Mynah Birds - Feeding
"Mynah birds have a short digestive tract, which make for a very quick transit time."
Our knowledge of bird nutrition is constantly evolving. This is due both to heightened awareness of the importance of nutrition and to increased research into birds different needs. As with all other animals, birds need a proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins, minerals and water. Different species of birds often require different foods. Mynah birds have a short digestive tract, which make for a very quick transit time. This means your mynah bird will eat a LOT and likely have frequent and often very loose droppings. It is NOT uncommon to have blue droppings 15-20 minutes after eating blueberries!
Should I be concerned about what my mynah bird eats?
Nutrition is commonly neglected with pet birds. You should discuss your mynah bird's nutrition with your veterinarian. Too often owners assume they are feeding a proper diet to their mynah bird when in fact they are not! This is a common reason for many health problems. Hemochromatosis or iron storage disease in mynah birds has long been suspected to be related to high dietary iron intake. It is important to continually strive to improve your bird's diet. This involves constantly educating yourself and a certain degree of common sense. It is not sufficient to feed a mynah bird just to maintain life; instead, your goal should be to help it thrive and flourish. Your bird's health depends on how well it is fed.
What does my mynah bird naturally eat?
Mynah birds are omnivorous. That is to say, they would naturally eat a huge variety of fruits, insects, larva, amphibians, lizards, small snakes, eggs, baby birds, baby rodents and scavenge for garbage occasionally. They are not seedeaters in the wild.
What should I feed my mynah bird?
- Mynah birds do not chew/bite their food into pieces like parrots do, and they do not have a crop for the storage of food; therefore it is important food be presented in small easy to swallow, bite size pieces. You should provide your mynah bird with a well-balanced diet at all times. Consult your veterinarian if encountering any problems with diet or the health of the bird.
"Pellets should NOT be the sole diet for a mynah bird."
Pellets have been developed to meet all your bird's nutritional needs as best as possible. Pellets are the ideal diet, nutritious, easy to feed and since pellets are dry, the bird's droppings tend to be less messy. Pellets should NOT be the sole diet for a mynah bird. Some pellets have excessively high iron values that may contribute to hemochromatosis or iron storage disease in mynah birds. Some companies have reduced the iron content in their pellets to less than 90 ppm (90 mg/kg). Check with your veterinarian for the latest iron content recommendations.
Fruits and Vegetables
A large variety of diced fruits such as those listed at the end of this handout should be offered every day. Fruits and vegetables must be washed thoroughly to remove chemicals. Cut them into manageable pieces depending on the size of the bird. It is not necessary to take the skin off. Offer fruits and vegetables in a separate dish. If your bird appears to develop a particular fancy for one food item, reduce its volume or stop feeding it temporarily to promote the eating of other foods.
"If your bird appears to develop a particular fancy for one food item, reduce its volume or stop feeding it temporarily to promote the eating of other foods."
Various diced vegetables may be offered but this should NOT a large part of a mynah birds diet. Pale vegetables, with a high water composition (i.e. iceberg or head lettuce, celery), offer very little nutritional value. Avocado is reported to be potentially toxic.
- Treat your bird like a small child; offer a small piece of a variety of food items daily and never stop trying. A well balanced diet must be maintained at all times.
Fresh clean water must be available at all times. Depending on the quality of your tap water, you might consider the use of bottled water.
Dishes must be cleaned thoroughly every day with soap and water.
What about other foods?
As a rule, any wholesome, nutritious food that you and your family eat your bird can eat. Follow the general guidelines discussed above and use your common sense. Some birds even enjoy a small amount of lean cooked meat, fish, egg white or yogurt occasionally. Dog food such as U/D by Hillsâ is low in iron and can be offered occasionally. Dairy products should be consumed in moderation. Mynah birds may occasionally enjoy pinky mice or insects such as mealworms, wax worms, crickets and other insects (soft-bodied insects are more nutritious). It is common sense that junk food, chocolate, products containing caffeine and alcoholic beverages be avoided.
"Mynah birds may occasionally enjoy pinky mice or insects such as mealworms, wax worms, crickets and other insects."
Does my mynah bird need extra vitamins, minerals or amino acids?
Your veterinarian can help you assess your bird's diet and its particular needs. One opinion suggests that a bird eating 75 - 80% of its diet in the form of pelleted food may not need supplements. Specific vitamins or minerals may be more important at various times during a bird's life (e.g., egg laying requires calcium supplementation). Calcium supplements are available if your mynah bird is determined to be deficient.
"Mix these products in water or preferably apply directly onto moist food."
If a supplement is recommended by your veterinarian, powdered supplements, such as Nekton-S® (by Nekton-Produkte), Quiko® or Prime® (by Hagen), are often regarded as more stable. Mix these products in water or preferably apply directly onto moist food. Placing these powders on seeds or dried foods is of little value since it will ultimately end up on the bottom of the food dish and not in the bird.
Does my bird need gravel or grit?
Controversy exists over the need for gravel. It was believed that grit was necessary for the mechanical breakdown of food in the gizzard as an aid to digestion. However, we now know that birds do fine without grit. Some birds will in fact have problems if grit is over eaten.
What pointers should I remember about feeding my mynah bird?
- Always monitor the amount of food eaten every day by each bird.
- Offer fresh water every day.
- Offer a variety of fresh foods every day.
- Offer fresh fruits and vegetables every day
- Clean all food and water dishes daily.
- No to a food item one day does not mean no forever - KEEP TRYING!
Some suggested food items include:
|*apple||cherries (not the pit)||*pear|
|apricots||Chinese vegetables (bok choy)||peas|
|asparagus||coconut||peppers (red/green & hot)|
|beans (cooked) such as:||cucumber||*plum|
|chick peas||dandelion leaves||pomegranate|
|lima||*fig||*raisins (soaked overnight)|
* foods with lower iron for a mynah bird.