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I cannot survive more than 5 days without starving due to a lack of food. Berries I find do not grow back fast enough, and I don't have rabbits near the usual spot for my base.

What is the best way to make a reliable food source for a base?

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Well, maybe the usual spot for your base is in the wrong place then. If you simply can't reach food from there, find a place where you can.

Rabbits are pretty good early on. Berries are good, as you mentioned, but aren't going to be enough on their own. Forage for them early on, but later you should dig them up and move them to your base.

If you see a bird, move towards it to scare it off -- they drop seeds at a decent rate. If you are still in a starvation situation, eat the seeds, otherwise you can combine them with manure to start farming.

Monster meat is edible, but it does damage. Early on, if you are having trouble getting enough food, keep in mind that you can eat monster meat at full health followed by a couple berries. Over the next couple days, regular eating should heal you up enough to recover to where you can do this again if need be.

Getting manure for farms will help, but since it still takes a seed and farms grow pretty slowly, this probably won't solve all your problems.

Tallbird eggs are amazing, if you can find them.

All food should be cooked before you eat it -- it will go a lot further this way.

Throughout the game, but especially early on, keep in mind you will need to rely on many types of food source. Always keep an eye on your map for berry bushes. Always approach birds for seeds. Always grab carrots. If you see a rabbit straying from his hole, hunt it. Unless you happen upon several tallbird nests within a comfortable walk of each other, you aren't going to find a single stable food source.

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Do you know how many days it takes before the berries grow back? Also, what's the best way to find tallbird eggs and beefalos, just luck? –  Katustrawfic Dec 14 '12 at 16:46
    
I believe it's three days for berry bushes. After you harvest them a certain number of times (I think 5?) you have to fertilize them with manure to get them going again. I've also had to fertilize them after moving them. Tallbird eggs are found in the stone fields, near tallbirds, but other than that it is just luck. Check your map often, as they show up on the map from more than a screen away. Beefalos have their own savannah biome, but finding the biome or finding them in the biome is simply a matter of exploring until you find them. –  PeterL Dec 14 '12 at 16:51
    
That must be my problem is they don't grow back after I move them. Or I'm not even surviving long enough... Will the tallbirds attack me if I steal their eggs? –  Katustrawfic Dec 14 '12 at 16:54
    
Berry bushes that need fertilized look different. Pointier. I think when you click to examine them Wilson will tell you he should fertilize them, rather than saying "Maybe they'll grow back". Tallbirds will attack if you steal the eggs -- all tallbirds nearby will. They are easy to outrun and seemingly forget you after you run away 2-3 screens, so it isn't terribly dangerous. –  PeterL Dec 14 '12 at 17:05
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Although if you get your hands on a crockpot, go ahead throw monster meat in there. It removes the damage factor and (I believe) increases the hunger gained per monster meat you add to the recipe. –  Yuki Dec 14 '12 at 22:25
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Make your base by a field of bunny holes, and make a spear, and some traps. Bring berry bushes back to your base. I'm on day 32 living with the bunnies. Make a farm of berry bushes and plant stuff in the manure and seed farms.

Works great for me! Good luck, and remember, in future updates this game will only get better.

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Since you have to literally murder the bunnies before you can eat them I don't want to anymore :D –  NoneOfYourBusiness Apr 25 '13 at 13:31
    
@user28015 Bunnies are evil. Almost as evil as squirrels. Don't feel bad. –  Coronus Apr 25 '13 at 22:59
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Summer (farms)

To get started, set up your base near a herd of beefalo. They'll produce manure. Use it to make farms, which you can use to grow crops. This will get you through summer.

Winter (rabbits)

Crops don't grow in the winter. Luckily, if you built near beefalo, you're probably near grasslands with a plethora of rabbit holes. Create traps (you'll need lots of grass and some twigs), and put them right over the rabbit holes. You can catch one or two rabbits per hole per day this way.

Winter advanced (jerky)

Winter's reduced sunlight leads to reduced sanity. To combat this, make some drying racks. You can dry rabbit meat on the racks, producing small jerky. Each small jerky consumed gives you +10 sanity, in addition to hunger and health benefits. You'll need to eat 6 small jerky per day to keep your hunger at the same level. So build at least six drying racks. If you build more, you won't have to go rabbit-collecting every single day.

Dragonpie: The food for all seasons

If you're willing to get more elaborate, the single best long-term food in the game is dragonpie.

Dragonpie is a food you can make in the crockpot. For dragonpie success, you'll need a bird cage, a bird trap, a lot of farms (say, 8 or 10), and a crock pot.

Set out your bird trap and catch a bird. (Bait your trap with seeds to catch a bird faster.) Imprison your captured bird in the bird cage.

Now grow crops with regular seeds. You'll get an assortment of fruits and vegetables. Feed any dragon fruits you get to the bird. For each dragon fruit, he'll give you back 1 or 2 dragon fruit seeds, and sometimes a normal seed as well. Now plant all of those dragon fruit seeds, and fill the rest of the farms with regular seeds. Keep feeding the bird every dragon fruit you get until you have enough dragon fruit seeds to plant a full crop and plenty left over.

Now you can start using your dragon fruits to make dragonpie. Put one dragon fruit in a crockpot, along with three twigs. Cook. In a minute or so, you'll have a food that gives you 75 hunger, 40 health, and 5 sanity; and it lasts for 15 days before it spoils. You only need to eat one dragonpie per day to keep your hunger at a constant level. So if you make ten, you have a ten-day supply of food. In this way, you can even mostly avoid collecting rabbits in the winter. And dragonpies stack up to 40, so you can carry in one slot far more than you can even eat before they spoil.

You can fill more hunger or more health with other crock pot foods. For instance, meaty stew gives you +150 hunger, two days' worth, while waffles give you +60 health. But in my opinion, dragonpie gives you the best combination of hunger, health, slow spoilage, and easy availability of ingredients.

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I just reached day 20 (a day before winter starts) and I have a small berry farm and I have 2 crock pots. I have only 2 bunny traps but I only use them if I run out of fruit/vegetables, I have 3 advanced farming units and altogether it makes an almost perfect food source because they all relate to the crock pot recipes. I think that having crock pots is the best thing you could do for food, there is almost no completely reliable sources for food so make sure to have back-ups. Also for your base make it reasonably close to pig villages, beefalos and bunny holes.

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Rabbits and drying racks are the key to long term success. Just put a trap right over the rabbit holes and then go about your business then come back once a day and repeat.

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Beefalos and Drying racks, and honey and crock pots, emergency food should be rabbits, and bird traps (seeds are easy to come by for bait) and feeding a bird in a cage (gotta build the cage) any meat gets you an egg, great for recipes in crock pot

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