• Do I need to trim my bird's beak?

It is not recommended that you ever try to trim your bird's beak. Greys need their beaks to be sharp just to deal  with the range of foods they eat. The beak will only need to receive some attention if it is genuinely overgrown  and causing the bird some difficulty in eating. Even then, treatment should only be undertaken by a specialist avian vet who is experienced in the care of parrots.

• What should I do when I go on holiday?

If you have recently acquired a young bird, the bird will be very dependent on you, so you should simply not go away at all until the bird is more than a year old. To a very young bird, the sudden departure of the person to  whom it is bonded can be extremely stressful. Under such circumstances, the bird may start to pluck out its own  feathers. In the wild, a grey's parents would never desert the young bird and immature birds have no behavioural adaptation to cope with such a loss. With older birds, it is best to ensure they are used to the person who is going to care for them while you are away. The holiday carer should be familiar with the bird's needs and be able to  handle the bird in a similar way to you. Provided the holiday carer allows the bird out of the cage for several hours each day and the bird relates at least reasonably well to him or her, and that other aspects of its care (such as food and caging) remain the same, the bird should cope well with your temporary absence.

• Is it normal for greys to produce so much feather dust?

All grey parrots produce a lot of fine almost white powder from their feathers and this is quite normal. Most of it  comes from the break-up of soft down feathers on an area on the back, just above the tail. The bird often rubs its  head here before preening and this ensures the powder is spread throughout the rest of its feathers. This ensures that the bird's feathers are kept waterproof and in good condition. It is necessary to spray your bird - preferably every other day - with plain water from a plant sprayer kept specifically for this purpose. You can buy a sprayer from any garden centre; set the nozzle to produce a fine mist-like spray. Spray the bird in the morning so that it is dry before night time.

• Do I need to trim my bird's claws?

It is important to remember that greys need fairly sharp claws in order to grip smooth perches properly. When a bird has blunt claws, it s table to slip off some perches or even fall and zrash-land. So, in most cases, it is not  necessary to trim a bird's claws regularly, they will only need checking occasionally and trimming if really overgrown. In the wild, a grey's claws wear down and they are naturally kept at the right length. In captivity, since  the bird is much less active, some excessive growth may occur and cause the bird problems. You will then need to trim the claws, or have a bird vet trim them. Rather than using clippers for this, it is best to use a small file, a  nail-file or some fine abrasive material simply to file off any excess growth while a helper holds the bird carefully  wrapped in a towel. Alternatively, you can also use an abrasive perch in your bird's cage, so your bird's claws get some wear each time he uses this perch. However, parrots should not be required to use an abrasive perch for long periods as this can cause them some discomfort. So the perch should not be a favourite or top perch, but one lower down in the cage, perhaps beside a food or water pot.

Greys produce a waterproofing powder-down
from feathers on the lower back. By rubbing their
heads here, then preening elsewhere, they spread
this down throughout their feathers.
Spraying your grey with clean water every other
day will help to maintain good feather condition.


When claws do have to be trimmed, filing is
safer  than clipping, as there is little risk of
inadvertently causing a bleeding claw.


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