Feeding Your Pet Mynah 

by Kathy Butterfield

The most common disease that affects a mynah is hemochromatosis -- iron storage disease.

Hemochromatosis occurs when the liver accumulates too much iron, eventually poisoning the bird.  Presently the only way to treat hemochromatosis is through phlebotomy, removing a certain amount of blood from the bird to decrease the amount of iron in its bloodstream.

The best way to avoid hemochromatosis is through prevention. Read the labels of all foods, and do not feed the mynah any red meat. It is not essential to a healthy diet and has no nutritional value for them. However, do not remove all the iron from the mynah's diet.  Mynahs need a low iron diet, not a no iron diet. 

Iron content is expressed in parts per million (ppm). An acceptable amount of iron in the pelleted/softbill food is 120 ppm.
Never substitute mynah food with parrot food.  Parrot food contains propylene glycol, which will kill a mynah.


Avoid feeding a mynah highly acidic fruits (high in vitamin C), since they are known to increase the absorption of iron from other foods. 

It is not necessary for pet mynahs to have live foods. Too many can contribute to iron storage disease. A mynah will get all the nutrients it needs from the commercial softbill food. 

Wash food dishes between feedings.  Remove uneaten fruits before they spoil. Food that rots and spoils can kill the bird with bacteria and toxins if eaten.

Never feed a mynah seeds.  It can cause serious problems, even death. Mynahs do not have a crop.


Mynahs need Water, Low-Iron Pelleted/Softbill Food, and Fruit


Water
Keep clean safe drinking water available at all times. You can provide a small dish for drinking water and a larger one for bathing. Some mynahs may drink from a bird water bottle, so you might want to try that.  Your mynah will want to bathe and splash in the water a couple of times a day. The water will need changing two or more times a day.  Avoid using water containing iron.  Some owners give their bird distilled water.




How TEA may help your mynah maintain health:


The following is from the Medical Protocols of the US Bali Mynah Species Survival Plan:
Some foods decrease iron absorption. Tea contains high levels of tannins, which bind to iron and other heavy metals.  Other important nutrients will bind to tannins as well, therefore it is important that the tea is given properly in order for your bird not to lose too much of other nutrients along with the iron. This is not scientifically confirmed but has appeared to prevent or assist in reversing the process of hemochromatosis (iron storage disease) in certain species (TMN): 

Instructions for adding tea to drinking water: The type of tea to use is commercial black or pekoe teas.  Herbal tea will not work because it does not have tannins. Place enough tea into the birds water source to add a tint of brown to the water. Continue to do this for 1 month. Then discontinue for 1 month.  Continue to alternate.


Low-Iron Pelleted/Softbill Food
Be sure you choose a commercial brand of food that is specifically designed for softbills.  Parrot food is fatal to mynahs. 

Have some dry pellets available to your bird all the time.  If you serve some the pellets moistened, you will need to replace it before it spoils. Provide a low iron brand of mynah/softbill food, preferably 150 ppms of iron or less. The ppms of iron will vary in products depending on manufacturer. Since the commercial softbill foods are specially formulated, it is not necessary to supplement them with vitamins.


Some Available Low Iron Commerical Softbill Pellets

Mazuri® ZuLiFe™ Soft-Bill Diet





Pretty Bird Softbill Select





Kaytee Exact Original
Toucan/Mynah/Softbills Diet



Fruit
Although your mynah will get its nutritional needs from the commercial softbill food, you don't want to deprive your bird from having fruit in their diet.  Some of the best fresh fruit choices include apple, grapes, melon, blueberries, and bananas.  Don't fret over having a huge variety to choose from.  Don't make feeding your mynah too much of a chore.  

I have read that vitamin C is depleted in canned fruits, so it would be ok to feed some canned fruit also, but with no added sugar would be a good choice.

Avoid feeding highly acidic fruits (high in vitamin C).  They are known to increase the absorption of iron from other foods, enhancing more iron storage in the liver, causing Hemochromatosis.  So please do not feed your mynah
fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C.  Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, pineapple, limes, tomatoes, avocado, cantaloupe, apricots are a few to avoid.  Do your research. 

When you prepare fruit for your mynah be sure and discard any seeds or pits.


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