The loquacious Mynah bird

Birds Human Classroom

Mynah birds are a pet that despite being quite popular thanks to their ability to mimic and repeat sounds and words with great ease, they’re not usually a pet that’s suitable for all people or environments. While they may not be large, they are active and require adequate space to move around easily, as they love to hop around the cage. The care of birds, in general, is very different from that of more conventional pets such as dogs and cats, but, at the same time, Mynah birds have certain qualities that differentiate them from other species of popular pet birds such as parrots. Intelligent, extremely vocal, sociable, and very lively pets are the qualities you will get with a Mynah bird, but before adopting one you should know everything about caring for it and what you will have to deal with by owning this amazing feathered fellow. If you are interested in acquiring a Mynah bird I invite you to learn a little about this special species to help you make such an important decision for both your lives. 

HISTORY

The Mynah birds have been known for many years, so much that there are some places where they are included in legends and it is said that in ancient Greece they became pets of the aristocrats. They come from Africa, India, and Southeast Asia where they are usually quite loved and where they had a great performance working with farmers. Thanks to the fact that they are omnivorous birds, they used this particular species to control insects that affect crops and to protect them from weeds in general. Although they are widely known for their outgoing personality and great ability to “talk”, not all Mynah species have this quality so developed thus it will depend on the species you decide to adopt. Among the species most commonly seen in homes are the Mynah Hill and the Common Mynah. Among the Hill there are the Greater Indian Hill mynah, Lesser Indian Hill mynah, and Java Hill mynah, these are the ones that can speak, while the common Mynah is the species with a bad reputation being considered as a plague. Certainly, they were quite successful in dealing with pests in their home country but other countries seeing the potential of this bird decided to try their luck by taking Mynah birds to their lands. Not only did they take care of the harvests as well as help spread the seeds for the new crops, according to the stories, but instead of having dealt similarly with the pests in the locations to which they were exported, they became one themselves by damaging certain crops or having problems with other bird species by preventing them from approaching certain areas by having a territorial behavior.

DESCRIPTION

Both the color and size of a Mynah bird will depend on the species and its age. When they are young their plumage does not have such vivid colors or have certain aspects as pronounced as the adults, as well as the differences between a male and a female practically do not exist during this stage of their life. On average, when they reach maturity between 2 and 3 years of age, they reach a size of 12 to 18 inches, weigh 5 to 8 ounces, and have an average life span of 12 to 15 years. The Hill Mynah and the common Mynah share a dark plumage with a yellowish beak and legs, besides having white spots in the tip of the feathers, the difference between them is that one has a brightness between red and orange, and the other is brown respectively. The Bali Mynah is a species that differs in the coloration of its plumage for being white with the tip of the wings tainted with black and in the eyes, they have a blue coloration that together with the tones of black, they are parts of the body that stand out for the coloration of its body in general. All have a plumage around the neck that appears to be a beard, which varies according to species, sex, and age. Although these small differences exist, it is a difficult task to get to differentiate the male from the female, removing the fact that at some point one will lay eggs, to determine this a blood test should be done in case you want to determine this aspect.

CARE & MANAGEMENT

The Mynah birds may have an excellent reputation as excellent sound reproducers and for spending so much time in the homes of families, but many people get carried away by this facet that could be said to be superficial. There are other aspects especially in terms of handling and care that can be reason enough to take away your desire to adopt a bird of this species. They are very sociable birds that require great dedication and time, not as much as a Cockatoo but surely you must have the ability and willingness to provide the time they require daily. It is something that influences their personality and ability to learn both words and sounds. However, it is something that you must take into account from the beginning, that is, from the moment you adopt your Mynah bird.

  • ADOPTING: Something you will see in an article about pets is that they will recommend you to adopt them in a pet center or place that is recognized and for good reasons. Mynah birds are no exception, just like other birds, they are best raised by people who have experience and know what they are doing. Being their breeders they should logically be aware of this, but sadly not everyone follows these guidelines that will help you and make a big difference during the early stages of your bird’s life as your pet.

In addition to a reputable breeder or pet store, some centers take care of those pets that have been abandoned. But, it will be a similar case if you adopt a pet bird that is adult, wild or raised by its parents, it will be a problem for you as an owner to make its training more enjoyable and as smooth as possible. The best option and what I recommend is that you adopt a bird that has been hand-raised because this way your bird will already be used to contact and closeness with a person, which will make it feel more comfortable with your presence. You must work on this from an early age, go little by little so that your new pet bird does not get scared by everything you will be teaching it or that it is such an abrupt process. Introduce new people, both young and old, the more variety the better, as well as the pets so that you Mynah will become familiar with each one of them, as well as new spaces or places that he could visit with you. The more comfortable and happy your pet is, the easier everything about his training will be, as I mentioned. This way you won’t have any problems when you take her for a check-up with her avian vet doctor or on a family outing, so she can get used to the car and all the traffic noises, which she understands are not things that can hurt her. It’s up to you to make sure that your Mynah doesn’t have any traumatic experiences and can have a full and healthy life with your family. In case you adopt an adult bird, the problem is that they already come with a mentality or things they have learned from their former owners that may not go with your family’s lifestyle so it will be a slower process for them to learn and get used to their new environment.

  • CAGING: The size of your Mynah’s cage should be large enough to allow it space where it can move freely without any problems. There are some cases where birds can be ok in a space that allows them to open their wings completely without any problem, but such a limited space is not suitable for such an active bird. If you buy a similar cage (a relatively small one) you should ensure that you can provide a considerable amount of time for it to remain outside the cage or have a larger cage so that it can perform all its activities without any problem.

In these cases, the best option would be an aviary. They usually have enough space for a bird to move freely and they also have accessories and toys that help them to entertain themselves and keep their intelligence in optimal conditions through games that stimulate their brain. In case you have them free inside the house, there are a variety of things that you must take into account for the well-being of everyone in the house as well as the location of the cage itself. To know in detail about this I invite you to read my article on the care and management of pet birds where you will find all the basic and general information you need to know to be able to introduce yourself in this wonderful world of birds. In case you still have doubts, it is best to consult with your avian veterinarian before making any changes in the life or care of your Mynah, since each species has its special care, you must know your pet in depth.

  • MANAGING: Now comes the interesting part. As we all know, Mynah birds are intelligent, sociable, active, and energetic, but we haven’t yet touched on the dark side of what it means to live with this species of pet bird. 

Let’s start with something basic, such as their ability to speak and mimic sounds. It may well be a feature that can entertain you and your family but if handled badly it could end up in the opposite, even bothering sensitive neighbors. First, you should inform your neighbors that you will be bringing home an unconventional and exotic pet since people tend to associate birds with noisy and scandalous beings, which could well be the case with your Mynah bird if you do not train and control it from an early age to avoid this type of problem and that your experience as a bird owner is not a catastrophe. Its intelligence and ability to record sounds is a double-edged sword, just as it can learn a song or phrase to your liking, or it can learn the tone of the phone or reproduce sounds similar to a scream in case it becomes a hostile environment in the home. These birds love to bathe, which is excellent since some pets do not share this. The problem is that Mynah birds are very energetic, so anything that excites them will make them a bit of a nuisance. Bathing is something you must do regularly but you must be aware that the area you decide to use for this purpose will become a splash zone. 

They are not only disastrous with this, they are also disastrous with eating and bowel movements, so you will have a tedious and laborious job to keep the cage and home in optimal condition. Thanks to their diet and short intestinal tract they tend to evacuate quite frequently, but that’s not the whole problem as such, besides giving them food so many times a day your pet bird will evacuate a similar amount. The thing is that there are times when their bowel movements are usually a projectile, so you should know your pet’s habits as well as possible to avoid any problems in this type of situation.

DIET & NUTRITION

The nutritional issue is something of paramount importance and you should not neglect at all this aspect that will determine much of the quality of life of your pet bird. Many people think they can solve this problem or think they are too smart to feed their pet birds a seed-based diet. The problem does not lie in the seeds themselves, some certainly have their nutritional contributions but are not enough to cover all the requirements of a bird, even more so when the birds tend to suffer from various diseases related to deficits or excesses of vitamins and minerals. In the case of the Mynah birds, you must know that their diets are usually based on moist food, fresh food in its great majority in addition to insects, amphibians, small snakes, even baby rodents and birds, which together with their mess it creates a perfect environment for the growth of mold so you must maintain good hygiene of everything.

A very important fact is that in the wild, Mynah birds do not eat seeds like other bird species, but this does not rule out pelleted food at all. Look for a food that is recommended by your veterinarian to ensure the well-being of your bird. These high-quality foods should make up 75% to 80% of your bird’s diet, leaving room for other types of foods to help keep their menu varied and your bird entertained by their food. Something I have already mentioned is the short intestinal tract of the Mynah bird, so it will demand food very often and you must understand that the color of its stools will depend on the food you give it. Although you should be vigilant about the coloring of its stools for any changes that might indicate discomfort or illness, you should first check the food you are feeding your bird that may well reflect that “sudden” change. Water is as vital to your pets as a human being, so keep a clean bowl of potable water available for your bird at all times. 

HEALTH CONCERNS

Like any pet, your Mynah bird will require frequent visits to the vet to maintain its health in an optimal state. One of the most recommended things is that as soon as you adopt your Mynah, you take her to a vet as soon as possible to start a health program. Not only will he/she check your bird for any pathology or change that could affect its health, but he/she will also groom your bird by cutting its claws and beak, as well as its wings if necessary. Something you should be careful about when feeding your Mynah is about pathology that they usually suffer due to bad care of their owners as it is the Hemochromatosis or iron storage disease. Another disease that these birds usually suffer from is some related to their liver, but this aspect is something the vet will take care of during their check-ups by carrying out tests that will help determine your Mynah’s health condition. 

CLOSING THOUGHTS 

To be able to take care of a pet it is not enough to follow the professionals’ instructions, but you must also have common sense regarding its care that could well avoid unnecessary visits to the vet, waiting for the next visit to consult the doubts you have or calling or stopping by to clear up everything that is going on in your mind is what will make the difference. A pet is a responsibility to which not all people are prepared and many times they end up causing problems to this type of wonderful birds that are the Mynah species when they are given proper care in conjunction with the dedication and time they deserve and will demand from you as their owner. 

They are excellent eloquent pets for those owners who know how to handle them and have experience. Their intelligence and popularity rank them as one of the best in their group, falling below the African Grey Parrot, which besides being a highly intelligent bird, is not made for any owner since even those with experience can have problems with this type of bird. That is why you must study the situation in general and look for those species that best fit the lifestyle of your home. 

I hope this guide to Mynah birds has been useful to you. In case you have any doubts or feel that I have left something out please let me know in the comment section down below. 

Professor Whiskers
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