Last week I told you all about our "problem" swan, Mr. Big. (If you missed the story, click here.) I received a lot of feedback from everyone. An overwhelming number of you told me in no uncertain terms that Mr. Big must go. Some of you were more vocal than others. This note was particularly emphatic:
Others held similar opinions, such as: "Pet or not, enjoy him next Thanksgiving or donate him to Purina for cat chow," "I vote for the swan fricassee" or "I wouldn't put up with the Evil Mr. Big for another minute!" Someone offered a more tolerant suggestion: "Maybe you could soak his corn in Prozac?"
Here's a message I found especially amusing:
Rest assured, we are not going to eat Mr. Big. I decided to pursue the idea of neutering him. I found a veterinarian who is well-known for his work with exotics. He said that the surgery is risky business and he recommended against it. He explained that Mr. Big's "swan-making equipment" is located way up inside him, close to the kidney and dangerously close to his main artery. The veterinarian told me he recently lost a peacock on the operating table during a similar neutering surgery.
Seeking a second opinion, I spoke with a zoo curator. He told me that after 30+ years in the zoo business, his experience has been that neutering will have no effect on aggressive behavior unless the swan is neutered as an infant. He said once the pattern has been set, it won't go away. The curator warned me, "When breeding season comes along next year, Mr. Big will be just as insufferable. Get rid of him now. For that matter, get rid of all of them!" He said he wouldn't tolerate for a minute what we've been putting up with for the past few months. He suggested I put an ad in our state's Farm Bulletin. He said, "Don't push your luck... advertise them free to a good home. Get rid of them as fast as you can!!" He also told me that most swans have difficult temperaments and the best swan species to keep as pets are Coscorobas and Black-necks, both of which are small and relatively docile.
Well, I decided to take the zoo curator's advice. I ordered a subscription
to the Farm Bulletin, which comes out twice a month. As soon as I
get a feel for the publication, I will run an ad and try to sell them to a breeder
who has plenty of experience with swans. I'll let you know
how things work out. Meanwhile, Mr. Big's attitude has not changed.
Right now I am gazing out the window of my studio to watch Mr. Big.
For the last half hour he's been chasing our tractor up and down the
pasture as my husband does the mowing. (If only he'd jump in front
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PO Box 50314, Columbia, SC 29250
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