Objective—To evaluate flow cytometric analysis for
sex identification in 3 psittacine species, establish reference
values for blood cell DNA content for each
species, and determine effects of sample storage on
Animals—36 orange-winged Amazon parrots, 41
budgerigars, and 39 cockatiels.
Procedure—Blood samples were stained and analyzed
by use of flow cytometry to measure cellular
DNA content. Samples were analyzed immediately
after collection and after being stored at 4 C for 48
and 72 hours.
Results—Mean DNA content (picograms per cell)
was 3.248 for Amazon parrots, 2.702 for budgerigars,
and 2.946 for cockatiels; DNA concentrations in samples
analyzed immediately overlapped in a male and a
female Amazon parrot and among 19 cockatiels. For
budgerigars, DNA overlap between sexes was not
detected in samples analyzed immediately or after
storage for 72 hours. Sex was identified correctly in
94.4% of Amazon parrots, 100% of budgerigars, and
51.3% of cockatiels. For both sexes, DNA content in
samples analyzed immediately was significantly different
from that of stored samples.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Flow cytometric
analysis was accurate for sex identification of
Amazon parrots and budgerigars. Sample storage at 4
C for 48 or 72 hours caused variability in DNA content.
(Am J Vet Res 2000;61:847–850)
The USDA considers game bird species to include grouse, guineafowl, partridges, pigeons (squabs), quail, pheasants, ducks, geese, and wild turkey. According to USDA regulations, although these game bird species may not be hunted in the wild for the purpose of being sold for human consumption, they may be sold for food when raised in captivity.1
In the United States, over 8 billion chickens and 220 million domestic turkeys are sold for human food consumption on an annual basis.2 In comparison, 37 million quail, 4 million chukars, 10 million pheasants, and 1 million mallard ducks are reportedly sold