Animals have always been an important part of the Dwarf Fortress ecosystem. Although you can buy and sell different kinds of creatures through the Trading Depot once the caravan arrives, a much easier way of controlling your critter population is through animal husbandry and gelding. If you want to find out how these mechanics work in the game, we’ve covered everything you’ll need to know below.
Related: How to trade in Dwarf Fortress
How does animal husbandry work in Dwarf Fortress?
Animal husbandry, or the process of caring for and raising livestock, can mainly be done in the game through the use of Pen/Pasture zones. You can create these areas by hitting the “Z” key to open up your zones menu. The Pen/Pasture option can then be found right below the Dining Hall option on the window that appears.
Remember, though, that Pen/Pasture zones should only be designated on grass above ground or on floor fungus underground. Otherwise, your animals will gradually become annoyed due to a lack of food.
Once designated, animals that graze, such as Yaks, Elephants, and Alpaca, can then be placed into these areas, and it will immediately serve as their main source of sustenance. You can also place a Nest Box and birds into Pen/Pasture zones to acquire eggs.
You can also breed creatures by placing a tame male and a tame female animal of the same species in the same Pen/Pasture zone. As long as they both reside in one designated area, the female animal will eventually bear offspring after a certain amount of time.
Breeding is a particularly important mechanic in Dwarf Fortress since this is how you’ll primarily create a steady stream of valuable resources, like meat and leather, without spending money.
How does gelding work in Dwarf Fortress?
Gelding in Dwarf Fortress only works on male animals, and it essentially renders them unable to produce offspring. This feature is particularly useful if your animal population has gotten out of hand and you want to get it under control.
You’ll be able to geld animals through the citizen information menu, which can be opened by pressing “U” on your keyboard. Once the window pops up, head over to the Pets/Livestock tab, and the geld option should be available for male animals on the far right column. You will also need to construct a Farmer’s Workshop within your base for the gelding process to work.
It’s important to note that once you’ve gelded an animal, there is no way to un-geld them. So make sure that you’ve selected the right creature before you go ahead and proceed with its castration.