Since March, we've been locking Calypso in his cage only at night. During the day, he has the ability to choose where he goes, even when we're not there. In this post, about halfway down, I give some of his background.
I didn't write about this earlier as, in general, I believe that parrots should be safely enclosed when not supervised. This protects parrots from possibly hurting themselves (I've heard of a goffin's cockatoo that chewed through the wall into the wires and electrocuted himself, though not fatally) or another parrot if more than one are out unsupervised at once. This also helps to protect the home from curious beaks (I've linked to this site before. Can you imagine coming home to that?)
Of course, parrots are individuals, and what works for one parrot will not necessarily work for another. As parrot caregivers, I believe it's Thomas's and my responsibility to get to know our parrots and make decisions as to what's best for the individual.
In our continuing effort to raise Calypso's self-esteem and provide him with more opportunities to make decisions for himself, we decided to not lock him in his cage during the day. I would not try this with any of my other parrots. Calypso has been doing really well under this arrangement.
We started slowly. He would get to stay out for an hour when I went downstairs to work out. Then he'd stay out for a couple of hours when we ran errands. He was perfect. He'd play on his cage, or go to Max's cage and play. Max and Calypso never fight and she is fine with this arrangement. (I'm probably being sappy, but I attribute this to the fact that he saved her life).
He seems happier, to me. I think he enjoys this additional freedom. He's been playing more, and soliciting even more attention from me than he used to. He begs to shower with me pretty much every morning, and has initiated a few new nighttime rituals. (This prolongs bedtime, but he is so adorable I treasure every moment with him).
Last week, I came home to find that the foraging bucket attached to the side of his cage, a toy he'd ignored for years, had been emptied:
It's just toys, not food, so don't worry about that! I was so happy to see evidence of his play when we're gone. When I saw this, I said, in an excited voice, "Calypso! It looks like your bucket exploded!" and he started dancing up and down and making his happy squeaky sound. He's since emptied his bucket every day!
I don't know that we'll always be able to do this for him. For example, if he starts wandering around the house, we'd need to start locking him up again for his safety. However, I'm glad Thomas had the idea to do this and convinced me it was OK to experiment in such a way (I tend to worry a bit too much!)