In many bird species it is nearly impossible to determine the gender of one bird from the gender of another and while it may seem of little importance for many bird owners as to whether their feathered friend is male or female, it can actually be very useful information for the health and well-being of your bird. Female birds commonly lay eggs with or without the presence of a male bird. Egg laying can drain the female of vital nutrients and/or cause complications with the female becoming egg bound, a condition in which the egg(s) become trapped in the bird’s body. Both are considered to be serious conditions that can result in the death of the bird. While diets such as Harrison’s Bird Food (see our blog at: ) often suppress egg laying and provide high quality nutrition, the gender of your bird can still provide vital information for you as the owner. This information is also incredibly helpful to breeders and aviaries as it allows them to pair birds of opposite gender with the assurance that they are indeed male and female as well as being able to sex baby birds.
Bird gender or sex testing was previously performed by a veterinarian by placing the bird under general anesthesia and inserting an endoscope into the bird to examine internal sex organs. This not only determines the sex, but also allows the veterinarian to look at the over all health by examining the organs including the reproductive organs. Another way to test gender is through DNA testing. Testing is commonly achieved in one of two ways by laboratories specializing in DNA determination. Feathers or blood may be submitted for evaluation as both contain adequate DNA for sampling. In either case, owners may want to seek assistance from their veterinarian during the collection process in order to prevent injury to the bird. Birds are relatively small in size and blood loss can become a hazard to their health. Testing takes approximately 5-7 days to obtain results and is highly accurate at 99.9%.
Ask us at Animal Central for more information on Bird DNA Sex Testing or visit: http://www.easydna.ca/dnanews.php/what-you-need-to-know-about-bird-sexing-dna
Dr. George Stroberg, DVM and Staff