RimWorld Animal Handling Guide

by khun_poo

(I) Introduction
Animals are our best friends in Rimworld and our demise when they’re manhunting. They have many use when trained properly. Some animals can become our main arsenal against raiders. Even a seemingly useless animal can still nuzzle a colonist and brighten the day. So I made this guide to encourage more players to use animals and experience how amazing they are. Feel free to enhance or correct my guide if necessary.

(II) Choosing the Handler
The first step to tame and train animals is a good handler.

-Health-
The success chance to tame or train animals is based on manipulation and talking.A handler with a missing jaw may find it difficult to handle their animals. And since animal handling consists mostly of walking,
your handler needs a healthy pair of legs.

-Traits-

Move speed – Jogger or Fast walker is always good to have for every pawn.
Psychopath – Since your handler is the most likely person to form bonds with your animals, this trait is a good way to prevent this.
Mood bonus – Sanguine, Optimist, Iron will, Steadfast. Handlers work outside and in dirty or bloody environments and if they aren’t psychos they have to deal with the eventual loss of a bonded animal.

Global workspeed – Handling does not require global work speed, except for milking and sheering. So even a slothful Handler is ( nearly ) as effective as a Hard Worker.
Night owl – Good trait for a Doctor, less so for a job that needs the animals awake.

-Training handling-
It is a slow and painful process to train handler. ( sometimes literally ) Passion in animal skill is a must. You can train your handler by taming and training animals with low wilderness, such as Alpacas or Dogs. They will level at a decent rate, when you order them to tame or train six or more animals everyday.

-Fighting styles-
All animals in the game are melee fighters. Using a brawler with a shield belt is your best choice, to counter angry animals and protect your handler from friendly fire. Brawler handler make good hunters as well. Sadly, Tynan removed melee hunting, so you have to manually order them to hunt. ( Now there you could use a Nightowl .. )
Lacking a brawler or decent melee pawn, a gunman is viable too. For Handling jobs a Trigger Happy pawn with a Shotgun or SMG is a good choice, dealing as much damage as possible at close range.

In combat against other pawns I suggest a long range weapon without burst fire ( bolt action or sniper rifle ) to prevent friendly fire on your animals.

(III) Type of animal
I separate animal into five categories. Hauler, Livestock, Pack animal, Predator and Combat.

-Hauler-
The most useful animals in the group, since these guys make you life more comfortable. I suggest to create a small army of hauling animals early in the game. There are many animal that are able to haul.

-Livestock-
AKA Grass to Meat Converters or Fabric Producers. These animals have the best green to red conversion rate or just beautiful hair. Very good for late game, when your growers can support the additional food requirements and you rather don’t waste time and health for hunting. Some of them also produce milk as a byproduct.

-Pack animal-
There are only five vanilla animals usable for caravans. Those animals are Alpacas (35 kg), Dromedaries (70 kg), Muffalo (73.5 kg), Homo Sapiens Coloniensis (35 kg) and Homo Sapiens Captivum(35 kg).

-Predator-
Many carnivorous animals hunt on their own, such as the fox or wolf. Some omnivores like bear hunt too. These predator are either dangerous when roaming free, since they tend to mistake your colonist and animals for easy meals. When tamed you can exploit this by letting them hunt for you.

-Combat-
Most animal in the game can be trained to be released in combat. The exceptions are cats and chickens. Good battle animals need to move fast, hit hard and last long on the battlefield. Boomrats and Boomalopes have the additional ability to explode on death. If controlled wisely you can restrict the damage to your enemies.

To decide which is the best animal in each category you need to look at its attributes like Hunger rate, Filth rate, Breeding rate, Wilderness rate, Hit point and Damage. I have compiled a list of the animals I like to use most in my colony.
Since polar and grizzly bears have identical stats I summarized them as Bears.

Top 5 + 1 hauling animals
1. Dog (Husky and labador)      2. Wild boar                            3.Wolf                       
Easy to train ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                   Easy to train ⋆⋆⋆⋆                     Easy to train ⋆⋆
Feed worthy ⋆⋆⋆                       Feed worthy ⋆⋆⋆⋆                     Feed worthy ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
Cleanliness ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                     Cleanliness ⋆⋆⋆                         Cleanliness ⋆⋆⋆
Speed ⋆⋆⋆⋆                              Speed ⋆⋆⋆⋆                              Speed ⋆⋆⋆⋆
Weight carry ⋆⋆⋆⋆                    Weight carry ⋆⋆⋆                       Weight carry ⋆⋆⋆⋆
Battle ⋆⋆⋆                                Battle ⋆⋆⋆                                Battle ⋆⋆⋆⋆
Breeding ⋆⋆⋆⋆                          Breeding ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                         Breeding ⋆⋆⋆

4.Bears                                 5. Fox                                    6. Elephant
Easy to train ⋆⋆                        Easy to train ⋆⋆                       Easy to train ⋆⋆     
Feed worthy ⋆⋆⋆                       Feed worthy ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                   Feed worthy ⋆
Cleanliness ⋆⋆                          Cleanliness ⋆⋆⋆⋆                      Cleanliness ⋆         
Speed ⋆⋆⋆                                Speed ⋆⋆⋆⋆                             Speed ⋆⋆⋆              
Weight carry ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                    Weight carry ⋆⋆                      Weight carry ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆       
Battle ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                              Battle ⋆⋆                                Battle ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                 
Breeding ⋆⋆                              Breeding ⋆⋆⋆                           Breeding ⋆

For hauling animals, I suggest to go for Wild boar since they are the all rounder. They’re easy to find and breed. They are decent in early battles too, but their main task is to haul so losses and wounded in this department might hurt you more, than you gain through their support in battle.
In middle and late game wild boars can become a danger to your fields, since they eat live plants. Try to buy dogs from traders for this or train wolves for this.
Dogs are the cleanest animal haulers in the game.and do not produce any filth around colony, which makes them ideal for indoor hauling jobs.
The downside of dogs is that they are always named which makes it a pain to find real bonded animals or counting them.

Carry weight doesn’t do much difference to haulers since the maximal stacksize is the hard limit anyway and you can count the Items with bigger stacks than 75 on one hand.
If you install mods that change the maximum capacity of item stacks (StackXXL), the carry weight will account for more when choosing your main hauling animal.

Top 3 Livestock
1.Chicken                                  2. Muffalo                            3. Cow
Food production ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                Food production ⋆⋆               Food production ⋆⋆⋆
Feed worthy ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                      Feed worthy ⋆⋆                    Feed worthy ⋆⋆⋆
Breeding  ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                          Breeding ⋆⋆⋆                        Breeding ⋆⋆⋆
Utility –                                     Utility ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                          Utility ⋆⋆⋆

Chicken still hold the crown of most OP livestock on the Rim. They are breeding so fast that they create lag. Chicken produce only meat and no leather when slaughtered and eggs every 1.5 days. Muffalos and cows produce milk as well and additional leather when slaughtered. I’ll add them just for completeness.

Top 3 Pack animals
1. Muffalo                                 2. Dromedary                     3. Alpaca
Carry capacity ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                  Carry capacity ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆            Carry capacity ⋆⋆⋆
Move speed ⋆⋆                          Move speed ⋆⋆                    Move speed ⋆⋆⋆⋆
Battle ⋆⋆⋆                                 Battle ⋆⋆⋆⋆                          Battle ⋆

Muffalos have the highest carry capacity and they are readily available in most biomes. They are average in anything else. Dromedaries are regularly found in hot biomes and are surprisingly hard hitters. But since they are so valuable for caravans, I don’t recommend using them in battle.
Alpacas are the fastest, so if you have a long journey ahead, you should consider using alpacas.

Top 3 Predators
1. Bears                                2. Cougar/Panther              3. Cat
DPS ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                                  DPS ⋆⋆⋆⋆                           DPS ⋆
Speed ⋆⋆⋆                                  Speed ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                      Speed ⋆⋆⋆⋆
Breeding ⋆⋆                                Breeding ⋆⋆⋆                     Breeding ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

The giant bears are the best predators in this game. Since predators only hunt prey that it equal or smaller in size than themselves, bears can hunt almost everything in the map. They can be trained to haul as well, so after a succesful hunt they might carry the remains to your butcher shop. The giant cats are fearful as the fastest animals in the game with equivalent damage to the bears.
Sadly they are no use for anything else except combat.
Lastly you may wonder why I choose the cat as the third best predator. If think purely about stats, Wolf, Warg or Fox seems far more superior to the cat. But if you think about roles it becomes clear. The cat will never hunt big game but all the small stuff her bigger cousins ignore. Cats will exterminate all the vermin on the map and even leave something over for you. This forces your other Hunters to concentrate on bigger pray. In addition cats breed at crazy speeds and sell for a nice sum of silver. You could use Cobras instead of cats, but their hunger rate is so low that they only hunt every other day.
On top of that, your hunting animals provide constant training for your Medical Pawns.

Top 5 Combat Animals
1. Thrumbo                               2. Bears                                3. Cougar/ Panther
DPS ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                                 DPS ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                                DPS ⋆⋆⋆⋆                                
Toughness ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                Toughness ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                       Toughness ⋆⋆⋆
Speed ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                              Speed ⋆⋆⋆                                Speed ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
Easy to train ⋆                           Easy to train ⋆⋆                        Easy to train ⋆⋆
Feed worthy ⋆                            Feed worthy ⋆⋆⋆                       Feed worthy ⋆⋆⋆⋆
Utility ⋆⋆⋆                                  Utility ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                             Utility ⋆⋆⋆

4. Elephant                                5. Boomrat/Boomalope
DPS ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                                  DPS – , (⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆ after dead)
Toughness ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆                        Toughness ⋆⋆⋆
Speed ⋆⋆⋆                                  Speed ⋆⋆
Easy to train ⋆⋆                          Easy to train ⋆⋆⋆
Feed worthy ⋆                            Feed worthy ⋆                   
Utility –                                     Utility –

Thrumbo, if you ever get one,  is stupidly OP in battle. Its tough like its bone were made from plasteel it will make a perfect meat shield in the battle while skewering
your enemies with its horn. Since it is a dendrivore (tree muncher) with a hunger rate to match, you better keep them confined in a barn or far away from any plants you plan on using yourself.
or it will turn your colony into a wasteland in no time. Better prepare a field of haygrass just for your thrumbo.
It’s insane 98% wildness and hunger rate make it also a crappy hauler, because it would take foreever to train them, and even if trained, they would spend most of their
time eating. If you find a hidden danger or you researched the tech, you might even consider to keep them on ice when you don’t need them, like your very own Space Marine Dreadnaught.

Elephant is the only one coming close to the stats of a thrumbo. But since it’s hunger rate is also a match they are nearly as useless as haulers.

Bears are actually the best all rounder as combat animals. They can hunt, haul and rescue, have good overall stats and are not that hard to train and I have yet to
see a bear losing a fight against a warg.

The giant Cats shine when the raiders start fleeing. They will make sure that no raider leaves your map alive. Even bionic legs are no guarantee for escape.

Boomrats and Boomalopes are your seeking missiles against early sieges and infestations. Even more so, if you started as tribals.
You can use zones to easily send your suicide squad wherever you need them to assemble. Then switch them to another zone for the attack.
Boomalopes are very slow and tough which is a bit counter productive in this role so it is best to combine them with boomrats as detonators.
But don’t forget to leave the pregnant ones and some males at home for the next time. 

For a tribe they are the only fire starters before finding incendiary launchers or molotov cocktails.
Against Infestations a single boomrat can burn down an entire hive (and your belongings).  Make sure to contain the spread and
let im some fresh air before trying to put out the fire. If nothing of worth is left, you can use grenades to speed up the process.

(IV) Zoning
To efficiently handle your animals, restricting them to zones is a must. You require at least 3 animal areas to use your colonies animals properly.

1st Zone-Type “Barn”
This area is the safe zone for all of your animals to hide in during dangerous incidents.
The Barn should have at least sleeping spots for your animals, a cooler, food stockpiles for grazers and carnivores and a lighting bulb.
Your Livestock, meaning all animals that can’t hunt, can’t be trainer or are not trained yet, should stay in the barn area.
This way your Handler saves massive amounts of time by having to walk less.
The cooler should keep your Barn refrigerated (around 0°C). This keeps the food for your carnivores and the harvested milk fresh.

Chicken should have their own coop (Zone), because they don’t survive a slight freezing and your omnivores don’t eat their eggs.

The light bulb is there to raise your operating success just in case you have to operate on your animals. It also looks nicer.

2nd Zone-Type “Haulers”
In the beginning just use the unrestricted area.
Later you should restrict the access of your hauling animals so they don’t get funny ideas about your drugs, booze or other edible stuff.

You can take this even further by dividing your hauling areas into different zones, to restrict omnivores and live plant eaters from your farming areas and
keep animals with a high filth rate out of your living areas to ease the burden of your cleaners.

3rd Zone-Type “Hunting Grounds”
This is how you get your predators to hunt for you. Restrict them from every place in your colony something edible is stored, so they would starve without hunting.
When the predator had it’s meal, one of your haulers will take the corpse into a restricted area.
You need to setup some sleeping spots for your Predators in this zone, so they return to your base for treatment.

You should also create a hunting area with access to food stockpiles, for when the wildlife on your map runs low.

4th Zone-Type “Chicken coop”
As mentioned in the Barn Section, you need a special place to keep your chickens.
You’ll need a both heater and a cooler in the coop, because chicken are sensible to all extreme temperatures.
Other than that make a copy of your barn.

Important Animal Raid evacuation tactic.
Preparation :
Assign a master to all your non combat animals, except chicken, who is NOT your Handler.
Choose an important pawn, like your main Doctor or another non-combatant who needs an extra meatshield.

When you get the incident message
1. Pause the game.
2. Click the animal tab and change the area of all animals, except chickens and combat animals, to the barn.
3. Set all of the animals to follow their master when drafted.
4. Draft and then undraft your evacuation master.
5. Unset all evacuated animals from following their master when drafted.

This trick is similiar to drafting and undrafting a pawn, to instantly search for new jobs.

(V) Animal food production
The hardest part of keeping livestock is keeping them fed. You need to control your animal population carefully so your food supply and farming capacity is able to keep up.

0. Pastures.
Assign some pastures for any animal that is able to graze.
Every tile of grass is a tile of food you don’t have to work for.
If you want to be especially tricky, you assign your pastures in a way that your animals keep the surroundings of your colony fireproof.

1. Haygrass.
Lots. Of. Haygrass. Around 10k of haygrass (50 tiles) should be in your barn all the time in late game.

2. Make kibble and pemmican
kibble and pemmican are nearly even in term of nutrition efficiency.
These are the things you have to consider in your decision.

Kibble :
Less work than pemmican, can use haygrass and animal products like eggs and milk, a good way to train your cooks, safer to use with human meat, needs no extra research.

Pemmican :
Good as backup food for everyone, good in early game because everyone can eat it,  you need it anyway for caravans, can’t use human meat because of cross contamination, because of
the high production time needs a dedicated and skilled cook.

3. Make nutrient paste.
Yeah, if you’re into micro, thats the way to go. Only really viable if you use a mod that extends stacksize or increases storage per tile.

5.1) Surround your Nutrient Paste Dispenser with 9 hoppers around it. Build a single tile room around the interaction spot of the Dispenser, set the door to stay open.
5.2) Now, draft and move one of your hungry pawn to the NPD Room.
5.3) Once pawn reaches the room, forbid the door.
5.3) Pause the game and undraft the colonist. Your colonist will take a nutrient paste from the dispenser, draft him again.
5.4) Your colonist will drop the paste to the ground, which you have to forbid now.
5.5) From this point forward, just repeatly draft and undraft colonist (the Hotkey for drafting is “R”). Even in a paused game, your colonist will take a nutrient paste meal out of the dispenser and drop on the forbiddem stack on the ground nonstop.
5.6) Repeat until the hoppers are empty.

4. Have at least one colonist with psychopath, blood lust or cannibal trait.
Sadly Homo Sapiens is the most common meat source for your animals in late game. If you want all your animals to take advantage of this, instead of feeding the frozen corpses
to your carnivores, you need a butcher with the right mindset. You then can use the meat for kibble or nutrient paste.

When the winter coming. Your haygrass stock should be enough to withstand your hungry livestock in the barn. If you can’t sustain your livestock hunger enough.
Form a caravan and bring your livestock that can grazing then move out of your map. Just walk around your base on world map to make sure you can send reinforcement
fast enough in case you got ambush. Livestock can graze on world map too.

Don’t let your live stock graze outside your wall. Since all livestock are too slow to evacuate when raid arrive, they’ll mostly badly hurt die. So just try to plant a lot of haygrass when next spring coming.
Or maybe just lower your livestock limit by slaughter them. Try to avoid using your vegetable for human food to cook animal food.

5. Call for emergency human meat delivery service (lol).
Since regular meat delivery from raiders might not be enough for your hungry animals and
its no hunting game is around because of cold.
Just call a tribal caravan and turn them all into kibble.

A Battery of 6 mortars or more will do a quick job, or use whatever fancy method to wanted to try out anyway.
If you are at war with at least one tribal faction their raid sizes should supply you well and they never send sappers ruining your killbox.
If you feel gratious you can capture the wounded tribals and release them again to collect faction points.
Life is harsh right?

(VI) Recommended Mods

1. Fluffy’s Colony manager
Link: https://ludeon.com/forums/index.php?topic=16120.0
Information: One of quality of life handler should have. With the manager table, you can automatically limit your animal number from juvenile to adult, Male and female, Train or not train, Restrict area they should be. Just counting my animal amount really a life saver to me though.

2. Fluffy’s Medical tab
Link: https://ludeon.com/forums/index.php?topic=16120.0
Information: Another quality of life mod from Fluffy. It can help you see all the animal health condition in one page. You can choose to slaughter missing leg easily with this mod’s on.

3. Fluffy’s Animal tab
Link: https://ludeon.com/forums/index.php?topic=16120.0
Information: Everything is better with fluffy.

4. Fluffy’s Bird’s and Bees
Link: https://ludeon.com/forums/index.php?topic=16120.0
Information: Gives all your pawns and animals dangly bits you can cut of for birth control.

5. A dog said
Link: https://ludeon.com/forums/index.php?topic=29310.0
Information: A nice combo with Fluffy’s Medical tab. This is EPOE for animal. You can operate on animal like humans and produce bionic parts to make your chicken killing machine with this mod. Or just give a peg leg to your missing limb puppy. This mod is OP in my opinion.

6. StackXXL
Link: https://ludeon.com/forums/index.php?topic=28653.0
Information: Make those big hauler show their performance. An elephant can haul 212 item of the same kind in one trip. This mod make your animal hauler shine more than it was. There is a downside of using this mod. since your hay should only stack at 200. With this mod on, without configure hay grass will stack up to 2000 in one stack. Since animal can only eat item from the stack 1 at a time. All of them will have to take turn to eat haygrass from that one stack. This mod is OP in my opinion.

7. Wildlife tab
Link: https://ludeon.com/forums/index.php?topic=25736.0
Information: A very good tab that show all information about wild animal in your map. It come with the function that able you to tame or hunt them. It also show that animal have health problem or not too. You can also sort the name list to see where is the predator, manhunter or insectoid in the map.

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