How can we identify our pet birds in a way that does not create a medical situation, is unique, easy to administer, and that can be registered with a international company?
Answer: The AVID Microchip system which was created by an avian veterinarian to solve this problem.
Other forms of identification, mainly leg bands or tattooing, have been used for identification for many years. Unfortunately these forms of identification have many disadvantages. First is the fact that bands can get caught on toys, cages, cage covers, etc. The bird then panics and usually fractures its leg or worse, in cases where the owners are not home, dies from shock or bleeding. Second, over time the band pounding against the bird's digital flexor tendons can lead to chronic tendonitis and possible loss of flexor function. Third, The BIRD Clinic has seen toes getting caught in the band opening with subsequent injuries. Fourth, many birds object to a foreign object on their leg which can lead to chewing on it and can even lead to behavioral problems. Fifth, over time the numbers on bands tend to wear off which makes their identification usage worthless. And finally sixth, if a pet bird is stolen, the first process a thief undertakes is removal of the leg band or any superficial form of identification.
Tattoos are permanent, in most cases, but are not unique or able to be registered. This was originally used to identify the sex of birds once determined surgically or by blood DNA. Females were tattooed in the LEFT wing web and males were tattooed in the RIGHT wing web.
The microchip is a piece of silicon programmed with a specific and unique 12 digit alphanumeric code surrounded by a copper coil. There is no power in the chip and so there is no risk to the animal. The chip is incased in glass and coated with medical silicone to decrease the risk of migration once implanted in the animal. The tiny implant is injected into the bird's chest musculature with a special sterile needle system when the bird is fully awake.
The number on the microchip is read by a reader that emits an electronic signal that energizes the coil and then transmits the unique code back to the reader's display. If implanted properly by a trained professional, each microchip is safe, unique, able to registered, cannot be removed without major surgical intervention, and permanent. The BIRD Clinic has been installing microchips in birds for over 15 years with no side effects or problems to date.