Knowing a bird’s sex can be important from a number of health, breeding, commercial and ecological perspectives. For example, having an indication of the bird’s sex can be important for veterinarian diagnosis of certain diseases, allow for more specialised sex-specific feeding plans to be used and to enable more reliable and successful commercial breeding and conservation activities.
eDNA Survey Seasons
Molecular DNA-based method to determine the sex of a bird from a feather or eggshell sample can be carried out all year round.
Feathers, egg shells or blood.
Non-harmful and non-invasive to the birds.
DNA Based Sexing
Our new bird sexing service has now launched after an extensive development and validation process. Send your freshly plucked feathers in today for a quick and reliable determination of the sex of any bird species.
Identifying a bird’s sex can be important from several health, breeding, commercial and ecological perspectives. Despite this, bird sexing can be notoriously difficult for inexperienced bird owners and breeders, often requiring the use of an expert and even then, the determination of the bird’s sex is not always straight forward or 100% accurate.
Our service uses reliable molecular DNA-based sexing methods which are fast, accurate and non-harmful to the bird. DNA based bird sexing is the least invasive method for bird sexing and is becoming much more popular among bird breeders and vets.
- Standard – 4 days – £17.00 ex. VAT
- Fast Track – 2 days – £27.00 ex. VAT
We can use both freshly plucked feathers and newly hatched eggshells to determine the sex of your bird. In order to maximise the amount of DNA within the samples please ensure:
3-6 freshly plucked feathers are collected (the viable DNA is within the quill). Moulted feathers do not contain enough DNA for a reliable analysis.
Avoid plucking small underwing feathers, blood feathers or flight feathers. For best results, it is best to pluck from the chest area.
For eggshell collection, the eggshell must be collected straight after hatching. The eggshell needs to be completely dry, so we recommend drying it in a warm, dry place for 24h before sending it to us.
Plucked feathers and eggshells should not be older than 5 days upon arrival to our lab for reliable analysis. Please post samples within 24 hours of collection where possible.
Our approach is a widely universal method for bird sexing and has been tested on over 53 species of birds including species of parrots, owls, pigeons, chickens, storks, woodpeckers and many more.
Before collecting a sample please download and print our sample collection form below.
Sending Your Samples
We recommend returning kits by courier with APC, they have depots across the UK and the most convenient drop-off spot may be found here. We also accept hand-delivered kits between 07.30 and 16.30 Monday to Friday, and by appointment 24/7.
Please send completed kits back to our laboratory at:
Church Lane, Morley
Bird Sexing FAQs
How do I send in samples?
You can send us feathers or egg membranes in clean zip lock bags and download a collection form on our website. Please make sure the collection bags are sterile and have not been used.
How do I collect a sample?
For feather analysis, we need 3-6 freshly plucked feathers. It is important that the feathers that you send for the analysis are freshly plucked and not moulted, this is to ensure there is enough DNA material for the analysis. Please refer to the collection form for further instructions on how to pluck the feathers. If you want to analyse eggshell, please make sure you collect it gently, freshly after hatching. The eggshell needs to be completely dry, therefore we recommend drying it in a warm, dry place for 24h prior to sending it to the analysis. With both feather and eggshell collection, please ensure that you wash your hands/change gloves in between different individuals to avoid cross-contamination.
How do I return my samples to the laboratory?
Please send completed kits back to our Laboratory by courier at:
SureScreen Scientifics Ltd, Morley Retreat, Church Lane, Morley, Derbyshire, DE7 6DE.
We also accept hand-delivered kits between 07.30 and 16.30 Monday to Friday, and by appointment 24/7. For a collection charge of £40 per batch, we can arrange sample collection from you with our preferred courier, APC. However, it may be logistically or financially beneficial to arrange the return courier service yourself.
How soon after taking a sample should I send it to the laboratory?
Once you have collected your samples, please send them as soon as possible. To ensure the most accurate results, samples cannot be older than 5 days from the point of collection upon arrival in our laboratory.
When can I expect my results?
Depending on the service you have chosen, we will send you results within 2 or 4 working days from receiving the sample.
Where can I find my results?
Once your results are available, they will be sent to the email address provided on the sample collection form before the deadline. If you have not received your results before this date, please make sure that you check your spam or junk email folder.
How accurate is the method?
This is a very accurate and reliable method. However, we cannot guarantee 100% success due to the variety in sample quality, which can impact sample extraction efficiency.
What species can you test for?
This method has been tested on over 52 species from main bird families including Hawks, falcons, owls and pheasants.