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Discussion Starter #1
I got this cockatiel about 5 days ago, the breeder told me he/she was 9 weeks old but he seems to be losing a lot of feathers. I know its way too soon for his first molt if he really is 9 weeks. Can you tell from pictures if it's a baby? And any ideas on gender? I think it's a boy because he was singing a lot when I picked him out but that is another thing making me believe he is older, is it normal for a 9 week old to be singing?
 

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This cockatiel has the pearl mutation, and the majority of pearls are females because pearl is sex-linked and it's easier to get a girl than it is to get a boy. Females keep their markings for life, but males lose them at maturity and look like a normal grey. So if this bird is a male, you'll know it because he'll start losing his markings at the first molt.

Some boys will start singing at around 8 weeks but most wait until they're older. I've got some chicks right now who are about two months old and one has already started singing. Some birds have their first molt earlier than others, but doing it at 9 weeks would be REALLY early. Is it possible that your bird had a fright in the cage and knocked some feathers out while it was banging around?

You'll just have to wait and see what happens with the feathers. Very young males who accidentally lose some feathers will usually replace the missing feathers with feathers that still have baby markings, because their adult hormones haven't started to kick in yet. If they accidentally lose some feathers when they're a bit older and starting to feel their hormones, they'll replace them with adult feathers.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This cockatiel has the pearl mutation, and the majority of pearls are females because pearl is sex-linked and it's easier to get a girl than it is to get a boy. Females keep their markings for life, but males lose them at maturity and look like a normal grey. So if this bird is a male, you'll know it because he'll start losing his markings at the first molt.

Some boys will start singing at around 8 weeks but most wait until they're older. I've got some chicks right now who are about two months old and one has already started singing. Some birds have their first molt earlier than others, but doing it at 9 weeks would be REALLY early. Is it possible that your bird had a fright in the cage and knocked some feathers out while it was banging around?

You'll just have to wait and see what happens with the feathers. Very young males who accidentally lose some feathers will usually replace the missing feathers with feathers that still have baby markings, because their adult hormones haven't started to kick in yet. If they accidentally lose some feathers when they're a bit older and starting to feel their hormones, they'll replace them with adult feathers.
Would it help to sex if you knew the parents? The dad was grey and mum was a pearl.


To begin with I thought that he/she was losing feathers from thrashing around the cage from the stress of moving home, but now settled in and when I watch him/her preening and they're coming out naturally just as they would in a molt. However the feather loss does seem to be slowing but is still happening... I'd estimate 3-6 feathers a day now and they're from all over.

Its belly is quite a light grey, definitely lighter then the normal grey babies that I saw, so if it is a male and as you say his new feathers would come out as a normal grey, would they come out this darker shade?
 

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If the mother is pearl, then the baby can be either sex. Dad must be either split to pearl or visual pearl. Adult male pearls look like normal greys, so it can be hard to tell the difference.

It does sound like a molt is in progress. You'll just have to wait and see whether the pearls start to disappear. It's hard to say whether the belly color means anything. Some birds are a lighter grey than others, so it might just be a normal color variation. The wings look too dark to be cinnamon, but cinnamons do have darker color on the wings than on the belly, and pictures don't always give an accurate idea of the color.
 

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It's too soon to tell. BTW pearl hens usually have more yellow on their faces than regular hens, so some people think they have a male because the face is yellow. But it's normal for pearl girls to look like this.
 
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