Avian Testing FAQs | Animal Genetics

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Frequently Asked Questions (Avian)

What is DNA?

This acronym stands for Deoxyribo-Nucleic-Acid. It is a long, complex molecule carrying information in the form of a chemical code and dictates how the body and cells should form.

What is the average turnaround time for testing?

Approximately 1-2 business days.

How do I get my results?

Preliminary results can be faxed or emailed. Certificates are usually mailed the following business day.

Do you send certificates for all results?

We send certificates for bird sexing. For all other results, we send results in a list format.

My test result came back as "No Result" -- what does this mean?

There was not enough DNA available on the sample for testing. There is no cost to retest - just send a new sample and we will perform a new test at no additional charge.

How can I pay for my testing?

Payment can be made by credit card, PayPal (PayPal@animalgenetics.us), or electronic transfer. Payment may also be made by cheque to Animal Genetics.

Which credit cards do you accept?

All major credit cards including American Express, Visa and Mastercard.

Do you accept debit cards?

Yes, as long as the debit card is branded Visa or Mastercard.

Do you accept cheques?

Yes, but the checks must be in US dollars. Please make out the checks payable to Animal Genetics. You may also send a check through PayPal.

How do I get my account number?

Just give us a call or email us.

We provide two types of collection kits. How do I know which kit to order?

Please see the What Kit Should I Order page to determine which kit is need for each avian test.

Do I have to use your official collection kit?

No. For blood samples you can use a cotton swab/Q tip, coffee filter or piece of paper towel. For feather samples, you can use your own plastic bag.

How should I ship my samples?

Regular mail is fine. However, if you are working with a limited amount of time, please send them via overnight mail. Blood vials should be shipped in a padded envelope or box. Please make sure eggshells are completely dry before mailing.

I left my sample out in a hot car all day. Is my sample still good?

Possibly, however exposure to heat and sunlight can degrade DNA over time. It's best to store samples at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.

How much blood is needed?

Generally, 20-50ul (1 or 2 drops) of blood is sufficient for all of our DNA based tests.

Do I have to fill in the entire circle on the blood card?

No, we only need a blood drop about the size of a pencil eraser.

Can blood cards be submitted for disease testing?

Yes, but we prefer blood collection vials for disease testing rather than blood cards. Because of the extreme sensitivity of our disease testing, false positives may result from environmental contamination on the blood cards.

Which is more reliable, blood or feather testing?

DNA remains the same regardless of where it is extracted. Both tests are equally accurate.

How many feathers are needed for testing?

We recommend sending at least five (5) feathers plucked from the bird's chest.

Are freshly plucked feathers necessary for accurate results?

DNA takes an extremely long time to break down, however, testing is likely to be more successful if feathers are freshly plucked.

Can molted feathers be used?

NO! We do not recommend sending molted feathers simply because they tend to carry much less usable DNA, and we want to be certain that the feather is from the bird being tested.

Will feather sexing promote feather picking?

No. Feather picking is generally a neurotic disorder that is not started by plucking a few chest feathers from your bird.

Will the feathers grow back?

Yes. Feathers generally grow back in 4 to 6 weeks.

Does a bird have to be a certain age?

From birth to death, DNA remains the same across all species, so there is no age range for the most accurate results. However we normally suggest waiting until the bird is 4-6 weeks old because it can be hard to collect enough blood from a very young bird. For feather samples, you will need to wait until the bird has developed secondary or contour feathers - usually around 4-6 weeks of age.

Can you test all species of birds?

Not sure, but we have tested over 2000 different species including virtually all parrots and parakeets. Please go to Species List to see if your bird is listed.

I need to have my bird tested, but I don't know the species -- can you still do the test?

No, we need to know the species of the bird because we use species-specific primers in our tests.

I accidentally wrote the wrong bird species on the form. Will the test results still be accurate?

We use several different testing methods for avian sex determination. Which one we use depends on the species of bird being tested. Call us immediately so that we can make sure the results are still correct.

Can you tell if my bird is a hybrid?

No. There is no test currently available to determine if a bird is a hybrid.

Are you still Avian Biotech?

Yes, Avian Biotech is the avian division of Animal Genetics, Inc.

Do I make out my payment to Avian Biotech or Animal Genetics?

You can make payment to either Avian Biotech or Animal Genetics.

Why is my sample "On Hold"?

There is a problem with the payment for the sample. Please make a payment or contact us for assistance.

I can't get the submission form to print. What should I do?

Simply write the following: 1) your contact information, including your name, address, phone number and email address; 2) species of bird; 3) bird's ID; and 4) test requested on a piece of paper, and submit with your sample.