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This article is about an older version of DF.

Pastures are a feature that was released with version 0.31.19 and are activity zones that the player creates to hold tame animals, especially grazing animals. Herbivorous animals now require grass, cave moss or floor fungus to graze upon, and larger herbivores require a greater amount of grass to feed themselves. Some animals require special dietary needs (bamboo etc) rather than grass to graze. Using pastures allows herbivorous animals to be restricted to areas that they will have access to graze.

A pasture is defined using i-n to draw a rectangle, and then animals are selected to graze. Having pressed i to define a zone, highlight the pasture and press N (Shift+n), select the animal(s) you wish to pasture using +/- and pressing Enter. Once all animals are selected, finish by pressing Esc and idle dwarves with animal hauling will lead the animals to pasture.

Any tame animal may be assigned to a pasture. You can also assign pastures inside and use them to put animals that do not need to eat in certain areas. If there is fungus or moss on your indoor floors the animals will consume that in place of grass.

Grazing animals and pasture size[edit]

Grazing animals use the [GRAZER:<value>] token to signify how much grass they need to eat. This is an inverse number - the value in grazer signifies how much hunger is reduced when eating a unit of grass. A creature with ten times the grazer value needs one tenth the amount of grass (and hence, pasture land) as a creature with a small grazer value. If you started your fortress in an undead biome you may need to assign more space for a pasture as much of the grass is dead. Animals will not eat dead grass and will only eat the still living patches.

Animals which graze are typically good livestock candidates, as many of them produce wool or milk, and the only creatures which can produce both wool and milk are grazers. Creatures with larger sizes consume more grass, but also produce more meat when butchered.

Each time unit adds one point to hunger. An animal takes an average of one turn per ten time units, and takes one time unit to eat grass. If there were an unlimited amount of grass on a tile, even animals with [GRAZER:1] would be able to feed themselves, however there are at most 4 bunches of grass. Therefore, a creature of standard speed and agility with [GRAZER:3] would not be able to survive, and creatures with [GRAZER:4] require a constant source of grass (in other words infinite sized pastures) to survive. In practice, anything with [GRAZER:20] or less is completely incapable of feeding itself. Because of this, the larger creatures like dralthas are virtually impossible to keep fed, and elephants are incapable of feeding themselves fast enough to stave off starvation.

If grazing animals consume all the grass on a tile, the tile will be reverted to the base layer material. This may be sand, clay or soil In this way you receive a visual clue as to the size of the pasture required. Grass does not grow back on mountain biomes.Bug:4164v0.31.21


It is possible to overcrowd a pasture. Animals may become enraged and start fights. This is similar to a dwarf throwing a tantrum and can be solved by enlarging your pasture or keeping fewer animals in it.

Another possibility is to split a large pasture which holds many animals into several smaller pastures, with the pasture size reflecting the amount of grazing the animal needs to survive. Animals will only fight each other if their pasture is sharing the same tiles as the creature they are fighting with[Verify].

Other Applications[edit]

Pasture can serve as more advanced replacement for rope which allows you to "tie" multiple animals to same spot and even allows you to place pets and animals assigned to dwarves.

This can be used to safely get rid of immigrant pets or cat infestation (pasture them outside fortress to serve as early warning system and meatshield or pasture them inside a room that then gets accidentally filled with magma).

Note that while a pasture is a quick way of placing animals exactly in one defined area, it does not restrict the movement of an animal if they are threatened by an enemy - the animal will flee as normal, and will trigger an animal hauling task to re-pasture the animal once it leaves the border of the pasture. This is important as the announcement of an ambush may trigger a flood of animal haulers rushing to the pasture and into the face of the enemy.

List of grazing animals[edit]

Animal Grazer
Milkable Shearable Minimal Pasture Size
per individual
Elephant 12 5,000,000 Cannot Self Feed (Graze Value <= 20)
Rhinoceros 20 3,000,000 Cannot Self Feed (Graze Value <= 20)
Giant Bull Moose 23 4,257,750 29 x 29
Draltha 24 2,500,000 29 x 29
Giant Moose Cow 38 2,554,650 28 x 28
Water buffalo 60 1,000,000 Yes 18 x 18
Giraffe 60 1,000,000 18 x 18
Yak 85 700,000 Yes 16 x 16
Gigantic panda 92 1,160,900 N/A (only eat bamboo, will starve without it)
Cow 100 600,000 Yes 14 x 14
Unicorn 100 600,000 14 x 14
Bull Moose 114 525,000 14 x 14
Horse 120 500,000 Yes 13 x 13
Camel (both) 120 500,000 Yes 13 x 13
Giant capybara 133 523,350 13 x 13
Mule 150 400,000 12 x 12
Cow Moose 190 315,000 11 x 11
Donkey 200 300,000 Yes 10 x 10
Elk 200 300,000 10 x 10
Muskox 210 285,000 10 x 10
Llama 333 180,000 Yes Yes 8 x 8
Deer 428 140,000 7 x 7
Reindeer 461 130,000 Yes 7 x 7
Panda 462 130,000 N/A (only eat bamboo, will starve without it)
Warthog 600 100,000 6 x 6
Elk bird 600 100,000 6 x 6
Alpaca 857 70,000 Yes Yes 5 x 5
Pig 1,000 60,000 Yes 5 x 5
Sheep 1,200 50,000 Yes Yes 4 x 4
Goat 1,200 50,000 Yes 4 x 4
Mountain goat 1,200 50,000 4 x 4
Capybara 1,333 45,000 4 x 4
Gazelle 3,000 20,000 3 x 3
Hoary marmot 6,000 10,000 2 x 2
Groundhog 20,000 3,000 1 x 1
Cavy 75,000 800 1 x 1 (can feed up to 3 cavies)
Rabbit 120,000 500 1 x 1 (can feed up to 5 rabbits)