Guide To Herded Animals

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Guide To Herded Animals

Post by Cyclohexane »

I may update this for TAD later (already updated in my Quick Reference Guide) but here it is copy and paste from the old clan website:

EDIT 2: All of the civilizations herded animals behave exactly the same except for the Iroquois. The Iroquois get a -25% fattening time penalty during the Discovery and Colonial Age. Once in Fortress, this penalty disappears altogether.


EDIT 1: I made a mistake in original post and it is now correct. If you’re reading the whole thread, some of the comments below may not make since anymore. I apologize for this but think it’s more important to have correct information. Here is what happened: In the proto file there is a "NativeVillager" and a "SettlerNative." The “NativeVillager” is the 4 villagers obtained through researching the Cherokee Minor Native Sequoyah's Syllabary Technology. The “SettlerNative” is the Aztec, Iroquois, and Sioux villagers. The Cherokee villagers have a different herded animal gathering rate (1.25 food per second) than standard Native herded animal gathering rates (same as Europeans at 2.00 food per second). So the lesson learned is to never use Cherokee villagers on herded animals. All values below are correct and have been verified in-game.

One thing I noticed during in game testing that is extremely important is the method Fulling Mills is calculated. The game file states it is a 300% bonus but in fact, it is a 400% bonus (2.0 + 2.0*300% = 8.0)! Therefore, 1 villager on herded animals acts like 4. This is true for both the British and Iroquois (values were verified).


This guide will explain in detail how herded animals work, their benefits, and their drawbacks. I have included a herded animal worksheet in my Quick Reference Guide since its conception but I have never received any comments or questions. I assume this is because I never explained exactly how it works and those not familiar with Excel and able to review formulas would just glance over it. If you want to see the data organized in tables, download my guide. My guide in Excel and online format are located in my signature. Unfortunately, the online version is not interactive and you can only view the data.

Let’s start at the beginning, how animals fatten.


The base values are as follows:

Sheep (300F and start at 50F) = 0.2F per second = Fully Fattened in 1,250 seconds (300 – 50) / 0.2
Llama (400 Food and start at 50F) = 0.3F per Second = Fully Fattened in 1,167 seconds (400 – 50) / 0.3
Cow (500 Food and start at 50F) = 0.25F per Second = Fully Fattened in 1,800 seconds (500 – 50) / 0.25

When animals are placed onto a Livestock Pen or Native Farm, the fattening time is decreased significantly. For balance purposes, the Iroquois have a -25% fattening penalty in the Discovery and Colonial Ages. This is due to the fact an Iroquois can use the starting Travois for a Farm and quickly generate herded animals. Once the Iroquois Age to Fortress, this penalty disappears and they are exactly the same as the other civilizations (all are the same). Here is how that works:

Livestock Pen / Farm
Sheep = 0.2 + 0.5F per sec added to base value = Fully Fattened in 357 seconds (300 – 50) / 0.7
Llama = 0.3 + 0.75F per sec added to base value = Fully Fattened in 333 seconds (400 – 50) / 1.05
Cow = 0.25 + 1.0 F per sec to base value = Fully Fattened in 360 seconds (500 – 50) / 1.25

Iroquois Farm in Discovery or Colonial
Sheep = 0.2 + 0.5F*(1-25%) per sec added to base value = Fully Fattened in 435 seconds (300 – 50) / 0.575
Llama = 0.3 + 0.75F*(1-25%) per sec added to base value = Fully Fattened in 406 seconds (400 – 50) / 0.863
Cow = 0.25 + 1.0F*(1-25%) per sec to base value = Fully Fattened in 450 seconds (500 – 50) / 1.00

There are a number of ways to further decrease the fattening time.

*Selective Breeding Technology (150W 150G) = +25% decrease in fattening time

*Stockyards HC Shipment = +30% decrease in fattening time

*TEAM Wool Staple Ports HC Card = +20% decrease in fattening time for team

*Navajo Sheppard's (200W) Minor Native Technology available on the Sonora and Painted Desert Maps = +30% decrease in fattening time and increases the gathering speed by 200% (almost like fulling mills HC shipment and essentially doubles the amount of settlers slaughtering animals). What a bargain![/ind]

The way these technologies and HC shipments work, is the percent increase is multiplied by the base livestock pen or farm value and then added. I will show an example of one technology here, more are located in my guide.

Livestock Pen + Selective Breeding (25%)
Sheep = 0.2 +0.5F (Livestock Pen) + 0.5*25% = Fully Fattened in 303 seconds (300 – 50) / 0.825
Llama = 0.3 +0.75F (Livestock Pen) + 0.75*25% = Fully Fattened in 283 seconds (400 – 50) / 1.2375
Cow = 0.25 +1.0F (Livestock Pen) + 1.0*25% = Fully Fattened in 300 seconds (500 – 50) / 1.5

Iroquois Farm + Selective Breeding (25%)
Sheep = 0.2 + 0.5F*(1-25%) + 0.5*25% per sec added to base value = Fully Fattened in 357 seconds (300 – 50) / 0.7
Llama = 0.3 + 0.75F*(1-25%) + 0.75*25% per sec added to base value = Fully Fattened in 333 seconds (400 – 50) / 1.05
Cow = 0.25 + 1.0F*(1-25%) + 1.0*25% per sec to base value = Fully Fattened in 360 seconds (500 – 50) / 1.25

Notice the above values are the exact same times as the Livestock pen / Farm without selective breeding for all other civilizations except Iroquois. This is because the 25% penalty is canceled out my selective breeding. Once Age to Fortress, the Iroquois Farm will act just like a Pen with selective breeding on it.


I see lots of threads how the Ottoman 20 sheep card (also Iroquois) is awesome. Many people like to think of this card as a 6,000 food shipment (20 * 300F each) but it is not. The amount of food gained from this card depends on how much time the animals have fattened and the less understood, animal decay rate. 3 livestock pens are required to fatten all 20 simultaneously in 5 minutes (if selective breeding was researched).

After an animal is killed, it decays at a rate of 0.75F per second (hunt or herd). For example, a deer (400 food) will decay about 45 food per minute (0.75 * 60). 1 settler gathers about 50 food per minute hunting (0.84*60 = 50.4) so approximately half the food is wasted. Obviously this is important for hunting unless you are trying to increase the gather rate by villagers not bumping into each other and creating more waste.

BOTTOM LINE: More settlers are required to be tasked on each animal or the waste is significant. That 6000F shipment will turn into 4,364 shipment if only 1 villager is tasked to collect all the sheep (and will take 5 minutes to fatten, 600 wood for 3 pens, 150W and 150G to research selective breeding, then the time to collect the food). So what is the optimum value?

Native herded animals fatten slower (unless research selective breeding) but the gather rate is the same. Let’s compare the base rates and some animal statistics.

Sheep (100F, Build Limit 30, Train Time 10 Seconds, Available: Discovery)
Llama (70F, Build Limit 20, Train Time 60 Seconds, Available: Colonial)
Cow (80F, Build Limit 20, Train Time 15 Seconds, Available: Discovery)

European Settler = 2.0F per second
Cherokee Settler = 1.25F per second (this was my original mistake and source of confusion)
British Fulling Mills Settler = 8.0F per second
Native Villager = 2.0F per second
Iroquois Fulling Mills Villager = 8.0F per second

Now, in the interest of time, I am not going to go into all of the calculations of each of these scenarios. Once again, I will reference you to my Quick Reference Guide which includes food gathered and food wasted from 1 to 5 settlers for sheep, llamas, and cows including a comparison of European and Native settlers with and without Fulling Mills. Mathematically 1 Fulling Mill settler is equivalent to 4 regular settlers. However, since there is no settlers bumping into each other, 1 fulling mill will outperform 4 regular settlers. Here is a condensed summary of what is available in my guide:

Sheep = European or Native
1 Settler = 218 Food Gathered and 82 Food Wasted = 109 seconds
2 Settler = 253 Food Gathered and 57 Food Wasted = 63 seconds
3 Settler = 267 Food Gathered and 33 Food Wasted = 44 seconds
4 Settler = 274 Food Gathered and 26 Food Wasted = 34 seconds

1 Fulling Mill Settler = 274 Food Gathered and 26 Food Wasted = 34 seconds
2 Fulling Mill Settler = 287 Food Gathered and 13 Food Wasted = 18 seconds
3 Fulling Mill Settler = 291 Food Gathered and 9 Food Wasted = 12 seconds
4 Fulling Mill Settler = 293 Food Gathered and 7 Food Wasted = 9 seconds

Llama = European or Native
1 Settler = 291 Food Gathered and 109 Food Wasted = 146 seconds
2 Settler = 337 Food Gathered and 63 Food Wasted = 84 seconds
3 Settler = 356 Food Gathered and 44 Food Wasted = 59 seconds
4 Settler = 366 Food Gathered and 34 Food Wasted = 46 seconds

1 Fulling Mill Settler = 366 Food Gathered and 34 Food Wasted = 46 seconds
2 Fulling Mill Settler = 382 Food Gathered and 18 Food Wasted = 24 seconds
3 Fulling Mill Settler = 388 Food Gathered and 12 Food Wasted = 16 seconds
4 Fulling Mill Settler = 391 Food Gathered and 9 Food Wasted = 12 seconds

Cow = European or Native
1 European Settler = 364 Food Gathered and 136 Food Wasted = 182 seconds
2 European Settler = 421 Food Gathered and 79 Food Wasted = 105 seconds
3 European Settler = 444 Food Gathered and 56 Food Wasted = 71 seconds
4 European Settler = 457 Food Gathered and 43 Food Wasted = 57 seconds

1 Fulling Mill Settler = 457 Food Gathered and 43 Food Wasted = 57 seconds
2 Fulling Mill Settler = 478 Food Gathered and 22 Food Wasted = 30 seconds
3 Fulling Mill Settler = 485 Food Gathered and 15 Food Wasted = 20 seconds
4 Fulling Mill Settler = 489 Food Gathered and 9 Food Wasted = 15 seconds

*Only the British and Iroquois have access to the Fulling Mills HC shipment.

The times above does not include the time to kill the animal (~3 seconds) or walking around to each animal. I recommend at least 2-3 settlers on each animal when slaughtering to avoid waste (2 if utilizing Fulling Mills). Having more sounds better but the settlers will run into each other slowing the process down (get diminishing returns). If playing as British or Iroquois, the Fulling Mills Home City Shipment is recommended. The amount of food it saves from decay and allows fewer villagers to work is amazing (1 villager works like 4 villagers).


Now that you understand how animal decay works and how the fattening system is set-up, what can you do with this information? First of all, herding animals is hands down more beneficial than farming or hunting in the long term. For FFA, treaty, or long team games, definitely consider this as an option. However, it is not always feasible in 1v1 since most people will never leave you alone long enough to perform it.

Settlers are safer and it is faster than farming (turtlers seem to advantage here). Selective Breeding is cheaper than upgrading farms and 2 pens is the same price in wood as 1 farm (allows 20 sheep to fatten - the build limit of sheep is 30). Perhaps Iroquois are the best civilization for this, as long as selective breeding is researched (gets rid of Native penalty). The reason I say this is that they have a great defensive boom (Town Dance / Great Halls / free tavois) and herded animals are much faster than farms. Not to mention they have access to Fulling Mills. Let’s compare this to Imperial Farming with all the upgrades.
Great Feast = +10%, Harvest Ceremony = 15%, Green Corn Ceremony = +20%, Large Scale Gathering = +50%. Add these up and it is 95%. This equates to:
95%/100 = 0.95
0.95+1 = 1.95
1.95* 0.5 (base farming rate) = 0.975 Food per second. Not even close, especially since this can only be done in imperial, costs 1375 wood and 1675 gold for the technologies (not including cost for the farms at 400 wood each). Of course Natives have Agraian Ways which is an awesome card but you get the point.

The problem here is, food from hunting can be used immediately, while ~5 minutes must pass before herded animals are completely fattened (can decrease time by ~1 minute with Selective Breeding). After fattened, it still takes time to gather the food. 2-3 villagers per animal are recommended to avoid animal decay so many villagers will be required to slaughter many animals simultaneously.

Keep in mind the animal training times as well. A sheep takes 10 seconds to spawn, cow takes 15 seconds, and a llama takes a full minute to spawn! This greatly reduces the effectiveness of llama ranching. In addition, llama ranching can be sent in Age 1 but you cannot spawn llama from the livestock pen until Age 2 (you can spawn sheep and cows in Age 2). Llama ranching seems very bugged and is not worthwhile.

However, the gathering rate of cow ranching with 3 villagers tasked to kill each cow with selective breeding researched is equivalent to 2.7F per second per each 5 cows produced (80F each). This is calculated by dividing the Total Food (after decay and initial investment) by Total Time (cow spawn time + time to fatten + and time to harvest). Since these 3 villagers can be working on other resources while the animal is spawning and fattening, it is reasonable to argue that the gathering rate is 4.9 food per second = Total Food / Total Time (to harvest).

While this is much better than hunting (even with upgrades), it will require 1 HC shipment, at least 1 livestock pen or farm, 400F invested per 5 cows, and a total time of 685 seconds (spawn, fatten, and collect) per 5 cows (3 live stock pens will triple these values). I prefer fulling mills over ranching.

Never spawn an animal instead of a villager. If you cannot continuously spawn villagers, you have no business herding animals.

There is so much to compare and I cannot give each detail without a way to quickly type tables in BBCode. All I can say is, go download my guide for a more complete analysis. There are tables which allow you to selective different values (highlighted yellow) from pull down menus and compare everything imaginable. Hope this gives you a taste of AOE3 animals (pun intended).
Lead, Follow, or Get the Hell out of the way!

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