Tired of going hunting? Start your own animal farm! Breeding chickens is a good way to start, but it can get complicated. In this guide you will find everything there is to know about maintaining a self-sustainable chicken farm to keep your colonists fed for the years to come.
So you want to start up a small chicken farm but you are a little lost…
- Where do you get them chickens?
- Do you need to tame every hen & rooster?
- How can you get more fertilized eggs to have a bigger farm?
- How can you stop roosters to fertilize eggs so you can begin to eat them?
- Winter is coming. Will you have enough food for them?
- Are there any mods that will help you with the farm?
How to breed roosters and hens
There are three different ways of acquiring your first chickens.
- Find a merchant that trades hens and roosters, and buy at least one of each. Buying multiple hens at this point will ensure you have more chicks or eggs sooner, but we recommend to buy only one rooster.
- Find a merchant that sells fertilized chicken eggs. In this case, there is no way of knowing whether the born chicks will be male or female, so buy plenty to make sure there is at least one rooster.
- Sometimes a self-tamed event will trigger that will cause some roosters and hens to join your colony.
Taming hens & roosters
Roosters you bought directly from merchants don’t need to be tamed, they will go wherever you tell them to via an animal area. But if you bought fertilized eggs instead, hens and roosters will have to be tamed or they will leave. So you will have to tame each and every one of the chicks that came out of the eggs, but make sure your colonists don’t bond with them. Remember: they are cute and fluffy, but you are breeding them for food.
You will be slaughtering roosters to feed your colony, so you need to keep breeding them. You need at least, one rooster to fertilize all your hens.
You need an adult rooster and an adult hen to get some lovin’ and then the female will lay fertilized eggs after a pregnancy period. Fertilized chicken eggs will take approximately 3.5 days to hatch. You can follow the egg progress by clicking on it. Make sure they are stored in a warm area inside a building so they will not degrade. Warning! If you place fertilized eggs on a freezer or leave them outside in the cold, the embryo will die and the eggs will become useless (not even edible).
Make sure you uncheck fertilized eggs in your fridge storage or they will be stored there automatically and die.
Feeding the Chickens
Like most animals, chickens will eat the grass found in the map if there is any, so you don’t really need to feed them while the weather is good and if they have enough space. Make sure to keep your chickens on a fenced area as wolves and other predators will feast on them otherwise.
Breeding chickens starts slowly but eventually grows exponentially.
In cold seasons, the natural grass will die, so you will have to produce hay or kibble (or any vegetables available). You can store hay and kibble all year round with no access for animals, waiting for winter to come. When winter comes, place the food somewhere in reach of the animals, or allow the chickens to enter the storage area.
Make sure their temperature is suitable for chickens, if you leave them out in the open in temperatures under 0º they will die. In temperatures over 50º they will die as well.
Too many chickens!
You need to feed your chickens until they are ready for slaughter. If you allow them to reproduce faster than your colonists are eating them, you will end up with a huge amount of them, and that requires many resources.
To avoid this situation, once you have enough hens, keep only one rooster in a separate zone in your farm (slaughter all the other roosters). You can move him into the area with females whenever you need more chickens. While your hens aren’t being fertilized, they will lay unfertilized chicken eggs that you can also put in meals.
Facts about Chickens and Hens
- Chickens lay 1 egg every 1.7 days.
- They breed every 8 hours.
- A chicken egg takes 3.5 days to hatch.
- Therefore, the reproduction rate of a chicken is 1 every 5.533 days per female.
- A chicken takes 7.2 days to become a juvenile, and a total of 18 days to reach adulthood.
Meat obtained from chickens
- Unfertilized chicken egg: 5 meat
- Chick: 5 meat
- Juvenile: 16 meat
- Adult: 22 meat
No leather is yielded when slaughtering hens or roosters.
Useful mods to have a happier and efficient farm
We recommend using the Colony Manager Mod. It will allow you to set zones specific for chickens that will be assigned to new chicks automatically. In addition, you can assign zones for chickens that are marked for slaughter, and they will move there automatically. If you set a maximum amount of hens and chickens, the spare ones will be marked for slaughter automatically.
In conclusion, a good use of this mod can make your farm auto-sustainable.