We get a lot of requests for adopting swans.  In addition to the rules for swans the general rules for adoption also apply.  Please read them here. We have a large waiting list for swan adoptions. The only way you can get on the waiting list is to complete the application and be approved for adopting. When we receive too many people on the waiting list we will no longer accept applications.

Where do we get swans from?

Some of our swans are born in captivity while some may be feral.  We keep them at the rescue until they are adapted to humans. Swans are never released back into the wild. Most if not all states have laws against swans being released into the wild.  Most states also restrict ownership or require a permit for ownership.

Swans are not lawn ornaments, they are living breathing animals that can be emotionally needy. We love watching them on a pond as well but we love it more when they have a home with someone who will respect them and provide all their needs. 

We do not place them on ponds where there is public access.  This includes neighborhoods, apartment complexes, RV parks, amusements parks etc.  We get many requests for these types of adoptions and they are rarely if ever done.


People bring us swans from other states because federal laws now restrict swan ownership in every state. In many states Wildlife Rescues can no longer accept swans and they are destroyed. Government employees kill mute swans that are found on public lands. Private ownership is allowed in NC as long as birds aren't allowed to breed or leave the property.

If you adopt swans from us, and you allow them to breed, you would be jeopardizing our ability to take in these birds. We will not adopt them to you if there is any indication they will used for breeding.

Many states now have a permit process that could be instituted in NC at any time. If this changes you will need to apply for the permit or your swans may be removed and turned back over to the recue.  You would have to apply to receive them back.  We will keep everyone updated as laws change via our mailing list.

Keeping Swans on your property

Swans typically stay where they are unless there is a lack of food or a predator issue. If you are providing them a food source and a safe home they will not leave. You are responsible for maintaining a safe home environment and for feeding them.  If you add additional swans the ones you have will leave.  Swans are territorial and aggressive and will not tolerate two nesting pairs at one location.


Please provide supplemental food year round. Swans will eat aquatic vegetation but this will not supply them with all of their nutritional needs since they cannot leave your property. In winter when the ground is frozen more food will be required, less when the spring bring lost of growth.

You can give foods like leafy greens, darker the greens the better (shredded lettuce, kale, spinach, etc.). Provide waterbird floating pellets, available at farm supply stores as a complete nutrition source. They should get all they will eat in one setting until they stop (then measure what they eat and use that) and they should do that twice a day. Once in the morning and once before they go to bed. Swans like to eat their food out of the water. 

Predator Protection

The best way to keep your swans safe is to have an island in the middle of your pond or lake for them to rest on. Click here for a website with information on how to build these islands.

If you are interested in applying to adopt swans please complete the application.