Animal husbandry

From Vintage Story Wiki
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This page was last verified for Vintage Story version 1.16.


Domestication is the concept of animals losing fear of and aggressiveness towards players over generations.

Vintage Story includes a number of game mechanics that allow the domestication of some of the animals that roam the world. To domesticate animals, players must capture at least one male and one female so that offspring can be bred to become more and more accustomed to the player. The animals' behavior changes after multiple generations - you can't change aggressiveness and fear of a specific animal; only their offspring will be less fearful and aggressive towards the player. Even after reaching high generations, boars and bighorn sheep will still become aggressive when attacked.

Generational changes

Only the mother's heritage matters; the father is not considered when checking for the offspring's generation. This means, if you have a female gen3 and a male gen4, the offspring will always be gen4, as the offspring will always be one generation higher than the mother.

After 1 generation:

  • Animals can be pet. Petting causes the animal to stand peacefully.

After 3 generations:

  • Animals can be killed in one hit with the cleaver , by holding Right mouse button for a few seconds; careful which creature you're aiming at when releasing the mouse.

After 10 generations:

  • Sleeping animals will no longer wake when a player approaches.
  • Aggressive animals will become neutral (i.e. only attack when provoked) and roosters will stop attacking each other.
  • Animals will no longer run away from the player.

For testing purposes, there is a command which the player can use to change the generation of livestock:

  • Version 1.18.15 and previous:/debug setgen [number] - with number being the generation the player wants the animal to be.
  • Version 1.19rc8: /entity cmd l[] setgen [number] while looking at the animal.

Moving Animals

As of version 1.16.5, the game does not have leashes or similar means to easily transport animals, either for capturing wild ones, or moving already domesticated ones.

Capturing Wild Animals

For capturing wild animals, three different methods can be employed:

  1. Craft: Create a Reed Basket Trap and insert the appropriate food item as bait. Small creatures might enter the trap. The player then has 24 game-hours to transport the captured animal to an enclosure and release it before it dies inside the basket. Note that the player must have an empty backpack slot to pick up and transport these traps once an animal is inside.
  2. Active: Provoke the animal with a weak attack. In return, it will try to attack the player. If the player then runs away, they will follow for a short distance. Alternatively, the animal may flee, in which case the player can chase them towards the desired location. This behavior can be used to guide them into previously prepared animal pens. If the player encounters a group of animals together, focus on the males, as females will follow their male counterpart. Wild hens will always try to flee from the player, while wild roosters will occasionally try to attack; again, use this to your advantage by leading them into a pen.
  3. Passive: In an area nearby the desired animals, dig a pit at least 2 blocks deep and place a trough with the appropriate food portions in it. Wait for the animals to fall into the pit trap, and convert the pit into the animal pen. Players may also dig a "moat" around the desired animal pen. As long as the desired food is placed correctly inside the pen, wild animals may be drawn to it and become trapped.

Moving Domesticated Animals

Example of a bighorn sheep walking to their new enclosure through a funelling system

Moving animals around can be complicated after the player has already started breeding them, as animals will loose their fear of the player after generation 10, and might not easily run away or be provoked to attack and follow. Therefore, as an alternative to the above mentioned methods, a funneling technique can be employed to move animals or even separate them if need be, for instance to cull lower generations.
To achieve this, the player needs:

  • At least one trough
  • Plenty of fence
  • The appropriate food for the animals.

Then simply build a corridor from the original enclosure to the next one (or an in between stop). Place a filled trough in the new enclosure, and open the corridor on both ends. Make sure you are in a good position to place fences in the corridor as need be. The animals will start walking from the original enclosure towards the one with the filled trough, and the player should have enough time and space to place fences to separate the animals from each other. Depending on where the trough is placed, the walking direction of the animals can be influenced to give the player even more opportunity to intervene and pull animals out of the herd.

Another useful moving technique is water. Be careful, though; water also lifts animals up, so they can climb fences of single height.


All animals must consume portions of feed in order to breed. Placing the appropriate amount of dry grass, grain , vegetables, or fruit mash into the proper-sized trough (or, for hares, simply dropping the food items on the ground nearby) allows players to feed different animals, depending on their food preference. Both male and female animals must eat until they become satiated in order to produce offspring. The Block info HUD shows the level of satiation when a player looks at an animal. It will also show the creature weight, generation, whether an animal is ready to breed, ready for milking, or at risk of disappearing due to darkness.
Animals can consume food from 0.6 blocks away and mate at a distance of up to 10 blocks away.

Each food portion gives 1.0 satiation. After reaching the "Ready to mate" stage, larger female mammals need to eat 10 portions of feed, hens need 4, and hares need 2 in order to become pregnant. Males don't show their satiation in the Block info HUD, but they need a satiation value of at least 1.0 to mate. (Note that since their satiation slowly goes down, on average they need to eat at least twice to be able to mate with a female). After mating, both the male and female parents’ satiation level will reset to zero.

(Note: Feed is not required for captured or domesticated animals to survive. They cannot starve to death. Additionally, all the time frames listed below assume the player has default, 9-day months. The length of gestation and maturation will scale accordingly if this setting is altered.)


Pigs eat food placed in a large trough : any grains (except rice), certain vegetables (turnips, carrots, onions, cabbages, and pumpkins), and fruit mash. Once the sows are ready to mate, they need to eat 10 portions before they can become pregnant. After a pregnancy of 25 in-game days, sows bear litters of multiple piglets (4-6) at a time, so be sure the pen is large enough to accommodate a "pigsplosion", which may occur when breeding multiple females simultaneously. Piglets take 158 game-hours to mature, and have a 75% chance of being female and a 25% chance of being male. Sows will not become pregnant again until after 6-11 days have passed.
Note that boars (and sometimes sows) will attack players when in close range but will become passive after 10 generations. When piglets are nearby, boars and sows that were peaceful during pregnancy will become aggressive.


Sheep eat food placed in a large trough : dry grass (or hay), grains (except rice), vegetables (except parsnips), or fruit mash[1]. When the Block info HUD says ewes are ready to mate, they need to eat 10 portions of food from a large trough. After a gestation period of 20 days, ewes bear one lamb at a time, and the chances for male or female are 50/50. Lambs take 336 game-hours to grow up, and ewes will take 4-11 days before they are ready to breed again.
Note that male sheep (and sometimes the females) will always attack players when in close range, and will not stop until after 10 generations of breeding.


Goats eat food placed in a large trough : dry grass (or hay), grains (except rice), vegetables (except parsnips), or fruit mash[2]. When the Block info HUD says nannies are ready to mate, they need to eat 10 portions[3] of food from a large trough. If an adult male of the same type is within 10 blocks[4], she will become pregnant shortly. After a gestation period of 20 days,[5] nannies bear one kid at a time.[6] The chances for male or female are 50/50.[7] Kids take 336 game-hours to grow up,[8] and the nannies will need 4-11 days[9] before they are ready to breed again.
Unlike sheep, goats are safe from random bear attacks.


Chickens will only eat grain placed in small troughs. Although hens will lay eggs on their own every 8-15 days, a hen needs to reach a satiety of 4 and have a rooster close before they can mate to produce fertile eggs. Once ready, a henbox will be necessary in order for the fertilized eggs to hatch after a proper incubation period of 5 days. If every henbox is occupied, or none are available, hens will start laying eggs on the ground, where they will not be able to hatch. They can be picked up within 48 game-hours before they disappear. Once a henbox has 3 fertilized eggs, a broody hen will sit on them periodically throughout the incubation period until they hatch. If a player or other hostile entity gets too close to the hen, they will get spooked and run off, prolonging the incubation period.

Once the eggs hatch, a chick will appear, which will grow up after 168 hours (7 days), with a 90% chance to be a hen and only a 10% chance to be a rooster. Once a hen has laid an egg, they will have to wait 1-2 hours before they're ready to lay again.


Hares can eat from a large trough, and can also consume any vegetable items tossed on the ground nearby. Though the Block info HUD will not indicate when they are ready to mate, adult females need to eat 2 portions[10] of food. If an adult male is within 10 blocks[11], she will become pregnant shortly. After a gestation period of 5 days,[12] hares bear litters of 1-4 leverets at a time.[13] Leverets take 336 game-hours to mature,[14] and the females need to wait 2-5 days[15] before they are ready to breed again.
After awhile, the Block info HUD will show that some of the hares are generation 1, i.e. not quite wild anymore. They still flee the player at gen 5, but not at gen 10.

Harvesting and Butchering


Domesticated and/or wild animals can be killed and harvested for meat , raw hides , bones , and fat .

  • In order to harvest, a player must Shift+right click with a knife in hand to harvest or butcher animals.
Note: The amount of items acquired by this method depends on the weight condition of the animal.


Tooltip on an ewe that gave birth recently.

Ewes lactate for 21 days after giving birth. When hovering over an ewe, if tooltips are enabled, it will indicate if it's lactating. Ewes will indicate lactating regardless of generation. However, the milking process might vary:

  • Generation 0 and 1: If you hold right click while carrying a bucket, you risk distressing the ewe too much that it won't provide milk for the rest of the day. The best way to do it involves holding right click up until the ewe feels distresses enough to reject your bucket. At that point, you must release right click and wait a couple seconds until the ewe relaxes itself. Repeat this process until the bucket stays long enough for you to properly milk the animal.
  • Generation 2 and above: Ewes can be milked easily by just holding right click while holding a bucket, however there remains a 5% chance for them to become distressed even at this and all following levels of domestication.
Note: Ewes cannot be milked every day, despite lactating. This can be checked by reading the tooltip.

The milk can either be consumed directly when taken from the bucket with a bowl, or used in a barrel to make cheese .

Female goats can also be milked after giving birth.

Creature Weight and Darkness

Two parts of husbandry that may be confusing for new players are the creature weight and darkness mechanics.

Creature Weight

The Block info HUD shows a property called "Creature Weight" which can appear as good, decent, low, or starving. A lower creature weight causes fewer items to be dropped when an animal is killed. This is an issue over winter, or in cold areas, as it can significantly reduce the yield of livestock. Keeping animals well-fed prevents their weight from decreasing.


Many animals will disappear if they are in darkness for too long and players can see if animals will disappear by looking at the Block info HUD. Light sources like oil lamps or lanterns, as well as sunlight, can prevent animals from disappearing. This is the only way for animals to despawn without being killed.

Other animals

Bees cannot be domesticated, but the art of beekeeping can help them be put in a 'controlled environment' as to be able to harvest their produce without having to kill them all off.

Goats (and other species in the goat family, such as musk ox) behave in most respects like sheep: they can be bred and females can milked after giving birth.

Deer (and other species in the deer family, such as moose) will eat from troughs but not become pregnant after 10 portions, even with a male nearby.

Foxes , hyenas , gazelles , raccoons , wolves and bears cannot be domesticated and will have to be trapped and/or hunted down in order to reap the fruits of their dead bodies: meat , fat , hides and bones .


  • The ability to transport small animals in baskets was added in version 1.19.0-pre.1: "Animal catching: Domesticated animals can be picked up with a basket." Official Devlog According to the teaser image, the captured animal will die within a day if not released. Apparently, a populated basket occupies a backpack slot, like a populated skep does (that is, replaces a backpack rather than fits inside one).
  • Prior to version 1.19, wild boars and sows were passive unless provoked, even when piglets were nearby.


  • Females try to stay near males, and babies try to stay near adult females. Occasionally they will start running to close the gap.
  • The ability to breed hares needs to be confirmed by more players without mods.


See also


  1. Lines 12-14 of sheep-bighorn-female.json
  2. Lines 58-61 of goat.json
  3. Line 442 of goat.json
  4. Lines 432-435 of goat.json
  5. Line 439 of goat.json
  6. Lines 429-437 of goat.json
  7. Needs confirmation; lines 429-455 of goat.json are unclear.
  8. Lines 451 of goat.json
  9. Lines 440-441 of goat.json
  10. Line 117 of hare-female.json
  11. Lines 109-110 of hare-female.json
  12. Line 114 of hare-female.json
  13. Lines 111-112 of hare-female.json
  14. Line 85 of hare-baby.json
  15. Lines 115-116 of hare-female.json

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