shanlung (shanlung) wrote,

Woes of a hill mynah food formulator // Jackie getting to know me


Woes of a hill mynah food formulator

In last report, I mentioned almost all documentation spoke of hill mynahs being a frugivorous.

And as written by Frank Indiviglio"
Mynas also consume seeds, buds, insects, spiders and other invertebrates, lizards and tree frogs. They will occasionally raid the nests of other birds, taking both eggs and nestlings (a habit that has rendered them unpopular in mixed-species zoo exhibits!)".

Of all the literature on hill mynah's diet, I really felt Frank was the most thorough and in depth. While he acknowledge hill mynahs are considered to be prone to hemochromatosis, Frank almost all but said he considered many other causes as well.

I understand his dilemma in not wanting to step into controversial waters. I have many correspondence with people around the world who might not care to write in public. Such as about 8 - 9 years ago, a well known USA very successful breeder of greys and Amazon wrote to me that believed his success in breeding was at least partly because advocadoes were part of his birdies diet. He was also a believer in Mike Manna Mash, the precursor of Tinkerbell Mash and Libai Mash and shortly later, Jackie mash. Wild horses will not make me reveal who that gentleman was.

I can understand his extreme reluctance to be hit by a parade of dysfunctional Drama Queens waxing lyrical how evil he was and how he must have hated his flock of birdies to feed them with advocadoes. In fact, that I had not feed Tink or Riam with advocadoes was because I am indifferent to advocadoes and never bought that for me or my wife consumption.

Back to hill mynahs and their diet being sort of frugivourous birdies, notwithstanding their wanting spiders, lizards, tree frogs , eggs and fledglings.

When you talk of fruits, just what will strike your mind of the basic quality of fruits? Why would you eat fruit and what fruits have other food do not have?

Vitamin C?

But of course!

And guess what. There is a school of thought out there that claimed Vitamin C is deadly poisonous to hill mynahs. That oranges and fruits rich in Vitamin C must not be feed to hill mynahs, not withstanding in that same breath, they maintained hill mynahs are frugivorous.

That Vitamin C will hastened the absorption of iron because hill mynahs are prone to hemochromatosis. That tea for the tanin should become part of hill mynah diet because of their prone to hemochromatosis.

I really think multisyllibic words have such fixation on some minds that nothing but those multisyllibic words mattered. Such as another drama queen from another birdie forum somewhere who wanted to debate me on what I feed my kitties, and mentioning cats are 'obligate carnivores' in every one of her entries as if I do not know that and she being a claimed genius of Mensa standing must teach me.
She proudly claimed she never read what I wrote and want to debate with me on the food I been formulating for my kitties. I have better and more gainful things to do then to debate with another of those drama queen even if , and especially of self proclaimed Mensa standing.

Now back to frugivourus and the deadliness of Vitamin C for hill mynahs. Whose favourite fruit in the wild happens to be figs rich in Vitamin C and iron.

With all that kind of information, or mis-information as the back drop, I decided to do another fruit mash for Jackie. As my first fruit mash had all been eaten by Jackie already.

I therefore concocted the following a day ago and heck with Vitamin C or not. With seeds removed of course.

Pears ..... 818 grams
Papaya ... 916 grams
Pineapple .241 grams
Jackfruit. .171 grans
Bananas ..448 grams

total of 2594 grams

Above fruits came package at Sing$2 per package if you are wondering why those strange weights. I decided arbitarily by sight how much to use and if I wanted to reserved some bananas, pears for myself. I disliked papaya so Jackie had it all.

I unilaterally decided 20% of the fruit mash should be Jackie Mash and added 650 grams of Jackie Mash to above.

All that went into the blender to blend and blend together with a generous dollop of honey. And into little baggies and into freezer.

I decided no tea for Jackie and if he keeled over from lack of tea , or too much Vitamin C, it is his karma and my karma.

It might well be the karma of other hill mynah to live their entire life in a cage that they can hop about without flight and with little interactions with their caregivers. Becoming neurotic and pecking and terrorising their caregivers. Then they die of many reasons, but cheerfully dismissed as dying of too much Vitamin C, or not enough tea, and of what that wonderful wise sounding multisyllibic word? hemochromatosis! Depressing to think about, isn't it?

I got the feeling Jackie will do a lot better with me than with anyone else.
If you disagree with his diet and what I formulated, I welcome your comments into this blog.


More photos in Flickr folder Jackie - Getting to know me

Jackie getting to know me

In the last report, I wrote

I related how I chose Jackie as he seemed so bold when in the cage in the shop holding me in his eyes unlike the other hill mynahs who backed off from eye contacts with me. He further stood his ground on his perch even as I moved slowly nearer to him, unlike the others that backed off, hopped off their perches and moved to furthest corner of their cages.

I thought it would be natural that he should open up to my overtures soon enough.

But I was wrong.

It was clear Jackie had spirit and courage. But he wanted little to do with me. When I moved nearer to him, he flew further away. When I moved further away, he flew back to his favourite perch. It was clear he was not scared of me, but wanted to maintain his distance from me.

That is indeed his right to do that. I was more than willing to give him time to prove that I am worthy of his friendship and perhaps he could reconsider.
With that kind of spirit and guts, he can be a wonderful companion. And I do not wish to break his spirit at all.


And as for the mess from his earlier feeding on 100% chicken feed, see the photo above from previous report where Jackie mash had only 25% chicken feed. Why do you think I added that little branch? I kid you not that was done as the poop from the 100% chicken feed reached up almost all the way to his bum. I decided to raise the height of perch so he would not bury his bum in his poop. But of course, that changed with current Jackie Mash without any ^$#$%^%^&%& chicken feed inside.

From his first few days when he refused to eat at all, I was not going to use food to force him to come to me. He might well want to starve to death before doing that.

With his 60 grams or 30% body weight in mash and another 60 grams of fruit mash, I cannot believe he would be starving. Not when Riamfada at 400++ grams ate less than 50 grams of Tinkerbell Mash per day.

Further more, when I weighed his mash 10 grams by 10 grams into small bowls, I erred on the side of more. So he gotten anything from 12 to 14 grams per bowl, and more than the 60 grams I wrote about. And likewise of that 30 + 30 grams of fruit mash.

I seen other hill mynahs on the hands of their owners. Almost inevitably, they got their hill mynahs very very young and perhaps unweaned.

But not in the case of Jackie. He came to me very wild.

When I approached him with the food bowl, he would back off and fly away. But his being able to fly well meant he had a choice.

As in the last report, he first flew to the table to eat. And then to the chair. Every time I moved, he flew off back to top of the cage.

I then made very slow movements. He got used to those slow non threatening movements.

I need him to graduate. And for that, he had to step up on cue and fly to me on cue. If he would not fly to me for whatever reasons, he would never fly to me on cue.

It wasn't as if everyday I decreased the distance between Jackie and me. His bowl might be further away. I liked his strong spirit and hoped that would augur well when he finally unbend to me.

In time, that bowl came nearer, kind of on my thigh. Jackie found the mash still tasted good, and he did not disappear into a black hole.


Then a few days later, he had to fly to the other thigh.


And in time, the bowl was entirely on my thigh.


And the mash still tasted yummy.

I noticed his claws were very sharp. And if he was to eventually land on me, I rather his claws become less sharp. And I remade his landing strip, inserting sandpaper under the plastic grill. The plastic grill will protect his feet, and the sand paper should blunt the claws.

And as bonus, he accepted my hand holding that bowl when he was feeding. When earlier, he would not even want to land to eat should my hand be around.


Not only that book, I placed sand paper on the table under the plastic mesh. That plastic mesh was there as he landed very heavily and the glass gave him no purchase and he skidded. So every time he landed on the table, his claws became that little bit less sharp and pointy.



And as he pooped there occasionally, a strip of toilet paper as well to catch his poop.




All of a sudden, break through occured. Just a couple of days ago.

He decided he could land on my finger to eat his mash.



Not the best photo above. But you understand I still needed to place that here.

His claws were still sharp. So even his fruit mash stand needed some improvisation from me. A used center of paper hand towel roll. With a piece of sandpaper silicon cemented. And a piece of plastic mesh around it for grip and to protect his feet from the sandpaper.



Not easy to shot Jackie flying to me



But it should get better and easier in the coming days and coming weeks.

And I do believe in time, he would graduate to the rest of the apartment.

More photos in Flickr folder Jackie - Getting to know me


LiBai mash making.
About 300 grams of beef mince, with 200 grams of chicken mince and 150 grams of dried anchovies(for the calcium). That was all done up to the kitty mash formula I wrote about in
Pakistan//Tinkerbell Kitty Mash//Dommie at the beach Ramadhan 2010 //Villa walkabout 2
Instead of the almond and brazil nuts, about 100 grams of human grade groundnuts(peanuts) were used.

Making of Tinkerbell Mash
Morning with Harry & the decision// Sultan of Oman Palace// Tinkerbell Mash Batch 7

suri - Read "Conditioning clicker day 3 - and some tips on suris"

milli - read "Found the perfect treat and Yingshiong first "step up""

if you forgotten about clicker training

Tinkerbell Legacy - VH parrot and Clicker Training Rant 06

Some thoughts on clicker - The initial experience with Tinkerbell

Clicker training and bonding with Tinkerbell

To Shanlung-Charlie and clicker training

Charlie and clicker training - beyond touch target //LiBai on finger and in slow motion videos —


(edited on 4th November 2011 to include below)

To Shanlung - How to do Free Flight Outside

If what I wrote help you and you like to help, give a thought
for the wildlife sharing our planet.
Do write that cheque to Gerald Durrell wildlife trust

I am a life member of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Do join us to do
whatever we can for the wildlife that shared our planet.
or to any wildlife conservation body of your choice

hit counter code

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.