I got the ISNM egg from "Making a Mockery" As of day 15, all abilities remain poor. This is logical, assuming the same scale applies to an adult. A toddler's stamina, strength, etc. would definitely be poor compared to even an adult in poor health. My suspicion is that these stats will not start to climb until adolescence, much as a teenage rapidly increases in strength and stamina to adult levels.
For food, my chocobo generally requires 3 feedings per day. Feeding it when you get the message, "Your Chocobo seems almost completely full." can result in illness the next day.
I have cooking at 74 and change. I also have multiple mules gardening away. As a result, I can feed my chocobo some rather ridiculoulsly expensive foods at a reasonable price. It stings though, I'd really like to make some gil at this, but my mules aren't putting out much more ingredients than I need to keep my bird fed.
I feed my chocobo pastes because I take it to be the chocobo equivalent of puppy chow. Yes, your puppy CAN eat adult dog food, but will get far more nutritional benefits from eating food tailored to the growing animal's needs. I generally feed 1 carrot paste, 1 vegetable paste, 1 herb paste. I don't feed worm paste, both because of the low yield from plants on cupid worms makes it sort of a waste, and because I believe that the primary stat boost is affection, which I don't need. I have the opportunity to care for my choco many times a day. The goal here is to raise all stats equally during the "Childhood" phase of my choco's life. Once these stats start changing, I can customize according to need. Greens, carrots and wildgrass are pretty self-explanatory, I suspect San d'Orian carrots are in the nature of treats, since they're the only direct chocobo feed that is sold under food and not pet items. No nutritional value. May cause a slight increase in affection.
Every now and then I get the message...
Your chocobo seems quite perky lately. It should be responsive to anything you give it now.
I believe that this indicates that the next food item fed to it will gain a stat bonus. As an example, say str is on a scale of 100. Feeding a Vomp Carrot increases this stat by 2. Feeding a Vomp Carrot after recieving this message might get double the effect, raising str by 4. Operating on this assumption, whenever recieving this message, I feed a celerity salad.
Affection is interesting. I'm starting to get a handle on this, though. Based on LS member's observation of chick behavior, I've come to this conclusion. The highest stat is "Your Chocobo regards you as a parent." The purpose of this message is to let you know how hard you can train your chocobo before having problems causing moodiness and eventually run away chocos. If you get your chocobo to "Parent" status, and stop watching over it while having it walk in town, listen to music, etc. will result in dropping to "wanting to be with you all the time" and so on down to some negative options. Leaving it on basic care and not checking it would be a stable combo. No increases or decreases in affection. Essentially, the more time you spend with your bird, the harder you can train it via plans, and the tougher the animal will get as it grows older. You could spend a week doing hard training until your choco doesn't like you anymore, then cuddle it until it loves you again. Giving your chocob lots of loving care does not directly affect physical and mental stats, it simply allows you to train it harder, which WILL increase those stats.
My belief is Cupid worms can boost your chocobo's affection, but reduce your chocos training benefits afterwards. Therefore, the proper way to use them is to train hard, then use the worm. If you use the worm, then train hard, your chocobo will not benefit. Based on this, and research into the nature of most intestinal parasites, parasite worms may increase stats while decreasing the nutritional benefits of foods fed to your chocobo for a period of time afterwards. Gregarious worms would then increase communication for breeding while reducing feeding and training benefits. My understanding of communication is that it is THE stat that affects the results of breeding. This is of course, speculation. SE plays it's cards close to the vest.
In matters concerning colors, I think SE may have applied the nurture vs. nature approach that is generally considered responsible for how children turn out. There are three, possibly four things that effect the chance that your choco will grow up different than yellow. Childhood nutrition, Parenting, and Geneology are the main three with Environment being a possible fourth. If Environment is something that affects color chances, one would assume that if you want a black chocobo, San d'Oria is the place to be. What egg you use affects the chances, but does not guarantee a color. Assuming SE wanted to reward higher level players for being well... higher level players, this would assume that the best chances of a colored bird come from the uncapped ISNM egg, followed by the lvl 60 capped ISNM egg. However, if you check your chocobo only once a week, leave it on basic care, and only feed it Gysahl Greens because they're cheap, don't cry if your choco is yellow. Even if it is an uncapped ISNM egg.
I'm not claiming to be an expert, although my title has been Chocobo Love Guru for a few weeks. I'm merely attempting to figure out what a dev team spent months/years working out. It's complex, makes the player who wants above average results to apply a rather annoying amount of above average effort, and bears some resemblance to rearing a child or pet. This has been SE's MOS all along. You want to find the fastest way up Delfkutt's Tower, easy. Just take the physically longest route... Edited, Sep 6th 2006 at 10:44am EDT by BahzellSVT