How to Care for a Myna Bird

By Valerie A. Modreski

Myna birds are not traditional pets, but mynah enthusiasts love them for their trainability, antics and amazing gift for mimicry. Mynas take well to captivity and, when cared for properly, have proved to be good pets. Make certain to acquire your myna from a reputable breeder.

Pet Characteristics

Mynas compose a genus of eight species that belong to the starling family and the passerine order of birds. The mynas most often kept as pets include the greater Indian Hill, the lesser Indian Hill and the Java Hill mynas. All three are good talkers, with the Java Hill louder and larger, at roughly 12 inches. Hand-raised babies make the best pets and have already been socialized. The coats on these birds are pitch black with an iridescent shine. Mynas' wings have a white spectrum; their beaks and feet are yellow. Patterns vary, but most mynas have yellow wattles below their eyes and at the nape of their necks.

House and Home

With crowlike appearances, mynas vary in length from 9 to 12 inches. Mynas spend a lot of time on the ground -- and their housing should accommodate this, with plenty of floor space and various tiers for hopping. Ideal myna bird cages are difficult to find -- many large bird cages designed for parrots are taller than they are wide; mynas' housing needs to be a minimal of 3 to 4 feet in width and at least 3 feet in depth and height. For exercise, perches should be plentiful, and solid rather than pliable. Common bird toys often bore mynas -- they prefer infant toys, such as pacifiers and teething rings, and various cat toys.

Feeding and Nutrition

Myna bird digestive tracts are short, which means they eat often and deliver frequent droppings. Mynas are soft-billed birds who need soft foods. Variety is essential with mynas -- their diets should include soft-billed pellet foods with 90 ppm iron content or less, along with fruits, vegetables and meat fare. Skin fruits and vegetables, and dice them into manageable pieces. Meaty fare can include insects such as waxworms, mealworms, crickets and other soft-bodied insects. Mynas are partial to figs, grapes, squash, sprouts, citrus, apples, bananas, broccoli, carrots and melon. Never feed avocado. Replenish water every day.

Myna Bird Health

Mynas are messy; their housing needs cleaning daily. They need baths that they can get into easily and splash around in vigorously. Since mynas are predisposed to liver problems, they should have regular veterinary checkups. Semi-annual visits to your avian veterinarian can take care of essential grooming and trimming of your mynas' beaks, nails and feathers. For resting and sleeping, they should have a nesting box, and their cage should be covered at night. Mynas take naps during the day and sleep through the night. Some pet owners opt to keep a pair, which should be a male and female. Mynas mate for life, and a pair typically produce two or three clutches a year. A healthy myna, with proper care, can live 15 to 25 years.