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- 1 Farming
- 2 Animal products
- 3 Other methods
- 4 Processing food
- 5 Food usage guide
- 6 Caravan Food
- 7 Storage
- 8 To-Do List
The food production chain in RimWorld results in edible food to keep your colony sustained. There are multiple ways to obtain raw ingredients for refined food, and refined food itself.
The most common way to produce food in RimWorld is to farm it. Vegetarian ingredients are obtained by growing crops, and meat ingredients are obtained by rearing livestock.
RimWorld has five main crop types: corn, haygrass, potatoes, rice, and strawberries. Each plant in turn has their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages, making them all distinguishable from one another.
If everything goes perfectly, a 7x7 field of rice on normal soil with a year-round growing season should produce just enough food for a single pawn. But if you gain more colonists or animals to feed, or if farming is hindered by misfortune or enemy action, planning ahead and planting extra can ensure your colony has enough food to eat.
Each crop will be roughly summarized here, but each crops' own pages will go into more detail on that particular crop:
- More health points than any other crop (150 vs 85)
- Less labor-intensive, particularly for growers
- Yields a lot of corn per harvest
- Corn has a long shelf life
- Grows well in rich soil
- Long time between harvests means that supply is less consistent
- More risky when it comes to crop loss
- Can't be sown in hydroponics basins
- Grows poorly in gravel
- Supplement food supply alongside other more stable food sources.
- Grow when short on growers or lack enough freezer capacity.
- Hay stacks up to 200, compared to 75 for other raw foods.
- Exceptionally good nutrition output.
- Long shelf life.
- Can't be sown in hydroponics basins
- Hay is only indirectly edible by humans by making it into kibble. Even then, they won't like it.
- Supplement food for grazing animals when pastures are depleted.
- Make kibble along with unwanted meats like insect or human meats.
- Grows well in gravel
- Potatoes have a slightly shorter shelf life
- Grows poorly in rich soil and hydroponics
- Grow in areas lacking fertile soil such as deserts.
- Grows quickly, so food supply is consistent
- Grows well in rich soil and hydroponics
- Grows poorly in gravel
- Yields little rice per harvest
- Very labor-intensive
- Start off your food production by growing this first.
- Grow in hydroponics basins for rapid production.
- Berries don't give any negative thoughts when eaten raw
- Longer shelf life compared to cooked meals
- Inferior nutrition output compared to other crops
- Shorter shelf life compare to other raw crops
- Provide food for caravans taking medium-length trips.
- Grow when short on cooks.
Walls can protect your crops from hungry wildlife or arsonist raiders. They also prevent the spread of blight between fields, minimizing your losses from this event.
Fire can also be a problem, particularly in heavily wooded biomes such as boreal forests or tropical swamps. A roof 4 tiles or wider all around your crop fields can prevent the spread of fire, even if it is supported by stone pillars rather than a completely built wall. More well established colonies could also add firefoam poppers.
Most biomes have soil you can use to plant crops, even if they are too cold to have a growing season. Placing a sun lamp on dirt and enclosing it with walls and a roof can help you produce a reliable food supply. This also offers more crop varieties than hydroponics and is less vulnerable to power outages.
Even in a biome with permanent summer, setting up a greenhouse in advance can ensure you are prepared in case of a long toxic fallout that prevents you from growing vegetables in the open air.
If you have both winter and summer, removing the roof of your greenhouse during the growing season can conserve power. Be sure to turn your sunlamps off before doing so.
Though plant-based foods can sustain your colonists, you will usually need animal products if you're going to make better meals for your colonists.
There are three kinds of food products that can be yielded from animals: milk, meat and eggs.
Meat is butchered from any freshly killed animal. The amount of meat obtained depends on the animal, and the Butchery Efficiency of the cook. In general, better cooks can make more out of each dead animal.
Milk can be obtained from some female tamed animals: cows, elk, caribou, muffalo, and dromedaries. It requires handlers to milk them. Cows produce 18 milk every day. Other animals produce 12 milk once every 2 days. Milk also has the benefit of not giving a mood penalty when eaten raw.
Simple, fine, and lavish meals can all use eggs as an ingredient. When used in recipes it is equivalent to 5 units of meat. They can be eaten raw by humanlikes (with the "raw food" mood debuff) and by animals which are ovivores.
Rearing livestock is a good choice for constantly providing these animal products for use. Milk and eggs in particular can only be obtained by milking livestock, outside of trading.
There are two factors you will want to consider for livestock (solely for food production): nutrition efficiency and production rate.
This refers to how effectively the animal converts nutrition consumed to nutrition produced (either by milking or butchering). The grass on the map contains plenty of nutrition which in inaccessible to colonists, and requires you convert them to meat or milk before being consumable by colonists.
- Megaspiders have the highest efficiency of all animals with 0.716 nutrition generated per unit input. However, colonists don't like insect meat, and megaspiders can't be farmed.
- Foxes have the highest efficiency for regular meat with 0.561. They need to eat meat, thus there is significantly less food available.
- Pigs or wild boars have the highest efficiency for herbivores with 0.246.
This is pretty straightforward. It is affected by the reproduction and growth rate of meat-producing animals.
Early-game, you're not going to be able to set up a farm straight away; foraging is your best bet for keeping your colony sustained at this point. Forage for berries and agave, and hunt wild animals.
You can also scavenge kills from predators, if they left anything behind, but be careful not to end up as prey yourself.
Different biomes have different foods available to forage.
- Temperate forests are good in terms of food; you will have a good number of animals to hunt and berries to forage.
- Boreal forests have troves of raspberries waiting to be harvested and a decent number of animals during summer. Things get tougher during winter when plants freeze over, making them inedible. However, berries that ripened during the summer can still be harvested for a short time after the plants have turned brown and wilted. Hunting will sustain you at first, but in the coldest weeks of winter, the animals leave as well.
- Arid shrublands have large numbers of agave plants growing, providing lots of food, though agave can't be eaten raw like berries. Large animals yield lots of meat, though many are tough or aggressive.
- Swampy biomes all have berries and lush tree and plant coverage. This is great for foraging.
- There's little to eat in a desert and even less in an extreme desert. Foraging is not a good choice there.
- Tundra has very few trees and even fewer berries. Migrating herds of animals may pass by, but you will need to shoot them quickly to collect any food.
- Ice sheets do not have plants. Hunting is the only choice, and there's little to hunt.
- There's nothing to see on sea ice.
Between growing enough food to be self-sufficient and taming enough animals to set up a sustainable meat/milk farm, you will most likely have to resort to hunting for meats and leather.
Only colonists equipped with a ranged weapon will hunt. If the hunter has a bolt-action rifle or similar long-range weapon, hunting them from the weapon's maximum distance minimizes the animal's chance of seeking revenge when harmed. Colonists assigned to hunt will do this automatically. Each animal's revenge chance is listed on its Info screen. The more shots the hunter has to take to down the animal, the more possibilities that it will seek revenge.
The best options to hunt are the 0% revenge chance animals such as deer, gazelle, alpaca and dromedary. If a more aggressive animal has an injury or health condition which weakens its movement, it may be an acceptable risk for a less skilled hunter. An animal that is a member of a herd might turn manhunter by itself, or its entire herd may seek revenge along with it. So before designating an animal to hunt, it's worth asking, "would I rather have my best shooter get chased by a single murderous grizzly, or 17 vengeful caribou?"
If a hunter has high skill and a good quality weapon, they may be able to down even a tough animals in just a few shots. A hunter will automatically carry the corpse of their prey back to the best available stockpile, even if the colonist is incapable of hauling.
Any animal that is designated to be hunted will be un-forbidden if it dies. Otherwise, animal corpses are forbidden by default.
It is a bad idea to send your colonists to hunt with an incendiary weapon.
Trading gives lots of food instantly without much work from your colonists, but is more expensive marketwise than growing your own food.
For colonies growing lots of food crops, trade can help obtain animal products such as meat in bulk for cooking quality meals in exchange for crop produce which is often in excess.
Eating raw food isn't really favorable to your colonists, usually netting them a -7 mood penalty. Besides, cooking food makes it easier to digest, allowing colonists and animals to obtain more nutrition from them. Raw food can be made into several varieties of cooked meals or processed foods.
There are a few common considerations when picking the meal(s) to produce:
- *Work Efficiency* How much work each full unit of 1 Nutrition takes; relevant if cooking time is limited
- *Nutrient Efficiency* How much output nutrients can be obtained from input raw nutrients; relevant if food sources are limited
- *Spoil Time* How long food lasts if not frozen. Especially relevant for low tech situations, hot climates and caravans
- *Storage Efficiency* How many nutrients fit into one stack, useful if freezer space is limited. However non- and slow-spoiling food does not need Freezer space to begin with.
- *Weight Efficiency* How much it weights/nutrients, relevant for Caravans
- *Mood Effects* Food can change the mood of Humanoids dependent on the food given
|Meal Name||Work Inefficiency (Work/1 Nutrition)||Nutrient output (Nutrition out)||Raw Nutrients (Nutrition in)||Nutrient Efficiency (Nutrition out/Nutrition in)||Units/Full Stack||Storage Efficiency (Nutrition/Tile)||Weight/Unit||Weight Efficiency (Nutrition/Kg)||Others|
|Simple Meal||5.5 c.||0.9||0.5||180%||10||9||0.44||2.045 c.||
|Fine Meal||8.8 c.||0.9||0.5||180%||10||9||0.44||2.045 c.||
|Lavish Meal||14||1||1||100%||10||10||0.44||2.27 c.||
|Packaged Survival Meal||8.8 c.||0.9||0.6||150%||10||9||0.30||3||
Do note that pawns will eat before their hunger reaches 0% or even 10%. That means that a relevant part of the nutrients/meal will be lost. Foodstuff that comes in discrete units of 5% each, can thus be more effective then the raw numbers might indicate.
Food usage guide
- Simple meals are usually the first stop. They can be made from everything humans can eat raw. They do, however, spoil almost as quickly as raw ingredients. Setting your work bill to make 3-4 meals per day per colonist should help avoid both spoilage and hunger.
- Consider an upgrade to Fine meals as soon as possible, if the worktime (+60% over Simple Meals) is available. It offers a small mood bonus, and requires meat, milk or eggs in addition to vegetables.
- Lavish Meals should only be undertaken after careful consideration. While they offer a substantial mood bonus and are very satisfying, they have a very poor nutrient and work efficiency. They are a good investment for an established colony with "High expectations" in order to keep colonists' moods stable. If food sources get scarce, downgrade to Fine Meals or Simple Meals.
- If no refrigeration is possible, Pemmican can be used. It is less efficient to produce than most meal types. However, pawns will only consume it when they are hungry and will eat exactly as much as they need, which minimizes waste. It is an excellent choice for caravans due to its long shelf life, and is slightly more efficient to make than packaged survival meals.
- If space, food sources, cooking time or even cooking skill are at a premium, Nutrient Paste can be used. However, the negative mood effect can offset its convenience. The nutrient paste dispenser also requires electricity, so at least some reserves of other food should be prepared in case of power outage.
- In a biome with winter, stockpiling food to last until the next growing season must be done every year until the colony has enough dirt-floor greenhouses or hydroponics to feed its entire population. A proper winter at sub-zero temperatures can make food storage much easier, however. A vent in the wall of a food storage area can keep food freezing without needing to use any electricity.
- After the first year, it is always a good idea to have a forbidden stockpile of packaged survival meals. In case of long-lasting toxic fallout or a disaster that destroys the colony's main refrigerator, greenhouses etc, this backup food will keep colonists fed while they rebuild.
- Grazing is the option picked by most Herbivores by default. They will simply eat wild plants within the allowed area. As long as it is not off-season or there is a truly large amount of animals, most maps can sustain Herbivores with ease. Automatically done in caravans if possible.
- Animals can also eat raw plants from your crop fields. This however is extremely ineffective as the plants themselves yield a whole lot less than harvesting them.
- Kibble allows Herbivores to eat nutrient sources not normally part of their diet. In particular, excess meat (especially Human/Insect meat) and animal products can be turned into animal feed. The only real advantage towards meals is that it last forever, can be made with Hay and has a stellar work efficiency.
- Simple Meals and Pemmican may sound odd, but are a viable option if it is nutrition - rather then worktime - efficiency you are after. They do give the same option to mask the use of Flesh. They also do not need management of pops actually working the butchers table.
- Hay has same nutrition per Unit as Kibble and most Vegetables but is more then twice as Weight and Storage efficient and it grows rapidly. Use it to supplement herbivore food when the map is not supplying enough grass to feed everyone, during winter or on caravans.
- Most carnivores by nature can eat raw corpses. While doing so provides Nutrition, it removes bodyparts and thus meat yield from Butchering.
- This is a good way to get rid of corpses without butchering, especially human corpses left behind after raids- butchering these leaves a mood debuff.
- Raw meat is another natural Option. Butchering may not yield a higher effective Nutrition than eating the corpses, especially when done by inept cooks.
- Simple meals and pemmican are an option as they are with herbivores.
- Kibble is slightly more interesting for carnivores. It allows the use of vegetables - including the very effective Hay - for feeding them.
When sending out a Caravan, spoil time and weight are of the utmost importance. Easily spoiled foodstuffs (most meals, raw meat) is utterly unsuitable for anything but short distances. Be warned that time until rotting is affected by ambient temperatures during the travel.
- Weight efficiency is almost completely uniform, with all produced food offering about the same 2.0-2.5 Nutrition/kg and raw food being equally uniform
- Raw vegetables have a surprisingly long shelf life so they should not be underestimated if the mood penalty for Raw Food can be taken
- Pemmican is a natural Solution for Caravans. It offers very good spoil time at acceptable weight and Nutrient efficiency. It's biggest downside is the poor work efficiency.
- Packaged survival meals last indefinitely and count like simple meals, but have hands down the worst work efficiency and even worse Nutrient efficiency than raw food.
- Grazing once again, Herbivores can Graze. However this option is dependent on the Tile and Season so it can change during Travel.
- If no Grazing is possible, Hay is somewhat preferable over Kibble for Herbivores, if you can gather enough of it.
- Kibble is useful for feeding carnivores and even Herbivores during really long stretches of non-grazing world tiles. Do note that wargs cannot consume kibble.
- Chocolate or insect jelly can fulfill the recreation needs of pawns on a caravan and help prevent mental breaks. However, neither has enough nutrition on its own to replace meals.
Caravans will automatically forage for food on the road, the yield depending on if they are moving or not and the plants skill of the people in the caravan. Tribal pawns also forage faster. The foraged food type depends on the biome. Berries are foraged in temperate and jungle biomes and agave in drier ones.
Food can be stored in a walk-in freezer. Colonists will automatically harvest mature crops and bring the produce to the appropriate storage. Set the priority of the stockpile in the freezer higher so colonists will haul food to the freezer instead of anywhere else.
Keep in mind that some foods are less, or not, temperature sensitive. Corn, Pemmican, and to a lesser extent, Eggs can be kept at room temperatures much longer than most foods, and Packaged survival meals and Kibble need not be refrigerated at all.
In a way animals themselves can be a meat storage, both alive and dead: The meat they yield when butchered does not spoil while they are alive. This allows them to carry nutrition over into lean times, if no refrigerator is available, particularly on Caravans or low-tech desert scenarios. While dead, any animal that yields more than 75 meat is more compact unbutchered than butchered as all corpses only occupy 1 tile. This saves room in freezers and storage rooms. The following animals are more dense unbutchered: Alpaca, Arctic wolf, Bison, Boomalope, Caribou, Cougar, Cow, Deer, Donkey, Dromedary, Elephant, Elk, Grizzly bear, Horse, Human, Husky, Ibex, Megasloth, Megaspider, Muffalo, Ostrich, Panther, Polar bear, Rhinoceros, Thrumbo, Timber wolf, Warg, Yak
- Detail some of the best options for livestock to rear
- Consider biomes for food foraging
- Risks of hunting
- Advantages and disadvantages of each means of production
- Insect farming and cannibalism