Given the surge in popularity of chickens as pets and backyard chicken breeding, probably not a day goes by when someone doesn’t inquire about the sex of young chicks on a Facebook page, such as “chickens chickens chickens.”
The same holds true for peafowl, which are notoriously hard to sex at a young age. “Peahen (female) or peacock (male)?” is a question posed over and over, as can be seen in the below screenshot from Facebook.
We have been in the same situation with both chicken and peafowl, and written about our peafowl on this site before, including about one we were convinced was a female for the first six months of its life until it became increasingly evident that she was a he.
We’ve also had a number of chicks hatch since we first started keeping chickens and simply had to wait with bated breath to see whether we would end up with an egg layer or a crower. The same holds true for the adopted about six “sexed” chickens, which were supposed to be all hens, from Tractor Supply we got a few years ago. Two turned out to be roosters. The roosters were lovely and friendly, but loud. If we had no neighbors, we absolutely would have kept them, but we had to find them a good home instead.
Fortunately, a company has recently announced that it is offering an Early Bird Sex Identification™ test that can determine the sex of young chickens and peacocks with a 99.9 percent accuracy rate.
We contacted the company to find out more.
“The best way for us to test the sex of chicks is with their egg shells,” related Griffin Shaffer, Laboratory Technician – Avian Dx.
Shaffer stated they also accept feather and blood samples; however, egg shells are faster as the bird must be 4 to 6 weeks old in order to obtain enough of the sample.
AvianDx’s EarlyBird Sex Identification test will determine the genetic sex of a bird within 10 days of receiving a feather, eggshell or blood sample. The cost of sex identification is $24 per bird.
The EarlyBird Sex Identification™ test can help with sexing other birds as well, which is likely good news for many caretakers of fowl because, according to AvianDx.com, there are more than 10,000 species throughout the world that are monomorphic, meaning that males cannot be distinguished from females based on physical characteristics.
AvianDx™ was launched by Genetic Veterinary Sciences Inc.®, the leader in canine genetic health, which has also created CatScan™, to join their Paw Print Genetics® and Canine HealthCheck® suite of animal genetic health testing services.
The CatScan is a genetic screen of more than 75 inherited diseases and traits commonly found in cats. Once purchased, customers can simply follow instructions on how to collect a DNA sample and send it to the CatScan laboratory with no veterinary visit required. This testing allows cat owners to gain an understanding of their cat’s genetic health and be proactive with preventative care.
“Paw Print Genetics is thrilled to now offer the highest quality diagnostic testing and carrier screening with world-class customer support to our feline and avian friends as well as our canine companions,” said Blake Ballif, Director of Operations at Genetic Veterinary Sciences, Inc. “Expanding into these markets has been a request of many of our canine customers and we look forward to helping people better understand the genetics of their cats and birds.”
Additional sources: Paw Print Genetics press release at PRNewswire.com,