Avian DNA Sexing
Testing: 1 Bird sample
Timeframe: Within 5 working days of receipt of DNA samples at our office.
Is it a male or a female? Get a definitive answer to your question with our avian DNA sexing service.
Note: The avian test will not detect the sex of the bird in all known bird species. The following is a full list of bird species we can test. Please ensure to consult it before purchasing the test. Click here.
Thanks to our avian DNA sexing you can now determine with 100% accuracy the sex of a bird and have your results in just 5 working days from the moment we receive your samples. We can test feather samples and/or blood samples. Pricing starts from just €18 for testing 1 blood sample.
Birds often lack obvious physical characteristics that help distinguish their gender accurately. Even the most experienced veterinarians and bird breeders may find tricky establishing the- Pluck around 5 feathers from the chest or breast of the bird (do not collect naturally moulted or shed feathers as these will most likely produce no viable DNA when examined) gender of certain bird species with absolute certainty. Please click here to view the full list of birds we can test.
Collecting Samples: Feather Samples & Blood Samples
International Biosciences can test blood or feather samples. We strongly suggested you get an experience bird handler to collect your bird samples to avoid stressing the animal.
• Pluck around 5 feathers from the chest or breast of the bird (do not collect naturally moulted or shed feathers as these will most likely produce no viable DNA when examined
• Place feather samples in a clean, unused zip lock bag. Make sure to clearly label the bag and not to mix feather samples from different birds.
• Fill out the submission forms and send the samples for testing
Note: when collecting feathers, examine each one quickly to make sure that you have also plucked the feather tip (the white part of the feather attached to the skin).
Collecting a blood sample from a bird can be more challenging than a collecting feather samples. The samples can be collected by following the below procedure:
• Thoroughly wash your hands and also disinfect the bird’s nail (an alcohol wipe or surgical spirit can be used to do this)
• Using a clean, sanitised toe nail clipper, clip the birds nail. You need to ensure to clip at the right point – clipping too high might cause pain or discomfort. If no blood ensues, try squeezing the nail.
• Using what is known as a blood card, simply blot the blood drop onto it.
• Apply some blood clotting powder to the nail that has been clipped – this will help sanitize the area and stop any more blood drops forming.
• Allow the sample to dry and send to the laboratory.
Cost for Avian DNA Test
|1-4 samples||5 or more samples|
For any questions or queries about our bird sexing service, do not hesitate to contact us.
Science Behind the Test
Bird species have a chromosomal designation known as ZW chromosomes which share no genes with the X and Y chromosomes we find in mammals. Females carry the ZW chromosome pairs whilst males have the ZZ chromosome pairs. Unlike what happens in mammals, it is the female who determines the gender and not the male. By testing a bird’s DNA, we can confirm the sex by determining the chromosomes in the sample.
Is avian DNA testing required in dimorphic species?
Note that although many bird species do not have characteristics that help distinguish the sexes (such as size, colour of plumage, external appearance characteristics etc), other bird species have very physically distinct males and females. These differentiating characteristics, known as sexual dimorphism, are so obvious in some species that bird DNA testing will not be needed.
Are there any precautions or advice for the bird DNA test?
Although bird samples are easy to collect, we do suggest ensuring someone experienced does this. Birds can get very stressed by being handled and this can affect their health. Small birds such as budgies and canaries can experience such intense fear from being handled, that they may drop dead. A bird reaction to such situations is to peck or bite; depending on the specie, this can result in an injury to the person handling the bird, who might also release the bird as a reaction to the painful peck.