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Hi :-D

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My name is Etienne and i'm new to this hobby :-D. 2 weeks ago we got a grey in our family. We still don't know the sex of the grey so last Friday we took it for DNA testing. Now we are awaiting results :-D. I was sold a bird that should have round about 9 months but apparently it has more years then that. Some people are telling me that it could have round about 1.5 - 2 years according to the color of his eyes. The Grey also has some stress apparently because it was picking its feathers. Another thing that the guy who sold me the grey told me that its molting after a year of age. Now the vet subscribed biotin half a tablet daily for 30 days. I'm attaching some pics of his eyes and his condition maybe you could help me determine his age and what i could do to help him. Also we were thinking to get him a companion because during the day my wife and myself wouldn't be at home and we don't want him to get board. Do you think that eventually they would breed?




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He/she looks to be more than 9 months old, closer to 2 years of age to me but the plucking could be from anything, he/she is in a new to him environment so give him some time to settle down and don't focus on the plucking as they pick up on our emotions.


About getting him a companion, forget that for they could never share the same cage, each grey has to have a separate cage they can call their own and forget about breeding them as pet greys do not make breeders. A pair of greys have to have privacy and the right conditions to mate, there is a lot more to the breeding thing than just putting them together.


Now if you want another bird then get another bird but not as just a companion for the one you have now, I have 3 birds, a grey, a sun conure and a cockatiel, they each have their own cage but are in the same room so they are company for each other.

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Hello Etienne. Welcome to Greyforums & Congratulations on your new fid!


Unfortunately for parronts, avian vet medicine is still pretty much in it's infancy. Sadly, one of the biggest proofs of this is in the challenge of birds who self mutilate. Because vets are still kind of bumping around in the dark, it's very important that a fid only be treated by a certified avian vet. And because a decent avian vet is so hard to come by, it's important that parronts do their homework about a vet's reputation & credentials as well as the treatments & diagnosis recommended for their fids.


No good vet should have problems w/being questioned or even challenged about their recommended treatments. And, imho, no parront should be afraid to leave any vet if they "don't feel right". A bird's metabolism is so "fragile" & they mask their symptoms to such a point that it's even more important than normal to get the correct diagnosis for any issue.


So as a start point, if you haven't already found it, here's some information about the Biotin your vet's prescribed for the feather picking.


Also known as Vitamin B7 and sometimes vitamin H, it is active in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and protein, and the formation of fatty acids. It promotes normal health of sweat glands, nerve tissue, bone marrow, blood cells, skin, and hair. It is essential for growth and well-being. Biotin is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin that helps the body make hormones and to break down protein and carbohydrates. Biotin is made by intestinal bacteria and parrot safe foods it is found in are yeast, soybeans, nuts, bananas, and watermelon. It is also found in raw egg yolks (not recommended for parrot diets since there is too much potential for salmonella) and grapefruit (too acidic to feed to parrots often.) The biotin in corn is readily available, which is not true of many grains. I have tried to research the difference between biotin and d-biotin and find the information too scientific for my understanding. The manufactured diets that list biotin, D-biotin, and biotin premix are Lafebers, Hagen Tropican, Nutriberries, Roudybush, Roudybush Careline Rice Diet, ZuPreem Natural, Brown’s Zoo Vital Daily Diet, Kaytee Organic, all Pretty Bird Foods, Abba 2500 Nuggets, Harrisons, Purina’s Mazuri Parrot Maintenance and Breeder’s Blend."




"Biotin - is widely distributed in foods in low concentrations. It may be absorbed from bacteria production in the large bowel. Biotin is stored in the liver but is slow to be mobilised if needed.


Mycotoxins / fungal toxins in the diet affect Biotin up-take.


Deficiencies are as per Pantothenic acid."


"Pantothenic Acid


Deficiencies produce:


dermatitis on the face and feet

decreased growth

decreased feathering



Cinnamon/Pied (h) & Whiteface-Pearl-Pied (h) & Young Wihteface © Cockatiels, Nymphicus hollandicus Photograph by & courtesy of Michael & Robyn Ashton, Brisbane


Cockatiels raised on a diet deficient in Pantothenic Acid failed to grow contour feathers on chest and back and died at 3 weeks of age."




I hope the vet explained that feather picking (or barbering) & plucking are not uncommon among companion parrots, particularly certain species. Greys being one of the higher risks. Sometimes a process of trial & error eventually corrects the underlying issue(s). But some fids can still continue long after there is no longer any other reason than it's become an ingrained habit. You need to make a decision now whether you can love a scruffy even semi-nude fid, if that's what yours is going to turn out to be.


Many of us have at least one. Mine is a seasonally hormonal Eclectus. W/w/o perfect plumage, she's my beautiful girl & I wouldn't give her up for anything. But I won't pretend that I wouldn't rather she stopped for her own sake. So, I keep trying to find the magic formula. "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing & expecting a different outcome" ...but damned if that isn't exactly how it works w/so many parrot behavior issues lots of times!


Here are a couple of threads that I hope might jump start your research. There are a lot of different suggestions here. There's also an honest dialogue in real time about the joys & frustration involved.






I'm also wondering if your fid's cage could have been at least part of the problem before now. If a parrot's cage is too small & lacking activity, they will turn to feather destruction out of boredom & the stress of being so confined. A grey who has several hours of freedom per day should have a cage w/a living space that's at *least* 32" L x 23" D x 36" H (recommend 3/4" bar spacing). 36" L x 24" D x 44+" H would be better.


It should also have many & varied types of branches, perches as well as toys which are rotated thru as frequently as the fid will allow. I'd recommend at least 3 "big" toys & however many smaller toys work w/the cage space. Activity takes precedence. A fid that lives in a cage stuffed w/fun things to get into is happiest.


Usually, the best parrot toy is the one that's going to be destroyed the quickest. These activity books will allow you to provide your new baby w/a whole bunch of customized fun for comparably little money. You might want to download & save these because they do tend to move to different websites semi-often.





Edited by birdhouse
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