I'm sick of all these horses, cows and donkeys wandering round my fortress. I want to put them all somewhere and have them stay there. In short, I want a farm. It would be nice if the animals had some space to roam and if they could still breed too.

What's the best way to achieve this? Should I cage them all up transport them somewhere with doors that aren't passable to animals and then let them out?

Is there a better way?

To make this plan work, will I need to provide the critters with food and water? How best to achieve this?

  • possible duplicate of Dwarf Fortress Animal Segregation Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 15:44
  • @antony Disagree, additional question here about food and water, etc. Definitely related though.
    – C. Ross
    Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 17:13
  • Related certainly. Have edited question to make clear how this is not a duplicate.
    – Seamus
    Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 17:16

2 Answers 2


If you want to accomplish anything you'll probably want to build a cage (or multiple) and have it in one room. Assign all the animals to the cage(s) and keep them in there. You'll probably want to make a zoo from that cage.

What this means is that you don't need to feed/water them while they're in the cage, they can't move around so they won't eat your framerate, and by making it a zoo you even give your dwarves happy thoughts for watching animals, and even have another meeting hall.

If you put them all in an enclosed space they will still try to sneak out whenever a dwarf opens the door, and they will keep walking around which will hurt your framerate.

  • If they are in a cage, can I mark them for slaughter, or do I have to let one out and then mark it for slaughter?
    – Seamus
    Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 15:29
  • 1
    Also, I just found this: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/3587/… how does this compare?
    – Seamus
    Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 15:37
  • Yes, you can mark them for slaughter while they are in their cage.
    – user56
    Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 15:37
  • @Seamus - The pit method will still kill your framerate since you allow the animals to freely roam.
    – user56
    Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 15:38
  • 3
    note that this method prevents breeding, as cows can't be impregnated while in a cage. Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 16:46

If you want to have a traditional "farm" where the cows will reproduce, you'll have to use ropes or chains. Assign one animal to each chain/rope. Unlike a cage, your animals will still be able to reproduce.

For bonus points, you can build "watch towers" that have your cows on it. This is so you can spot invaders the moment they arrive. All you have to do is build a raised platform with some chains on top. I use access tunnels that go underground so there are no stairs or ramps that the invaders can use to get to the animals. Archers could still be a problem though. Early detection on an invasion can save the lives of your "outdoor dwarfs".

Hope that helps

  • The only disadvantage is that they can still walk around, and hence pull your framerate down.
    – user56
    Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 16:40
  • 2
    I thought that since a restraint restricted movement, it meant less computation time? Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 16:47
  • Less, but within a cage it doesn't move at all. With a restraint it still has a cube of 3x3 around the restraint where it can move.
    – user56
    Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 17:23
  • Cages gives you better frame rates, smaller used space, and the ability to have a zoo. Restraints (rope/chain) allows for reproduction and invasion detection. Choosing which one to use depends on what you want to achieve. You do get a frame rate boost by using restraints, but not as big of a boost as using cages. Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 20:15
  • 1
    love the cow watchtowers. "Mooooooo"..."oh no, Bessie's spotted an invader!"
    – Epaga
    Commented Aug 31, 2010 at 11:08

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