Please follow the steps below to collect blood for an avian DNA test. When collecting blood, use
caution to avoid DNA sample cross-contamination and/or bird infection. Avoid touching the square
on the Avian Blood Sample Card where the blood is to be placed. If you are collecting samples from
more than one bird, you should sanitize the nail clippers with alcohol and wash your hands
thoroughly between each collection.
1. Clip Toenail to Obtain a Blood Sample
With the bird under control, examine the toenail to ensure it is clean. A swab of alcohol can be
used to clean the area, if necessary. Use a sanitized pair of nail clippers to clip the bird’s toenail just
enough to nick the vein (approximately 2/3 of the distance from the root of the nail) and produce
blood flow. See illustration.
2. Spot Blood on the Blood Card
Remove the first bead of blood with a swab or absorbent cotton ball and discard. Next, carefully
touch the Avian Blood Sample Card to the blood flow and absorb a few drops of blood onto the
card. If the blood flow is slow, gently squeeze on the toe with a pumping action. It is not necessary
to completely fill the square on the card with blood; just be sure to collect enough blood to be
visible (usually 2-3 drops of blood).
3. Allow the Blood Sample to Air Dry Completely for 2 - 3 Hours
Once the sample has been collected, set the Avian Blood Sample Card aside to air dry on a clean
surface. Check that the bird is no longer bleeding before returning it to its cage. To stop further
bleeding, apply a coagulant, such as Kwik Stop, to the area. Cornstarch, flour, or baking soda may
also be applied as alternatives.
Allow the card to air dry completely by leaving it at room temperature for 60-90 minutes. Once the card is completely dry, insert it into an envelope or small resealable plastic bag. Use one envelope or bag for each sample collected. Avoid touching the blood sample area while handling the card. Storage of blood cards in plastic, especially when cards are not completely dry, may lead to bacterial and fungal growth, which could render the sample unusable.
4. Mail sample with filled out paperwork to lab in enclosed envelope. Requires .85 cents postage from the US to Canada.