How to Care for Baby Mynah Birds

By Carol Sarao

Mynah birds, relatives of the European starling, are native to Southeast Asia; some varieties, such as the crested mynah and the hill mynah, inhabit parts of the United States year-round. Baby mynah birds, like countless other types of birds, often are found fluttering on the ground. Fledglings, or young, feathered baby birds, often leave the nest as they are learning to fly; usually, both parents are watching nearby and are perfectly capable of feeding and caring for the baby on the ground. A featherless baby bird, sometimes called a "fallen pinkie," must be returned to the nest or placed in a basket tied to a branch if the nest can't be located; it is not true that parents will reject a baby because a human touched it. However, if a pinky or fledging is obviously orphaned--for example, you've seen its parents meet their demise--you can save its life by taking it to a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center for expert care. If that's not possible, there are techniques you can use to keep it alive.

Place a shoebox with airholes in it on top of a heating pad. Put a piece of soft cloth in the container, layer several paper towels on top of that, and place the baby on top. Use a thermometer set in the corner of the box to make sure the temperature does not get too hot. Baby mynahs 2 weeks of age or less need to be kept at a temperature of 92 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit; if over 2 weeks old, or a fledgling, maintain the temperature at 86 to 88 degrees.

Place the box and heating pad in a dark, quiet room. Continue to monitor the temperature in the box, moving slowly and calmly.

Soak mynah/softbill pellets until they are thoroughly soft and moistened, and use one end of a popsicle stick to dab bits of food into the baby's mouth. If you feel the bird is in danger of imminent starvation or dehydration, use canned dog food, canned cat food or baby food until you can get to the pet store. You can also make an alternative nutritious recipe by mashing up equal amounts of cooked brown rice, oatmeal formulated for babies, applesauce and boiled egg.

Make sure the bird has swallowed each bit before you attempt more. Do not give liquids--the bird can aspirate them--and there is enough liquid in the moistened food anyway. Don't force food, but don't stop until the baby indicates he's had enough; he will refuse to open his mouth, close his eyes and doze off.

Feed a pinky every 30 minutes from sunrise until about 10 p.m. The bird does not need to be fed during the night but should be fed promptly at dawn. If your baby bird has begun to fledge, he needs to be fed roughly every two hours.

Reduce hand feedings to every three hours when the bird reaches 3 weeks of age, and start offering bits of fruit. When feathers begin to appear, transfer the bird to a birdcage with perches appropriately sized for his feet.

Begin offering water in a bowl to your baby mynah when he reaches 6 weeks, as well as a bowl of moistened pellets for him to pick on.

Put a bowl of ordinary dry pellets in your mynah's cage by the time he is 8 weeks old. You should continue to hand-feed him as necessary, but he will begin to pick at the pellets out of curiosity and learn to eat by himself.

Place your mynah in a cage that is large enough to let him fly once he is eating on his own. The cage should be set outside in a location that is sheltered from predators. For information on how to release your mynah back into the wild, visit the Raising Orphaned Baby Wild Birds website listed in the Resources section.