All animals forage.
In 1993, the US Navy published a list of the nine criteria for an animal to be able to survive in the wild; #3 was Foraging Capability.
A study determined that animals prefer to forage for their food. It’s called contra-freeloading. When presented with easily accessible food items and items that need to be found or acquired, an animal will choose to forage rather than take the easy way out.
Every animal has a different learning style and foraging should be approached with that in mind. Start with very basic opportunities and build as your bird’s skill level increases.
When offering foraging opportunities, start with preferred food items. This makes it more enticing until your bird understands the concept.
Please don’t add additional food volume to your bird’s diet as this will only result in chunky birds.
Use foraging to get your birds moving. The more exercise they get, the better for their health. Foraging activities should be designed to get the bird moving and thinking.
Be realistic about what you ask your bird to do. Weigh the value of the food item with the effort it takes to obtain that item. A lengthy puzzle may keep your bird “busy” but, when the payoff is a small food item, the novelty will soon wear off.
Try a variety of strategies. For some opportunities you may need to model the foraging behavior for your bird. If your bird is new to foraging, you may need to show the bird the value of the hunt.
Foraging isn’t a complicated process. It is simply looking for food.