In a way, it would make sense that the macaw and claw, being epic items, also would be epic when included in your pet menagerie. But on the other hand, there are lots of companion pets which are flagged as one quality, that changes quality when added in your menagerie as a battle pet. Also, I'd think it would be more "fair" if no players got to start out with epic pets; people should start out from scratch aquiring them.
To avoid the horrible grind, feeling the need to do tedious work to restock your menagerie with epic pets, I don't really like the idea of being able to catch an epic quality pet in the wild which would be even harder to get than the rare quality pet.
This also includes other tedious grinds, such as the darkmoon faire tickets, ironpaw tokens etc. I don't want to have such an option to upgrade my pets!
Sure, Blizz might add some epic quality pets which are epic quality only, but then players might feel that those pets would be mandatory. I'd rather see players being able to choose which pets to upgrade first. That would ensure diversity instead of everyone using the one or two epic pets being available (even though combinations of certain pets and skillsets probably would be more powerful than one epic pet with sub-par skillset).
What I think is needed is to make upgrading pets a part of the pet battling themselves, sort of like the daily quests or rewards from completing pet battles. Blizz should remove the stone upgrading a pet to uncommon quality. They should also remove the stones upgrading a pet to rare quality from pet battles and daily bags, and replace them with epic quality stones. Few would be interested in still upgrading pets to rare quality when you still "need" to upgrade the pets to epic quality.
One solution could be like this:
1) Doing pet daily quests awards a bag and 1 pet token. The bag can drop an epic quality family specific stone. As an alternative, the bag could drop such a stone, and will always contain 1-3 pet tokens. Do NOT make happy pet snacks, pet grooming kits etc. into currency, as people would hate having used them or destroyed them instead of keeping them in stock in case they turned them into currency.
2) Remove the rare non-family specific stone that has a very low droprate from wild pet battles, and replace it with an epic counterpart.
3) Have Audrey Burnhep and her horde counterpart, alternatively a new NPC in the Vale in Pandaria, sell epic pet stones of a certain family type. Those stones could cost perhaps 25 pet tokens.
That way, you could get stones to choose a pet to upgrade by doing dailies. In addition, instead of that RNG madness where you never get the specific family stone you need, you would be able to farm up tokens to buy the stone you need from time to time - but not TOO often (you do those dailies anyway, so it's just a bonus instead of a tedious darkmoon faire-grind).
That grind would be more rewarding, even if having several options to get tokens to buy epic stones would have speeded things up. I for one would sort of feel an "obligation" to farm the dailies (which starts to count up to quite a lot of time invested every evening, especially with the new legendary pet battles), as well as farming ironpaw tokens, darkmoon faire tickets etc etc to upgrade my pets to epic quality as fast as possible. Even though my suggestion above would mean it takes a longer time to upgrade all of your pets, I don't want to have all those options to farm currency. It would burn out the fun and make me quit wow after just a couple of weeks. And don't' tell me it is "optional" and that I "don't have to do those quests"; you all know that you are going to feel that you "have to" do them all.