Home » Caring for Birdie » Why DNA test for Gender?

Why DNA test for Gender?

As is true with robins, some species of parrots are clearly recognizable as being male or female.

Of the four species I raise, the babies do not come with little signs around their necks, declaring “It’s a boy!” or “I’m a girl!”  Even as I breeder, I do not like to guess the gender of birds as I have been fooled before.  I once had a canary that sang all day.  I was shocked when “he” laid an egg!  Apparently, only the males sing… to advertise their territory and attract a mate.  Apparently, not so true!

I recommend having your bird tested to determine the gender, for several reasons.

The obvious reason is to select a name.  Folks are often surprised when Max or Titan or Bruno lays an egg at the age of two, by which time it’s confusing to the bird and the family to change the name.  Selecting a non-gender-specific name, such as Kiwi or Mango or Feather or Dusty is a “safe” option, if you don’t really mind which gender your new pet is going to be.

When hormones kick in, as the chick matures, it is very helpful to know whether you have a male or female.  As with human children, boys and girls are very different once they hit the ages of 12, 13, 14 and so on.  Sensitive issues arise and our expectations as parents, differ.  Similarly, female parrots exhibit behaviours related to breeding, even if she is “just” a pet.  You cannot argue with nature.  Males display certain behaviours, also.  Courting, territory, feeding, sounds, loyalty…. all vary depending on the gender of your pet.  Knowing the gender, and learning what to expect, helps you manage your way through hormonal behaviours with less stress on yourself and your bird.

As with humans, reproductive health is very different for females versus males.  If you already know the gender of your pet, it will help you anticipate illnesses to watch out for, such as egg-binding in females or cancer in males.  A swollen abdomen is a sign of trouble, and in an emergency it would save your veterinarian precious moments if the gender is known.  Treatment would be very different for a male versus female.

One of the reasons I breed the species I do is because I feel both genders are equally delightful pets.  It is also true that females can be good “talkers,” not only males.  So, does finding out the gender matter?  For plenty of reasons, it most certainly does!




Comments are closed.