Javan Myna chick: 3. Bathing

posted in: Feathers-maintenance, Rescue | 3

Today (3rd March), the rescued Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) chick has been under care for 11 days (see 1, 2). The feathers are more than a bit dirty, stained with food flicked from the bill and my failure to always place food properly into the gape. Inside the box where it was kept, it apparently did not continue to preen itself. So I placed it on a dish of water hoping it would take a bath (below).

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This was suggested by Jeremy Lee, who wrote earlier: “…I have kept a total of more than 6 mynas in my life. Most of them from chicks. They are very loyal companions and the chicks take on to any caregiver with ease. They will not communicate much with wild mynas and may even imitate other birds’ calls. They recognise names and are very aware of time and events related to specific time of the day.

“Chicks also have an instinctive reaction to water. Put a fully feathered chick in your wash basin, turn on the water and watch what happens. The birds starts splashing the water as if something possessed it to do so. Even the chick will appear bewildered at its own actions. But once it tries it out, it will always enjoy a good splash. I have even dared one of my birds to dip into a water that is almost deep enough to cover its shoulders. Instinct tells it that it is too deep but it will do it because I am nearby and he knows it is safe from predators. And because of safety it tends to get itself wetter than most wild birds do…”

Well, it took a few tries before the chick started splashing in the shallow dish of water. This it did for less than a minute and walked out of the dish to rinse off the droplets from its feathers.

It is constantly hungry, calling to be fed. It takes a mixture of soft food consisting of porridge, minced pork, bread and fish. I added some cheesy biscuits for calcium.

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I also placed it on a low branch of a tree where it managed to perch, albeit a little precariously (left). There it did a little of preening and even tried to pick up ants that came too near its feet. It succeeded in killing a few ants but was unable to pick them up.

The wing feathers were all fully developed, although some parts of the body were still bare. I helped it exercise its wings by putting it on my hand and suddenly lowering it to get it to flap its wings. The bird was fully capable of supporting itself on its legs and moving about on the ground, but not run or do a fast hop.

YC Wee & Jeremy Lee
Singapore
March 2008

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3 Responses

  1. that is cute looks like he is settling in hope he survives ok , shame from the information it does not look like he can be released back to the wild but better to survive I think steve

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  2. Can javan mynas imitate human speech like common mynas? If they can, you could try teaching it to talk.

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  3. I have heard that it could. Need to check up with Jeremy. He is the myna expert.

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