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Cotton from what I've been told is pretty typical for an Asiatic species that hasn't had good socialization during his formative development. Quite suspicious but also curious and watchful. He was about 18 months old when I met him, and had been purchased from a not-great shop at 9 months old, so not the best early start :/
Tomorrow I'll have had him home for one year
and he's trusting me more now - he still doesn't like when I get too close without explaining what I'm doing, and even if I do explain he'll move away about half the time.
He's also pretty typical in that he's always sizing up everything around him, and he won't do anything that doesn't have something in it for him. I adore
the independent personality of the Asiatic parakeets, but I think it does add a layer to developing a relationship.
For instance, Opie (Quaker) learns super fast and is usually ecstatic to do a trick for a "good boy!" He'll keep working on training as long as I'll let him. He will get obviously frustrated if something is too challenging, but he'll get right back to it if we back up a step and let him have a win.
Cotton, on the other hand, half the time will look at me for a couple of seconds while deciding whether he wants to participate, then 'Ok sure I'll take that walnut', then maybe repeat and maybe not. He doesn't get frustrated because he's ended the session long before that point LOL
He does NOT respond to lots of praise and excitement and thought I was completely cuckoo the few times I tried - I swear he thinks it's undignified and he refuses to stoop to such a basic level
so it really has been all about figuring out what incentives will work for him.
He is usually keen to investigate new foods and new toys, so I often forget about how he's still a species that is more neophobic than others - I have to literally write down small step by steps for myself with him so that I don't push too far too fast.
My understanding is that most of these species are from areas with the highest variety and number of predators, so they are naturally more suspicious/fearful, and even if we have a good trust relationship it can work better to always assume they'll be a bit anxious about new stuff and introduce slowly at first (and then move forward based on the reaction).
Cotton's body language is a lot more subtle than my Quaker. And of course the lack of body feathers means I mostly have his posture and head to go by - but now that I can read him better it's pretty incredible how expressive he is without moving anything but feathers! He looks like a little Mandalorian cartoon when he's happy.
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When he's mad, he gets really flat feathers and stout body, and when he's really
mad he gets a little beard where his ring sticks out under his mandible and it looks like he plops his head down onto the middle of his chest LOL - these photos were taken from across the room when I walked in after bedtime:
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When he's nervous, he gets flat and tall - my dog walker took this photo and said Cotton walked to that spot and wouldn't look at him (Cotton usually "greets" him by walking toward him and just watching, but we figured out he was wearing a bright hat that day).
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I can definitely see how Asiatic parakeets do well in an aviary setting compared to a home. Cotton really could care less if I'm there or not. He LOVES seeing and chatting with songbirds outside, and he and a visiting Senegal would call back and forth from their rooms. He doesn't mind my Quaker flying around but doesn't always want him on his cage- I think if Cotton could fly this wouldn't be an issue though; he fell the first time Ope landed nearby. They've had a few sessions now where they're sitting a foot apart for a while. Ope is persistent in his friendship attempts
Opie wants to be in everyone's face Hi Wanna Play where Cotton is more Yes Ok I See You So What
I don't know anything about Slaty personalities (but gosh Nautilus is already so pretty) but I've read that African Ringnecks are more docile than IRN and that seems to be true of Cotton. I can't imagine a scenario where he would bite. I also don't know Slaty voices, but now I want to look it up! Cotton sounds quite different from an IRN and I absolutely love his sounds and speeches!
I've been feeding a mix of different pellets, some seed, and then rotating veggies/grains in different ways over and over to see if he'll eat something besides mini sweet peppers
He was very ill when I got him so I've been too complacent with his diet and he's gotten less exercise than he should get (since he can't fly), so that's my motivation for starting way more foraging now. Fingers crossed!
Ok I'd better stop here because I could go on for hours