In the first few seasons of any Harvest Moon or Rune Factory game, it is difficult to focus on much more than simply surviving and making enough money for absolute necessities in terms of supplies and upgrades. If at all possible, however, it is important to begin to interact daily with the Wild Animals on Animal Island and the Harvest Sprite Teams on Harvest Sprite Island.
In terms of the Wild Animals, the specific varieties of Feed that Mirabelle sells at her shop are best used early in the game, when you cannot afford to give Wild Animals your dairy products or crops. They have two disadvantages, however. The first is that you only can feed a single variety of Wild Animal using the commercial feed. The second is that the commercial food is worth only 5 points in terms of increasing the Friendship of that species. Nonetheless, for 10G, it is well worth the effort and expense when you cannot afford to give anything better.
In terms of the Sprite Teams, chasing them as they march and race across Harvest Sprite Island can be a bit bothersome, but remember that you always can use your stylus to interact with any Character. Wheat Flour, as any veteran of Harvest Moon would suspect, is a Favourite Gift with ALL Teams, but there are specific Most Favourite Gifts for each. Even when you cannot afford to give Gifts, however, you can raise Friendship Levels simply by speaking to one Member of each Team.
I never can stress the importance of Friendship enough where any Harvest Moon or Rune Factory game is concerned. In the case of the Wild Animals, increasing their Friendship Levels to 3 Hearts (a little less, actually) will allow you to obtain rare and valuable items that you either could not find yourself or would be given at best only once every three years on your Birthday by a Character at 7 Hearts. These rare items include but are not limited to the Firefly Flower, the Twin Herb and the Red Magic Flower. Other valuable items that you can obtain by yourself but require time and energy to do so are Alexandrite, Pink Diamonds, Pirate Treasure and Fish Fossils.
Like the Pig, who can find Truffles for you when you could not find them in your own foraging efforts, the Wild Animals randomly find these valuable items when they have agreed to help you. In general in Harvest Moon, Truffles are an Autumn item. My Pig in Sunshine Islands has found them both in Autumn and Winter but never in Spring or Summer.
The items that any Animal finds are generated randomly, whether domesticated like the Pig or Wild like the Animals on Animal Island. In the case of the Pig, the item is generated at the time when you collect it from your Pig. In the case of the Wild Animals, the item or items are generated at daybreak at 6.00 a.m. when your Character awakens.
It is important to realise that:
YOU CAN OBTAIN EVEN THE RAREST, MOST VALUABLE ITEMS FROM ANY ANIMAL EVEN AT LOWER HEART LEVELS.
Chances of doing so may increase with an increase in Friendship Levels but even when any species of Wild Animal first begins to forage for you at 3 Hearts, you may be able to obtain the most valuable item(s) on the list.
In other words, by saving your game at 5.50 a.m. or whenever you go to bed on the previous night, racing to Animal Island at 6.00 a.m. to see what the Animals found for you before you save your game again, you can reload and change the outcome if you do not like the selection.
In the case of the Pig, you can save your game before you carry him out of the Pigsty. If he does not find a Truffle for you, you can reload and try again. As previously indicated, it is possible that Truffles are limited to Autumn and Winter. My Pig found them both in Autumn and Winter but never in Spring or Summer.
The best strategy with respect to the Wild Animals, once you are not desperate for money, is to give an item that will score points with more than one type. The items I use most often, with their respective values to each Animal type are:
Cucumber: Mouse 5 points, Rabbit 5 Points
Egg: Badger 7 points, Mouse 5 points
Onion: Badger 7 points, Monkey 7 points
Small Fish: Badger 5 points, Duck 5 points,
Strawberry: Monkey 7 points, Sparrow 5 points
Tomato: Badger: 7 points, Mouse 5 points, Rabbit 5 points
Turnip: Badger 5 points , Rabbit 7 points
Yam: Badger 8 points, Rabbits 5 points
There are other items, such as Apples and Milk that are liked by more than one species, but the ones listed above are the cheapest and easiest.