceive any threat. It is also noted that swans need to have a good environment with clean, clear water for them to comfortably live in.

As long as there is a constant supply of food and protection, and there is enough room for them to freely roam, you will definitely enjoy their short stay with you as pets before they fly off in their breeding season.

How to keep swans in your pond

There are many benefits to owning a swan in your garden pond. Swans control insects, help with water quality by feeding on aquatic plants, and provide a natural form of mosquito control.

However, as mentioned above, there is quite a lot of work involved with owning a swan.

Swans require large amounts of space.

They need at least three acres of open space for the adult birds. The space needs to be within 200 feet of water so the birds can feed and slop on the ground near the water’s edge. If you don’t have that much open space, you’ll need to provide them with access to natural water such as rivers or lakes.

If you want to keep swans in your pond, make sure they can fly. You’ll need to clip their wings so they cannot fly out of your yard or pond when they are mature adults (usually around five years old). If their wings are not clipped, they will try to fly away and could end up lost or injured.

You’ll also need to build a fence around your property so they don’t wander off into forbidden areas where they risk injury from predators like coyotes or dogs. Finally, if you decided that having a pet swan is right for you, note that it will take time before you see any positive effects–after all, this is not an instant gratification kind of pet


Can you keep a swan as a pet?

Sadly, no. Swans are wild animals and do not make good pets. They require more space than an average home or apartment, and they need to be able to fly (which requires their wings to be clipped).

Where can I find a baby swan?

You might find the occasional baby swan at your grocery store or pet store, but experts advise against buying one for several reasons. First of all, many of these baby swans come from an irresponsible breeder who is just trying to make money–so these babies often come from overpopulated parents. Secondly, it’s nearly impossible to know how old the baby is when you buy it; if they’re too young, they won’t survive in your care. Finally, even if you can provide the right care for your new pet bird and he survives, he will never be fully domesticated and will stay wild with a mind of its own. All in all, these are good reasons why most experts recommend against buying a pet swan.

Can you have a pet swan in the UK?

In the UK you can’t keep a swan as a pet. This is because of their protected status in the wild, which means they are not allowed to be domesticated or kept in captivity without approval from the Secretary of State. If you want to keep a swan, you will need to apply for an exemption.


Having weighed the pros and cons of having a swan as a pet, I can conclude that it’s really not worth it to have one as a pet even though we actually want to. The disadvantages far outweigh the advantages judging from the money involved, the risks that may translate into a huge loss and even the health concerns for them and those who may live close.

Even if we can guarantee that we can cover the costs involved in keeping them, we still stand the risk of losing all this in a blink as these birds may migrate without notice to another land for breeding.

But don’t forget, a wedge of swans squawking, feeding and basking in the sun or on the surface of the water is truly an amazing sight to behold. Best to leave them there for everyone to enjoy than taking them in and struggling with them. You can always go for a less demanding waterbird like ducks, geese etc.

What do you think?

9 thoughts on “Can You Keep A Swan As A Pet? Pros and Cons of Owning a Pet Swan”

  1. I could imagine swans getting quite aggressive and it would not be ideal to have them roaming around your back garden. Also I assume very few people could provide the ideal habitat for them.

  2. I have a friend that has swans which they mate every year. The life expectancy of the babies is about 4 months. They can be attacked by predators or the mother swan has been known to either step on the egg prior to being hatched or even after it’s been born. Well this year there were six eggs. One that hatched must have fallen over off the nest to like a 5” dip where it was upside down between the nest and the gate door and was injured just a little. It was being ignored by its parents. I decided to take it home and help it get better, vs being eaten by a predator seeing it was already rejected. The little guy did a complete turnaround and actually recognizes me as it’s mom. If I walk away it lets you know how healthy it’s lungs are and when I return she’s content. She also follows me wherever I go. She eats spinach, carrots. However the can eat cereal such as cornflakes or a bran cereal but has to be in water. She answers to her name and loves kisses and sleeping on my chest. Time will tell how she is when she’s older. I just found out that one of the other babies either wondered off or it was taken by possibly a raccoon. So now I’m feel better by taking her. Fortunately I have a enclosed dog run where I can put a pool in it. When I take her out of the water she’s loves being dryed off with a towel. If things continue how they are, she will be very much domesticated. Very content when being petted.

  3. There are few things as beautiful as a pair of mute swans . so elegant and beautiful and so lovely loyal to each other . I remember staying in a really nice hotel which had a pair of mute swans called Peaches and Cream and a pair of truly beautiful black Australian swans called Porgy and Bess.


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