bird dna testing

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chXout® is a trusted, dedicated provider of a reliable and accurate bird DNA testing service. A valuable service for bird keepers, breeders and pet owners across the UK. A DNA test can determine if your bird is male or female at any age using an egg membrane, blood or feather sample.

Bird gender determination was the very first service to be offered by chXout® when our rural idyll fortuitously led us to the sexing of peregrine falcons in 2015. We are proud to have built up a database of bird species we have sexed. From Barn Owls to Hooded Vultures…Penguins to Blue & Gold Macaws. 

If your species is not on our database, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We will always do our utmost to help where possible. If you or someone you know has a known female of the species you are looking to sex, this is super helpful as we can test a sample from them free of charge as a control for the analysis. 


To find out more about the service we have put together a short video to explain more about the laboratory process for DNA bird sexing.

Bird DNA testing is a quick and reliable solution for determining whether a bird is male or female. The test is based on the amplification of W and Z chromosomes of the birds. Female birds carry one of each chromosome (ZW), while males carry two Z chromosomes (ZZ).

Upon analysis, the results present in the form of a graph. In the briefest of explanations, male birds typically present with a single peak and females present with two peaks (click on the birds below to take a look at their example profiles). Although, some species do have their quirks when it comes to the type of testing we use and the analysis of the data!


Knowing a bird’s sex can be important for breeding and health but also the management and conservation of avian wildlife. For a range of species and most hatchlings, gender determination from physical appearance is extremely difficult. Further benefits can include: 

  • Knowing the sex of a bird from a young age through testing of the egg shell membrane can be beneficial for understanding more about their health and behaviour and also for breeding purposes.
  • Preparation for behavioural traits or nutritional requirements that may be gender specific.
  • Preparation for the introduction of a mate or companion.
  • In addition to the above – even something as simple as choosing a name!

So why should you choose a DNA test?

  • A way of finding out the gender of those species that are monomorphic, meaning it is not possible to determine sex visually.
  • Bird DNA testing can be carried out at any age.
  • Bird DNA testing using egg shell membrane sampling is non-invasive.
  • The service is available year round (out of the main breeding season, there may be slight changes to extraction dates and turnaround times).
  • Birds do not need to be subject to any stress of transport.
  • A quick and simple process with results within two or three working days following the day of sample receipt (day 0).


We offer two turnaround options for DNA bird sexing:

A standard service with results due out to you within three working days priced at £22.00 per sample (incl. VAT). For those who may require their results a little quicker, we also offer a two working day turnaround, priced at £32.00 per sample (incl. VAT).

3 working days

£22 incl. VAT

2 working days

£32 incl. VAT

Results reports are sent via email as a PDF attachment as soon as they are available and payment is completed in full.

Please note: During bird season (April-July), the day the samples arrive at our laboratory is considered “day 0”

As an example, if we received samples on a Thursday for a 3 working day turnaround:

Bird Sexing

Outside of bird season (1 August to 1 April), the first step of bird DNA testing (DNA extraction) will take place on Tuesday every week, with results due on the following Friday. This will be at the regular service price of £22 (incl. VAT).


 Bird sexing is achieved through DNA analysis of the following suitable sample submission types:




For more information on suitable sample submissions types and their collection, please visit our bird DNA testing sample submissions page.


  1. Collect your sample using our sampling instructions at the top of the page.
  2. Ensure that your samples are sealed securely and labelled correctly.
  3. Complete the relevant forms for your service. If you could please email them to we will know to expect your sample(s) & it will help us to manage case loads in busy periods.
  4. Package your samples safely and include your client reference.
  5. Enclose your sample submission form if these have not already been emailed to us.
  6. Send your samples to us at: chXout®, The Durham Genome Centre, Park House, Station Road, Lanchester, DH7 0EX
  7. Your sample(s) will be checked and logged in upon receipt ready to be passed to the laboratory. If we note any anomalies we think you may need to be aware of prior to the start of processing we will contact you as to how you would like to proceed as soon as possible.
  8. A report will be emailed to you attached as a PDF document within your chosen turnaround time and as soon as the results are available.

Please ensure that the correct postage is used for the size of the letter or parcel to avoid any delays due to insufficient postage. Further information can be found via Royal Mail.


Our standard service is a 3 working day turnaround priced at £22 per sample (incl. VAT).

Our express service offers a 2 working day turnaround priced at £32 per sample (incl. VAT).

(Please note that the day the samples arrive at the laboratory is considered 'day 0')

Our preferred sample submission type is egg membrane. Understandably, this is not always an option so we do also accept:

• At least 6 (where possible) freshly plucked feathers (not cut)

• Blood samples on a cotton swab, in a test tube or syringe

If you do not feel comfortable or confident collecting feather of blood samples, you may wish to seek help from an experienced handler or veterinarian.

We tend to advise not to send mouth swabs as the results can be less reliable especially depending on the birds diet. We will consider this option as a last resort and it is best to please contact us to discuss first. Please see our sample submission page for further information.

If the sample has been taken incorrectly or mixed with another sample, this can lead to an inconclusive or false result for that bird. If you believe that a sample has been contaminated or mixed, please repeat the sampling process.

If we suspect that samples may have been cross contaminated whilst in transit to us, we will let you know as soon as possible with any relevant information for you to decide how you would like to proceed. If you have any questions regarding the sampling process, please see the information included with your sampling kit or our sample submission help page.

Your turnaround time will depend on your chosen service and/or chosen turnaround time.

During "bird season" (April-July), the day the samples arrive at the laboratory is considered 'day 0'. So as an example: if we received samples on a Thursday on a 3 working day turnaround, the results would be due out to you by the end of the following Tuesday.

Outside of bird season (1 August-1 April), DNA extraction will take place on the following Tuesday with results due on the Friday. This will be at the regular service price of £22 (incl. VAT).

Your results will be sent to you via email as a PDF attachment before 5pm on your due date.
If your results are ready early we will send them out to you as soon as they are available
Please note that during busy periods results may be sent after 5pm
Your result may be classed as indicative if we have only been able to achieve a weak DNA profile which does not pass our quality control.
Your result may also be classed as indicative if we have not processed a sample for your species before.
This is not a problem and we are always happy to test new species. If you have another bird of the same species which you know to be female, we would very much appreciate it if you could also send a sample from that bird as well for us to test free of charge as a control.

If you do not have a known female sample, we are happy to go ahead with the test without one. Please note that this may only achieve an indicative of male or female result if the test does not pass our quality control. It is possible that some more unusual new species could take longer than the turnaround time specified as some species can have little quirks and one process does not always work the same for all! We would of course let you know as soon as possible if a result is going to be delayed.
Yes we can provide a test certificate upon request at an additional charge to cover admin and postage. Please contact us at if this is something you would be interested in.

Please note that during our busy period (April-July) we may not be able to provide certificates until the busy period has ended or we may be able to advise of a certificate turnaround time upon request.
If your report result says "no profile" this means that unfortunately we were unable to recover a DNA profile from the sample. We will always attempt to achieve a result up to three times depending on the amount of viable sample remaining.

We will always advise in your email sample receipt if a sample is degraded i.e. wet, mouldy, powdery or smelly. This can sometimes mean that there is a lower chance of achieving a result. If you decide that you do not want to go ahead at this stage, please let us know as soon as possible.

There is still a charge for a "no profile" result as all of the process, if not up to three repeats of the process, will have been attempted to try to achieve a result.


The Times found our story interesting 

You can read all about it here: Paternity-test firm finds new prey in Gulf

The Times article snippet - Bird DNA testing