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City of Lakeland Swan Sale

The Lakeland Parks and Recreation Department hosted a Mute Swan sale in October of 2020. The swans have been well-maintained and have been cleared for sale by the City’s veterinarians of My Pets Animal Hospital, Dr. Erin Rothrock, DVM, and Dr. Price Dickson, DVM.

The swans were sold via a lottery that took place on Friday, October 16, 2020. Payments of $400 per swan were due by October 23, 2020, and swans were picked up in-person at Lake Morton on Thursday, October 29, 2020. 

Swan Sale Agreement (Updated October 13, 2020)
To be filled out and returned by those selected in the lottery.
Please save BEFORE completing, fill out, save and return.

Applications are now closed.

  • Swan Sale Date & Deadlines

    Important Dates:

    • October 15, 2020
      Interested parties must register for the lottery by 5 PM.

    • October 16, 2020
      Names are chosen from the swan lottery. Those whose names are chosen will be contacted and confirmed.

    • October 23, 2020
      Swan lottery winners must pay for their swan(s) by 12 PM or they will lose their spot. Signed agreements must also be submitted by 12 PM on 10/23.

    • October 29, 2020
      Swan pickup will start at 9:00 AM. All buyers must be present on-site or forfeit their spot. Buyers will be notified of the pickup location in advance.
  • Payment Info

    Price: $400 per swan (maximum two swans)

    Payment Method: Payments may be made by credit card. Must be received with signed Swan Sale Agreement by 12 PM on October 23rd. 

    Credit Cards: To make a credit card payment, call the Parks & Recreation Rental Office:
    Phone: 863.834.2280
    Email: Haley.Snider@LakelandGov.net

    Agreements shall be mailed or delivered via:


    Please save, fill out, and save Swan Sale Agreements again before attaching them.


    City of Lakeland
    Swan Sale - Parks & Recreation Department
    228 S Massachusetts Avenue
    Lakeland, FL 33801

    Must be received by 12 PM on October 23, 2020.

  • Swan Sale - Additional Info

    Swans sold two at a time will be sold first in male/female pairs (not guaranteed to be mating pairs). Single swans left after male/female pairs are sold will be sold last. 

  • About Mute Swans

    Of all water birds, swans are without a doubt the most decorative and interesting.  The raising on one’s property can be most rewarding and challenging.  To successfully raise swan, you need access to a body of protected water such as a pond, lake, or stream and an understanding of swan needs.  Swans are aquatic species; they live and breed on water.  It should be remembered that a Mute Swan, even semi-domesticated, is primarily a wild bird.  They may become friendly if well-treated, but they will never be docile like a goose or duck.

    City of Lakeland/Parks Division and other swan owners have used Williams Fence Company (Lakeland, FL) to build swan pens.


  • About Lakeland's Swans

    Early records of Swans in Lakeland date back to 1923 with swans living on the many lakes throughout Lakeland.  Considered the “People Pets” many of the local residents maintained the needs and whereabouts of the flock.  Over the years due to illness and alligators, the swans started to disappear.  In 1953 the swans were gone.  In 1957 with the help of local residents, asking Queen Elizabeth II of donating a pair of swans.  With the City of Lakeland and the help of an outsider’s donation, the process of receiving the swans from England was completed. 

    Today, Lakeland Parks and Recreation Department is staffed to take care of 80+ swans within the city on a daily basis.  This consists of a Yearly Round-up so each swan can be examined and recorded with microchipped and tracked for weight, any ailments, and help identify each family of swans.  There are 4 different species of swans in Lakeland, which consist of mute white swans, Australian black swans, Merle Swan, South American black neck swans, and coscorba swans from the Falkland Islands.

    The swans on sale are all mute white swans.

  • Distribution

    The Mute Swan is the royal swan of England and has been introduced to parks and lakes all over the world.  Although definitely a wild swan of Northern Europe, there are today a number of semi-wild flocks in North America.  Mute Swan is at home from Canada to Florida in North America.

  • Food

    The Mute Swan is a voracious vegetarian.  The birds will eat water surface scum and a majority of submerged aquatics.  Their physical activity on a body of water will help maintain a clean bank and their movement on the water keeps plants from establishing due to water agitation.  Swans that are kept on grounds that are highly maintained may have difficulty finding enough food.  If that is the case then supplemental feeding will be necessary.  A diet of cracked corn offered in a feeder placed over the water will meet the swan dietary needs for most of the year.  When swans begin nesting they will need a feed high in protein and calcium for breeding, egg laying, and raising young.

    City of Lakeland/Parks Division used 50/50 ratio mix of cracked corn and layena pellets purchased from Lays Feed Store approximately 4 times per week.

  • Longevity

    Records in England show longevity at 44 years.  In Central Florida, the oldest bird recorded by the City of Lakeland is 20 years old.

  • Predation & Problems

    The only predators of swans, for the most part, are large dogs and alligators.  Usually, a swan can fend off a single dog, but when approached by two or three they tend to lose confidence.  Swans are large birds that a small alligator may think twice about taking.  To a mature gator, a swan would make a nice meal.  Young cygnets are sometimes prey to snapping turtles and crows.  In Florida swan may sometimes have a problem with botulism during the hot summer months.

  • Nesting & Incubation

    Swans need certain basic requirements for nesting.  It has been found that swans like to nest on a site similar to the one from which they were hatched.  In other words, if they hatched out on an island, the (cobb) male who builds the nest will search for an island.  If the site had been onshore at the base of a tree, generally they will search out such a place.  They like as much privacy as possible and will often select out of the way places to nest.  The nest will be from one to two feet high and four to six feet across.  They will readily accept contributions of nesting material, especially when they nest on grounds that are highly maintained where green debris is not available. 

    Swans prefer nesting material composed of compost, reeds, cattails, sedges, and grasses.  Hay can substitute as a nesting material, but can be slippery to the birds.  Swans in Florida will begin nesting in late January, February, and March.  They usually lay an egg every other day until a completed clutch comprises from 3 to 8 eggs.  The incubation period is 40-45 days.  The downy cygnets weigh about one-half pound at hatching with proper feeding grow very rapidly reaching 15 pounds within three months.  At this time, they are feathered out and look like their parents except for their lighter bill color and grayish color around the head and neck region. 

    During times of nesting, especially in urban environments, swans should be penned.  Pens provide protection from the urban setting, dogs, humans, and such.  Pens also offer protection to curious humans that might be considered a threat to the nest and the pen (female) by the cobb.  Swans become very territorial, especially during mating and nesting season.  Pens should be large enough to accommodate an entire swan family.  A minimum of 300 sq. ft. should suffice.  Half of the pen should be on the lake bank and half of the pen should be in the water.  Be aware of changing water levels in the pen during the nesting season.

  • "Royal" or "Polish"

    The terms “Royal” and “Polish” are used with reference to the Mute Swan.  Royal Mutes, to the wildfowler, has meant those swan descended from the Queens’ Royal flock in England.  They are characterized by having a deep red bill and jet black feet.  Cygnets are a dusky gray when hatched.  Polish Mute Swans in contrast has a brighter orange bill and light buff-colored feet.  Their cygnets are nearly white when hatched, with a tingeing of buff.

  • How Lakeland's Swans Are Maintained

    The following information is how the City’s Parks and Recreation Department maintains the swans on a daily basis throughout the year:

    Feeding the Adult Swans:

    • Swans are fed 4 times a week – Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday
    • Feed consist of Cracked Corn and Layena Pellets mixed 50/50 ratio in a mixer.
    • Feed is stored in the Feed shed and put in buckets and hauled to the lake.
    • Feed is put in the Feeders throughout the lake areas.

    Feeding Baby Swans:

    • Baby swans are fed 7 days a week.
    • These baby swans maybe feed twice a day depending on the weather and how much they eat.
    • Feed consist of Starter Grow Non-Medicated Feed
    • Feeders are placed on the ground so the baby swans can reach them until grown.

    Gumball Machines for Public Access to Feed:

    • There are 5 Gumball Machines around Lake Morton that are filled with Feed
    • These machines are filled twice a week, or as needed throughout the year.
    • Cost $.25 cents per use for a handful of feed.
    • Coins are collected twice a month and turned into the Parks Admin Office at Tigertown.
    • Deposit is made and funds are put into Feed Account for additional feed.

    Swan Care:

    • Swans are checked once or twice daily
    • If eggs are present, more site visits will occur
    • Trash is checked daily for plastic bags, bottles, etc. left on the ground which could harm all the waterfowl at the lake.
    • It is highly recommended that no Bread Product is feed to the swans or thrown in the nesting areas of baby swans.

    Swan Round-up:

    • Done yearly in October, 3rd or 4th week,
    • On Tuesday & Wednesday or Wednesday & Thursday.
    • This allows us extra days if needed to follow with the Vet.
    • In early September arrangements are made with a local Veterinarian to confirm dates for Round-up.


    • Boats need to be checked out by Shop, and arrangements made to use Public Works Jon Boat 2-3 weeks out from the start date.

    Life Jackets checked

    • Nets – catching nets checked for holes
    • Cages – check bird cages for any damage and in working condition.
    • Holding Pens, checked and Feeders added as needed per pen.
    • Staffing – check within the Parks & Rec Department for additional staff to help during the event
    • Lunch – make arrangements for after event Lunch for staff and Veterinarian Crew with Local Vendor set date and time.

    Day 1: Catching Swans:

    • Starts at Day Light, Boats in the water ready to go.
    • Load birdcage in each boat
    • Load birdcage in each Toro Truckster (ATV used) – this is for the swans that are caught on Land.
    • Each Boat and ATV should have a net.
    • Aline staff around the Lake Shoreline, to prevent swans from going in the roadways.
    • Boats Idling speed will make two passes around Lake which helps to corral swans up.
    • Boats will split up and start catching swans one at a time and put in Holding Pens for the night.
    • Lake Mirror Swans (2 of them) need to be kept separate and returned to Lake Mirror after the checkup.
    • After all swans are caught, clean boats, bird cages, nets, return Public Works Boat
    • Food is loaded into Pen Feeders
    • All employees who are in contact with swans need to shower afterward.

    Day 2: Veterinarian Site Visit:

    • Double-check the Lake to make sure no swans got out or were missed during Day 1 round-up.
    • Set-up 2 – Tents provided by Parks and Recreation Department.
    • 4 – tables
    • 10 – chairs
    • The veterinarian will set-up and give directions on how they want to proceed with check-ups.
    • Holding Pens – we will have staff members in the holding pens to catch swans and pass on to Swan Holders
    • Swan Holders will sit and hold swan until ready for Vet. Need to have 4 or 5 ready at a time. Steady pace.
    • Swans are scanned 1st and weighed
    • The vet checks/examines each swan and document notes for each.
    • Every Swan is microchipped, tracked, and examined yearly.
    • Each Swan has its weight and any aliments noted
    • Vet and Parks employee document notes on each swan
    • Blood is drawn at random throughout the flock and tested for any abnormal conditions by Vet
    • Vaccines are given every other year or as needed by the vet.
    • Once Swan is checked out it is either released back into the Lake or put in a holding cage for further elevations/treatment if needed.
    • At the completion of all the Swans being checked Tent, tables, chairs are cleaned and put away.
    • All staff members need to shower and go to lunch (TBA)

    Swan After Hours Care:

    • Callouts – we receive calls from LPD, FD, Supervisors, Lake Division, and concerned citizens of Lakeland.
    • Response is mandatory for ALL City-owned Swans, no matter what time of day or night.
    • The city has sold swans over the years to private citizens, we Do Not maintain these swans.
    • Based on the urgency of the callout and the Swan condition.
    • Injured Swans are caught and put in birdcages.
    • If medical treatment is needed, the Vet’s Office is contacted (My Pets Animal Hospital)
    • Day time hours the Swan is transported to the Vet’s Office
    • Night/Afterhours – We text or call the Manager, who contacts the on-call vet and instruct us to meet them at the Vet’s Office
    • Based on the condition and severity of the Swan, it may be left at the Vet’s Office or placed in a holding pen at the Lake or Shop area.
    • Waterfowl such as Ducks, Geese or Birds are not responded to. 
    • At times LPD has requested us to come out and speak with concerned citizens if needed.
    • All Wild Waterfowl is referred to Florida Fish & Game or Animal Control as needed.

    Nesting Season:

    • Usually starts the beginning of November and runs through the 1st of May.
      • It is not uncommon to have one pop up at any time throughout the year.
    • Swans generally nest in the same spot every year.
      • Keep an eye on them and make sure they nest on Lake Morton side of Lake.
      • We lay some hay down for them to help make their nest.
      • We monitor the nest and document and track it daily until eggs are seen. Once eggs are seen we record the date
      • 40 days give or take until eggs start to hatch.
      • Rolled out eggs we will remove them from the nest area.
      • We then stake off the nest area with caution tape and signage.
      • A game camera is installed and checked weekly unless we suspect suspicious activity or receive a call on it.
      • The nest is maintained until Swans hatch or they abandon the nest.
    • Once the eggs hatched all the Cygnets are dry we remove them with parents to the Nursery are at Shop or a Locked pen around the Lake.
      • Make sure dates are recorded
      • At 2 weeks old the Cygnets are taken to the Vet’s to be pinioned, microchipped and lab work taken to determine the sex of each one.
      • They are then put in a pen until City Staff feels they are big enough to be out on the Lake, usually 3 -4 months old, each baby grows differently.
      • When it's time to release them, we scan the entire Family and record the breeding pair and how many baby cygnets they had.
      • The identity of each Swan is recorded:
        • Female Swan – Pen
        • Male Swan – Cob
        • Baby Swan - Cygnet
      • They are released together as a family.
    • Once nesting is complete, we remove the old hay, stakes, caution tape, and camera from the area. 

    Swan Talks:

    • Swan talks are done at the following locations throughout Lakeland
    • Schools, Nursing Homes, Day Cares, Churches, Retirement Homes
    • We take a live Swan to the Location
    • There is a 2-hour time limit on these talks.
    • We don’t want to keep the Swans out of the water for extended periods of time.
    • Most schools will combine classes to meet our demands on available time frames.
    • A Swan Story booklet is given to the school so they can make copies for the students.

    Lake Morton is a Bird Sanctuary:

    • To provide a source of enjoyment and beauty to the City residents and visitors of Lakeland.
    • No Fishing allowed
    • Signs posted
    • Resolution # 2042 with the Florida Game and Fresh Water Commission approval in 1976.