Owning a Mynah
by Kathy Butterfield

Finding a Mynah Bird
Please search for a domestic bred mynah.  Every year millions of tropical birds are taken from the wilds of Asia, Africa, and Latin America and shipped to various countries around the world for sale as pets.  Up to 80 percent of birds in trade die before reaching their final destination, as hundreds of wild birds are frequently crammed into small crates without sufficient food, water, or ventilation.  To collect these birds, trees are often cut down or nest cavities opened with machetes, resulting in permanent habitat destruction. Excessive trade and habitat destruction now threaten more than 1,000 species with extinction.  Several actions have been undertaken to curb this practice, including those by the U.S. Congress.  In 1992, Congress passed the Wild Bird Conservation Act in response to these problems despite the protests of the domestic U.S. pet industry.  Before the Wild Bird Conservation Act was enacted, the United States was the world's largest importer of wild birds, importing more than 7.4 million birds between 1980 and 1991, primarily for the pet market.  The goals of the Congressional action were to end the importation of wild-caught tropical birds and to stop the environmental destruction associated with it.

In the U.S., there was a time when Greater Indian Hill and Java Hill mynahs could be found in almost any pet store.  This is not so any more.  In  Many pet shops here will tell you that you will not be able to get a mynah because they have been banned from being imported and are impossible to get.  Well, most pet shop owners are not aware that there are mynahs being domestic bred.  If one tells you that mynahs are impossible to get, don't give up searching.  There is a breeders list on this web site.  You may also be able to locate a mynah breeder by asking other type of bird breeders in your local area if they know of any.  If you happen to find one not listed on the Mynah Bird Home Page, please have them contact us so we can add them to the list.  Most Mynah Bird breeders are are willing to air-ship if you are not within driving distance. 

Mynah Preference
Over the years the Greater Indian Hill mynah has always been in demand for its amazing talking ability and lively personality. It averages about 10 inches in length. They can be trained to mimic words and phrases among other sounds.  The Java Hill mynah is another in demand. It averages about 12 inches in length. It have a stockier build, are much larger in appearance than the Greater Indian Hill, and have a louder voice.  Java Hills are able to mimic very deep voices and their human-like voice is more distinct than even the clear speaking Greater Indian Hill.  The larger Hill mynahs were not imported in as great numbers as the Greater Indian Hills, so there's not many unrelated pairs left to breed.  I don't know why they weren't imported as much, unless the preference for Greater Hills may have been because they are easier to handle since they are smaller.  A tame Greater Indian Hill tolerates handling easier and some even like to be cuddled.  The Java Hill is satisfied just perching on your hand and watching what you are doing but otherwise doesn't usually like to be touched.  

The Lesser Hill Mynah was also imported here but in fewer numbers - it is about the same size as the Greater Indian Hill but was not popular, probably because the voice is not as human sounding, it has a higher pitch and does not mimic as well.  I don't know of any Lesser Hills left in the United States and I haven't heard from any breeders of them. 

In the U.S. I have heard from one or more owners  the Dumont's Mynah, Bank Mynah, Common Mynah, Black-collared Mynah, Bali Mynah, Golden-crested Mynah, Celebes Mynah, White-necked Mynah, and the Gold-breasted Mynah.  I don't hear from many breeders of these so I'm not sure whether they are being bred to sell.  Some owners breed them only for a hobby and don't sell the babies.  

Choosing a Healthy Mynah
Be observant: A healthy mynah six weeks and older will be fully feathered and have eyes that are clear and bright, nasal passages open and clear, and the feathers around the vent clean. 
A baby mynah will have a dull plumage and the wattle skin will be tight and a pale yellow. After the first molt, the plumage will become shiny, smooth and iridescent and the wattles will be a brighter yellow.  

Breathing should be normal and without raspy sounds from the chest.  If the bird's mouth stays open while breathing, find out why.  This should only happen from becoming too warm in a hot climate, from getting exhausted when flying or from extensive hopping around due to excitement or fright. 

Also, check what diet the bird has been on and how well it is eating. A diet low in iron is important for the longevity of a mynah bird.  Take your new pet mynah to the vet for its first checkup as soon as possible and then about once a year. 

History
Find out as much as you can about the history of the mynah you choose.  Spend time observing the bird.  There is no way to tell the exact age of a mynah by appearance.  Its history is all you have to go on, especially once it gets its adult plumage. (e.g. A 15 year old mynah can look the same as a 4 year old.)  An older mynah can make a great pet too especially if it has a good history and proper attention from the previous owner.  Just so you'll know, mynahs do some shrill calls at times. You have to expect this when owning a mynah. That is why it is not recommended to whistle to a mynah - you would rather hear it talk wouldn't you. Believe me, you will hear it whistle on its own. 

When purchasing a baby mynah, it is ideal to choose a bird between the ages of 6 and 8 weeks old but this is not always possible unless you are able to purchase directly from a breeder. When imported mynahs are found in pet stores they may already be a few months old because of the traveling and quarantine times they have been subjected to.  Imported birds are sometimes wild caught and when this is the case extra time and attention is needed for taming and training.  They start out being hand fed after which most lose the close human contact and interaction during the quarantine times and then need to gain the trust of humans all over again.  If you are able to find any young Hill mynah and begin training it right away it will more than likely become a talker.  The younger a Hill mynah is when you bring it home and start talking to it, the better your chances are of having a great talker. 

A bird usually bonds closest to the person who cleans up its cage, provides food and water and from whom it gets the most attention.  A mynah bird is not usually particular in who it talks to and really tame mynah will go to almost anyone after spending just a little time socializing. 

Only if a mynah was mistreated by someone in its past, will may dislike the presence of a similar looking person. Birds have an excellent memory and should never be mistreated. 

Male or Female
Sex cannot be determined by appearance.  Talking ability is the same in both males and females so there is no purpose in knowing the gender of a single pet mynah other than for personal preference.  DNA sexing, surgical sexing, and feather sexing are the choices if there is need later on to know the sex of your bird.

How many mynahs – one or two
As pets, one mynah is just as enjoyable as two.  If you decide on two, remember it doubles everything!  Expenses, care, etc.  If you want to have a pair of mynahs in your home, plan on a little more noise as they mature. They get into whistling moods at times and you may tire of hearing the shrillness of them.  If this happens, you may want to consider moving them into a large aviary outside, where they can have plenty of space and a more natural environment to bellow out their mynah calls without hurting anyones ears.   Mynahs are happiest in an outdoor aviary when you have more than one.  

When two young mynahs of the same sex are raised together in a single cage, they usually live together fine as adults but there is no guarantee. You may have to keep them in separate cages. 


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