To keep your dwarves well-fed (and to collect more bones for crafting) in Dwarf Fortress, you will need to shepherd various animals for their meat. Cow and other herbivores are great sources of food, and thus, you have to feed them as well to keep the food production and economy wheels running. Here’s how you can feed herbivore animals or grazers, as the game calls them, in Dwarf Fortress.
How to Feed Grazers or Herbivore Animals Through Pastures in Dwarf Fortress
Livestock or other grazing herbivores can be placed in a pasture to provide for themselves. To make pastures, simply go to the Zone menu and look for the Pen/Pasture option. It has a horse icon and shouldn’t be too hard to find. Create pastures in areas with grass or cave moss as a food source so your animals can eat — however, pigs are a special case. They don’t need grass tiles and food sources.
Now to let them graze in your pastures, assign the animals by bringing up the Zone menu, selecting the placed pasture, opening the Info tabs, and clicking the rabbit icon. There you can easily add or remove grazers from a pasture.
As you can expect, pastures can easily be crowded, so you need to adjust your pasture size depending on your livestock’s number as well as their size. For example, hares will obviously need less space and eat less than cows. Overcrowded pastures also will make animals that share tiles enraged and start fighting among themselves.
Below is the list of optimal pasture sizes for some herbivores, according to the Dwarf Fortress Wiki. I suggest you check out that page for more details as well as the more complete list of pasture sizes.
|Pasture Size per Individual
|1 x 1
|3 x 2
|3 x 2
|4 x 4
|5 x 5
|5 x 5
|7 x 5
|8 x 5
Lastly, pasturing a cat in a food stockpile can help remove vermin. And if you need to feed carnivores, they won’t be sated by grazing and will eat meat and eggs in your stockpiles instead.