Sure, having a dog or a cat for a pet can bring you so much joy. They can communicate with you by barking, or meowing when you're overdue in taking them for a walk or filling their food bowl. But one of the appeals of a mynah bird is that they make amazing pets that can learn to talk to you!
A mynah bird is an exotic pet that is a member of the starling family. Their name can be spelled in a few different ways, including myna bird. You might even see people spell it as mina bird or maina bird (English name), although that is uncommon. These birds are also called common mynahs or Indian mynahs, because they are native to India, Africa, and Southeast Asia. There is an Australian bird called a miner bird, but that is not the same as the Indian mynah bird that people keep as pets.
General care for a mynah bird
A mynah bird is about 12 inches long. The Regal Pet website says they are extremely intelligent and easily trainable birds who enjoy human interaction. A large cage outfitted with several perches set at varying heights is recommended for mynahs who love to hop around and jump from perch to perch. Regal Pet recommends a cage size for one mynah bird to be 4 feet wide, 2 feet high, and about 2 feet deep. Providing a nest box to sleep in can also keep your myna bird pet happy.
Some birds enjoy having bird toys such as rope, but the mynah bird is not one of them. Place their cage in a draft-free area, and let them out to fly around occasionally. When you do this, make sure all the doors and windows are closed and there are no other potential dangers such as dogs or cats who may attack them, or rotating ceiling fans that they may fly into.
Feeding a mynah bird
PetsWorld says that mynah birds are omnivorous. This means they eat a plant-based diet, such as seeds and fruit, along with insects or other small animals like mice. Ideally, you will feed your myna bird pet a mix with 18 percent protein, 8 percent fat, and a low percentage of iron to help counteract a disease caused by malabsorption of iron.
Fruits are a large part of the mynah bird diet. Try cut-up banana, apple, date, orange, pineapple, pear, plum, and watermelon. Because they like insects, you can also provide mealworms, crickets, or waxworms. If feeding vegetables or fruit, make sure that everything is cut into bite-sized pieces as mynahs don't chew their food.
Pellets, a good mainstay diet for mynahs, are concentrated forms of the correct mix of nutrients that different types of birds need. Pellets are convenient because they provide the right nutritional mix and they are not messy. Of course, fresh, preferably distilled water should be available at all times from a clean bowl.
Bathing a mynah bird
A mynah bird likes to take baths and needs a bird bath, which can be a bowl or dish that is large enough for them to splash around in a couple of inches of warm water.
Drs. Foster and Smith say that most birds enjoy bathing, and in the wild, they will bathe themselves quite often. When birds are kept in cages, they need baths to help maintain their plumage by removing dust, dander, loose feathers, and insect pests, while also providing moisture. Air conditioning and heating in modern homes can dry out a bird's skin.
You can mist your mynah with a spray bottle. Resist the temptation to put your bird under the shower. The temperature can be too much for your bird, and the spray of water can become too strong. While your mynah bird will shake to dry herself, she may also appreciate being gently wrapped in a towel.
Training a mynah bird
One of the joys of keeping a myna bird pet is that they can learn up to 100 words! The Hartz Mountain website says the key to teaching your bird to talk is repetition and patience. Choose the word or phrase you want him to learn and clearly say the word, repeating it over and over again.
The way you do this can also reinforce the actions you want to train your bird to take. For instance, say the name of the food several times before you give it to him. If he takes an object from your hands, say the name of the object several times both before and after he takes it. When your bird says or does what you want him to do, consistently follow up with words of praise and a treat.
But be careful what you say around your mynah bird. Whatever you say often enough, even if it's a cuss word, could end up as part of your myna's vocabulary!