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• 12/1/2014

Animal Care Experiment

So, another wiki contributor made a comment on one of the pages about an experiment they were planning with cows. I decided to take inspiration and test out sheep and chickens as well, on a much smaller scale.

My first result is in and it confirms something important: the amount of care you give an animal does affect when it will start producing better products. This suggests there is indeed a hidden statistic for each of your animals which is based on the amount of care you've given it. It also disproves the year theory which I've seen floating around (1 year from 1 produce tier to the next).

Here are my results so far:

On Winter 1, Year 4, I placed 2 chickens, 2 sheep and 1 cow. One of each species receives full care. The other sheep and chicken receive only food (apart from egg harvesting/shearing). There's no full care cow because the other wiki contributor will do a better cow experiment.

Full care chicken: placed Winter 1 Y4; medium egg Spring 17 Y5; large Winter 2 Y5; gold Fall 2 Y6

No care chicken: placed Winter 1 Y4; still producing small eggs as of Fall 2 Y6

Full care sheep: placed Winter 1 Y4; medium wool Spring 14 Y5; large Winter 2 Y5; gold Summer 4 Y6

No care sheep: placed Winter 1 Y4; still producing small wool as of Fall 2 Y6

Full care cow: placed Winter 1 Y4; medium milk Spring 12-14?? Y5, large milk Winter 1 Y5; gold milk Summer 1 Y6

Note: Unfortunately, after 1 and a half in-game months I was basically sleepwalking through the routine of caring for them and didn't notice exactly when the cow started producing medium milk. Also, as sheep can only be sheared every 3 days, it may have reached medium wool level at any point in the 3 days after its last small wool shearing. So it's difficult to pin down the exact timing of both, but as I now suspect cows and sheep both level up at the same time if given the same amount of care, the other wiki contributor's experiment may be able to give a more precise timing, provided they are more attentive than me ;)

So, in any case, it seems like it takes somewhere between 30-34 days for sheep and cows to go from small to medium if they are given full care every day. I'll continue the experiment to get more results, then post 'em here.

Edit: full care chicken gave its first medium egg on Spring 17, which suggests ~37 days for a chicken to go from small to medium with full daily care.

2nd Edit: Full care cow finally reached large milk on Winter 1, Y5, exactly one year after I put it in my barn. This means it took at least 45 days to get from medium to large. I expect the full care sheep will give large wool on Winter 2 (its next shearing)

3rd Edit: Full care chicken and full care sheep both reached large on Winter 2 Y5. (Actually, the full care sheep gave medium, but the 4 other sheep I placed on Winter 1 Y5 gave large - I think I just forgot to brush the full care sheep a couple of times - it's at the end of a row of cows so I must have switched to the milk pump before remembering to brush it)

4th edit: All my cows reached gold milk on Summer 1 Year 6, at least a month earlier than I expected (which is a little odd!). As the experiment started on Winter 1 Y4, this means it took precisely one year and a half, or 120 days. But the chicken and sheep are still on large. I guess they will upgrade soon too.

5th edit: full care sheep got gold on Summer 4 Y6, full care chicken is still holding out on me. 

6th edit: full care chicken finally got there on Fall 2 Y6. Weirdly long time.

Anyway, that marks the conclusion of the experiment. I've given hope on those no care animals. So here are my results:

Full care chicken: S to M 37 days, M to L 44 days, L to G 60 days ... TOTAL S to G: ~141 days

Full care cow: S to M 30-36 days, M to L 40-44 days, L to G 40 days ... TOTAL S to G: 120 days

Full care sheep: S to M 33 days, M to L 48 days, L to G 42 days ... TOTAL S to G: 123 days


1. Chickens seem to take the longest overall to reach gold level. Cows and sheep are roughly on par. Sheep took a few days longer than cows, but this might be attributable to the fact you can only shear sheep every 3 days, making it impossible to observe their produce level in the intervening period. There is also some likely human error where I may have forgotten to fully care for the sheep on a small number of days.

2. Giving extra care (picking up/brushing/talking) to animals is the only way to upgrade their produce. This seems to be linked to some hidden statistic, which for simplicity's sake we will call "affection". Feeding and milking/shearing does not raise affection.

3. However, extra care seems to have no other benefit apart from raising affection. Therefore, it is entirely optional. If you want/need to, you can neglect to brush/talk to/pick up your animals. Their affection will not drop, they will remain happy, and they will continue giving produce as long as they are fed every day. In particular, there is virtually no benefit to continuing to give your animals extra care once they reach gold tier (apart from to help protect against product downgrading, as mentioned in the next point)

4. Feeding is essential. If you do not feed your animals, they will suffer a drop in affection each time they are not fed, possibly causing their produce to downgrade. (After gold tier you can protect against this by continuing to brush/talk to/pick up your animals for a while after they reach gold, to build up an affection "buffer zone".) They also will not give produce the day after not being fed. If you continue to starve your animals, they will die.

That's about it. I'll get to work on updating the Raising Animals page :)

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• 11/30/2014

Yeah, it's not fun, is it? I've been going on walks to replenish my berry hoard or fight monsters - as soon as it gets dark I use my recall and go to bed - and doing little building projects around my farm just to shake things up a little. Otherwise I just sleep 2-3 times to get to the next day quicker.

Am now in late Spring of Year 6. If my prediction of 60ish days was correct, they should get to gold in fall this year, so at least my goal might be in sight. Notes:

1. My no care chicken and sheep are still giving small products... I am reasonably convinced now that they won't upgrade at all without extra care.

2. I placed 4 other full care sheep and 4 other full care cows at the start. They've almost all upgraded on the same day and I'm fairly certain the exceptions are due to human error, not any factor/variation written into the game.

3. The gold cow and gold sheep that I stopped giving full care to are still giving me gold products.  (Although I do forget and talk to or brush them sometimes by accident.) This leads me to believe it's probably no longer necessary to give them anything except food after they've upgraded to gold. So, it does take quite a lot of time and effort to get them to gold, but after that they'll give you a lot of money for very little effort, which makes it very worthwhile to buy some as early as possible so they'll become your best source of income in the late game.

4. Sometimes when shearing sheep they glitch through their stalls, ending up in the corridor between the stalls, or in the fence/wall that's meant to contain them. It's a huge pain to get them back in if your barn has very small corridors, so I think it's better to leave at least a 2 block wide corridor between stalls and preferably 1 block wide corridors behind. I'd better note that down in the Efficient Barn Design section of the Raising Animals page...

3. I think I started the experiment with about $200,000. Now, a year and a half later I have $650,000 despite having spent a fair amount on extra troughs, feeders and building supplies. Not kidding about that "best source of income" thing. Mining has too many limitations to compete at the moment, and it's hard to do both in the same day because of the long distances you have to walk to reach diamonds. Caring for animals is really boring and repetitive as it stands, though.

• 11/30/2014

Holy cow, pun not intended. You started with $200,000? I remember feeling accomplished when I finally paid off the farm debt, and then seeing the upgrade(s?) and thinking "ppsh, I'm not gonna spend ten times as long just to get the same thing I just bought. Who even has access to that kind of money?" (Of course, I don't farm and before that I wasn't raising animals, just mining money... which as you pointed out, is much harder / diminishing returns unless you set up hunting lodges in the wild and spend time stockpiling them.)

I think I started with $19 in my account. -_- Admittedly, after buying 18 cows, 60 something troughs, all the tools, and getting the skeleton of my buildings down so I could start using them.

No clue how much I've made, although I can guestimate based off of the milk prices around $1,300-$1,800 a day. Not gonna see much profit for a while, since I'm intentionally neglecting some of my livestock, so currently I'm at 6 medium milk, 7-12 small milk.

Been spending it all on finishing my farm (I'm now out of space and eyeballing that $200k upgrade I was scoffing at earlier), buying more troughs, and stuff like that. Had to set aside a SECOND building for troughs, my first one ran out of room after about 90 or so.

Might post a screenshot if I can figure out an easy way to do so, I'm kinda proud at how economical it is, the thouroughput is straightforward and every tile of space is in use, either as a walkway or a building. The only thing taking up more room than necessary is my house, which has a lot of unnecessary floor space, but hey, when you're making a grand a day, you deserve leg room. >.>

• 11/30/2014

I tell ya what though, after I finish Project Moo, I'm restarting. My OCD is firing like crazy, having lopsided cows that don't all produce the same thing at the same time, and it'd take just as much time to restart from scratch as it would to get the neglected cows up to speed.

Only problem I have though is raising livestock takes entirely too long, by the time you finish caring for your animals, your day is half over and you don't have time for any exploring. It's the same reason why I still haven't done any farming, the mechanics shackle you to your home base, because if you wander off too far, all your hard work dies on ya.

It's almost like this game is a marriage simulator. >.> I remember Year 1, when my character was a fresh bulb out to conquer the world. He used to go on fifty screen hikes, not come home for months at a time, just his trusty super backpacks and a set of diamond tools and equipment, fighting and mining until he finally ran out of inventory space, then slapping down a flag (one fence post placed with a leather dropped above it) to mark how far he had gone before Recalling home.

Now, he spends half his day tending to business around the home, and the furthest he travels is to the store whenever he runs out of roofing tiles, or maybe his backyard to harvest berries for dinner. He never goes anywhere without his pocket watch, because forbid he ever be late home, and the closest thing he gets to an aventure nowadays is when he has to chase bees out of the house.

• 11/30/2014

Yeah, I think most of the $200k I started the experiment with was from selling diamond tools. I went on a few really long journeys before I began the experiment, partly to test the feeding service - it seems like it works indefinitely as long as you don't go back to your farm, so that alone goes a long way to making long adventures more feasible when you've got animals. It's really too expensive for early players though, and having to buy it over and over again will get old fast. And then your animals don't produce anything during that time...

Still, I imagine the dev may have some more practical solutions in the works (having hinted to "secret stuff" in development in some recent upgrade notes). I hope there will be some new content. After this experiment, I'll probably go on a long adventure because I miss mining and fighting, but after that... I've basically completed all the content so I might just take a hiatus until more stuff's added.

p.s. the farm upgrade you speak of is indeed the last farm upgrade at present. It's more space than 99.9% of players will ever need, I think. 

• 11/30/2014

Hmm, my cow upgraded to gold milk on Summer 1 Year 6, exactly one year and a half since the experiment began. The sheep and chicken both gave large today, but hopefully they will upgrade in the next few days! The end is in sight!

edit: and full care sheep reached gold on Summer 4! Just full care chicken to go.

• 12/1/2014

Very nice! So a year and a half, or 120 days total? That means I'm 1/3 of the way there with my groomed cows, unless I'm misunderstanding!

Will resume in a bit, but taking a short break from Project Moo. Figure I want to see the new "secret stuff" update as well before resuming. Be nice if he ever sets it up so pocket wathches work in backpacks, right now with cows producing scattered milk, it takes like 5 to carry.


• 12/1/2014

So I finished up summer, and currently two groups are making M Milk (A & F, as predicted), the other four S Milk.

This autumn is gonna be a slog, none of my animals will upgrade (if our figuring is right) so it'll just be a month of repetition just pushing to get through. Since it took 31 days to go from S->M with full care, I presume at a minimum 62 days with half care. (Unless one type of care is weighed heavier than the other.)

But winter will be interesting. Two of my animal sets should boost up to Large (again, if our math is correct) and if half-tending has any effect, two others should boost up to Medium.

Then the following spring is going to suck, since I'll have 2 slots of small milk, 2 slots of medium milk, and 2 slots of large milk. Will have to put away something (probably the pocket watch) to make sure I have enough space to carry it all in one trip.

• 12/1/2014

A year and a half is 120 days, so both! 20 days in a season, 4 seasons in a year, so 80 days in a year.

In regards to inventory space, I've only kept a backpack in my main inventory and left all other slots empty for tools/animal produce. To save on trips to the selling box I put all the produce I've just harvested in the tool chest by my animals and then only take out full stacks of 4 to be sold in order to use space most efficiently.

Something interesting happened - I forgot to fill up my troughs on time so some of my animals weren't fed for a day. At this point all my cows were at gold level, but after not being fed for one day, 2 of them gave the "..." bubble and downgraded to large milk. I can't remember if any of the others gave the "..." bubble (I think 5 of my older cows might have as well, but my memory isn't clear), but all 8 others definitely gave gold milk. So this proves that not feeding animals can cause their hidden statistic to drop, possibly resulting in their produce downgrading. But not brushing/talking to animals does not seem to cause a drop in their hidden stat at all.

I think from this that the hidden statistic can continue to rise after reaching gold tier, and that you can use this to your advantage to build up their statistic beyond what is necessary so that if you do neglect to feed them for some reason, they won't immediately downgrade to large milk. This probably explains why my 5 older cows might have given the "..." bubble but still gave gold milk, because I brushed and talked to my older cows long after they reached gold, whereas I stopped giving extra care to my newer cows as soon as they gave gold milk.

Anyway, just waiting for my full care chicken to give gold now... it's taking a bizarrely long time. It upgraded to large at the same time as my full care sheep so I thought it'd reach gold at a similar time too. Oh well, am using this time to stock up on gold milk and gold eggs, which, being more effective than most foods as far as I can tell, will make a good space-saving food supply for a big adventure. Once the chicken gets to gold I'll conclude the experiment (I think the no care chicken and sheep are a lost cause at this point) and update the Raising Animals page to reflect what I've learned.

• 12/1/2014

Full care chicken reached gold on Fall 2 Y6. The experiment's finally over! I added my conclusions to the end of the original post. I'll start updating the Raising Animals page soon, though I might first try to work out how quickly each animal pays for itself in light of my data. 

• 4/9/2015

really it takes two years of full care on chickens for a golden egg? that only seems worth it if you are saving money for a confusing map to reset the wilderness because you took it all like I am doing

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