There is no doubt in the fact that swans are incredibly beautiful and enchanting creatures.
People like to import them from all over the world to add to their ponds and lakes.
This particular bird species is also a symbol of wealth and luxury because flying in one pair of swans can cost thousands of dollars!
So, the real question here is, why are swans so expensive?
Let’s take a closer look at the reasons why purchasing and breeding swans come with a hefty price tag.
Takes Time to Reach Breeding Age
One of the biggest reasons swans are expensive birds is that they take a lot of time to get to the breeding age.
Most birds begin breeding within twelve to fourteen months.
However, a swan is considered a yearling for at least three years of its birth.
This means that for more than thirty-six months, the swan cannot be used for breeding.
Once the swan has hit the three-year mark, you can expect it to mate and breed for a few years.
Apart from the breeding time, it isn’t easy to incubate swan eggs compared to other bird species.
Swan eggs need favorable conditions in order to incubate and hatch on time properly.
Other than this, swans only lay a handful of eggs at a time, reducing the breeder’s overall yield.
This directly affects the supply of these birds, making them expensive for the buyers proposing a demand.
Swans are seasonal breeders. This means that you cannot raise them all year round. Yet again, this is something that impacts the supply for this popular bird species.
The average life expectancy for a swan is not more than 35 years. Out of which, they only mate during their specific mating season.
Hence, the low supply of swans affects the cost.
Delicate Birds and Need Extra Care
Swans are delicate birds, especially when they’re young. Even though they love both cold and warm seasons, you still have to take proper care of them in nutrition and health.
Swan breeders spend at least three to four years taking good care of young swans, which costs a lot of money.
This is especially true when there is no breeding return until they reach maturity.
If you want to purchase a swan for yourself, it’s best to buy a baby swan as it is much cheaper than a full adult one.
Black swans are also less expensive than ornamental white swans.
Swans need proper nutritious food to stay healthy and breed. They need food that is high in protein, such as a high-quality 13%-20% protein pellet that most breeders use.
Protein pellet is a great diet for swans, but it isn’t enough. On top of the pellet, they need a lot of greens such as dark lettuce, spinach, celery, alfalfa, and other types of vegetables.
Besides greens, swans also like to have lentils, cracked corn, split peas, and brown rice.
They also prefer to forage for food in ponds such as algae, aquatic vegetation, larvae, small fish, and insects. On the land, you can find them foraging for stems, seeds, and leaves as well.
Their combined diet, especially the greens and protein pellets, can be expensive.
The amount increases further when the cost adds up with other things over time.
Since people and breeders spend so much on swans, they want to make sure that their investment stays where it’s supposed to stay.
Therefore, swans are put through a surgical procedure that clips off their wings.
This procedure is known as pinioning, which ensures that the swans do not fly away from the designated area.
Some people may argue that this is an unfair practice, but the swans do not feel a thing during the whole procedure.
Other than this, pinioning save the swans from getting lost or flying into a territory that may be harmful or fatal for them.
Import Fees & Shipping
If you decide to purchase a swan or a pair of swans, they will most likely be delivered to you through shipment cargo at your local airport.
Once you contact a breeder, they will provide you with an estimated arrival time and a flight reference number which you can later use to pick your birds.
This entire process is pretty costly especially depending on the weight of the birds you are ordering.
A typical swan crate is usually 3.5 ft long and 2 ft tall which will take significant luggage space in air cargo.
Other than the cost of shipping, you might have to pay other fees and taxes other than the actual cost of the swan itself.
All of these costs collectively can be pretty expensive, especially if you aren’t a professional breeder.
Extra Living Conditions
Compared to the living conditions you might have to provide other birds, swans can take it up a notch.
This means that you have to provide them with special equipment and land requirements for them to survive and stay healthy.
One of the items is a water bubbler. This is a piece of equipment that you have to purchase to keep the water from freezing.
If the water turns to ice in the winter months, it will be difficult for a swan to swim around.
In extreme climates, you will also have to provide them with shelter or some form of housing to protect themselves from the weather.
A pair of swans need a minimum 20 ft pond. It is not wise to purchase one singular swan because mating will not be an option. Since you have always to purchase a pair of swans, it can get even more expensive.
Other than a pond, you have to provide them shelter for the time that they spend on land.
A small house that is covered from at least three sides can do a fine job. However, the shelter should not be open from the north end.
Now, another issue regarding space is the fact that swans can get pretty territorial. This means that you cannot crowd a small pond with more than a pair of swans.
If your goal is to buy more, then the pond should be extended accordingly.
Swans tend to get aggressive over territory, so they may fight and injure themselves in the process.
Hence, it is best to provide them with the space they need to protect your investment.
Several states have regulated the buying and selling of swans, mostly because they are termed invasive species.
For example, you cannot ship White Mute Swans to Washington, New York, California, Oregon, Hawaii, and a few other states due to wildlife regulations.
This affects the supply of the bird, which increases the price significantly.
Breeders have to find alternative target markets for people who are willing to pay for the popular birds.
In some areas, swans have an exotic status. This status serves as an increase in price as well as an issue when it comes to buying and selling.
People and breeders need special permissions to keep exotic pets, especially if they are considered invasive according to wildlife regulations.
Local breeders are much more affordable than international ones because of obvious transportations costs and currency exchange rates in some cases.
You will have to provide your swans with at least 2-foot fencing to keep them safe.
The more swan shelters you have, the more you’ll have to be careful about protecting them from predators.
Depending on the area you live in, you’ll have to spend to seek protection from predators such as bobcats, coyotes, foxes, and even wild dogs.
You can either surround your property with a large fence or invest in strict animal control in the area. Either way, this won’t be cheap.
Popular Wealth Symbol
One cannot deny that some swans are a popular symbol of wealth and luxury.
It isn’t uncommon to find swans to be a part of high-end stage productions or extravagant parties that spare no expense.
Considering the demands of the wealthy, a price increase is inevitable.
The Bottom Line
To put it simply, swans are expensive birds because it takes a lot of effort to take care of them and ship them from one country to another.
Their mating season has a short span, while the time it takes yearlings to grow into breeders is pretty long.
It takes money and patience to breed swans while dealing with government regulations, shipping prices, and expensive food.
However, on the bright side, the swan breeding business can bring in a lot of money, especially if you have the space to breed more than two pairs.
And as for the high cost, what matters more is the fact that regardless of the expenses, swans still win the bird popularity contest.
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