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Dwarf Fortress – How To Feed Your Dwarves

A hungry man is an angry man…same with dwarves.

John Alano



dwarf fortress how to feed your dwarves

Dwarf Fortress is a very tricky game where you’re tasked with creating your colony and making an enormous impenetrable fortress. To achieve this, you’ll need to keep your dwarves alive and healthy. This game offers many ways to get food, such as farming, hunting, fishing, and many more! In this guide, we will cover all the things you need to use these professions.

How To Feed Your Dwarves in Dwarf Fortress

There are multiple ways to gather food in Dwarf Fortress, and each of them has given risks and requirements. You would want to stockpile as much food as possible before the winter hits. That’s why you need to gather resources efficiently. As for food, there are multiple ways to get them aside from farming.


Fishing is the easiest way to get extra food. You can do this by assigning your dwarves into a labor tab (Y) and choose who becomes a fisherdwarf. For starter, you can assign two dwarves but be sure to assign more if your population grows.

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Once you’ve done it, they will automatically fish around nearby body of water such as brooks, ponds, and rivers. Unlike other type of food, fishes do need be prepared at the Fishery to be eaten. To do this, go to your building menu (B) and go to the Workshops.

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Additionally, you can create designated fishing zones for your dwarves. This feature is extremely useful if don’t want your dwarves to fish near dangerous area of the map.

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Once you’re done setting your ideal fishing zone, go to the Labor menu (Y) and go to the Other menu. Make sure to change the option to Fish only in designated zones.


Similar to Fishing, Hunting requires some prerequisites for your dwarves to hunt. This profession also improves your dwarves’ crossbow accuracy which will help you later when defending your fortress from attacks.

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The first thing you need to do is to enable hunting for certain dwarves. This can easily be done by pressing the Labor Menu (Y) and clicking the Hunters menu. It’s also vital that your hunter must have Ambush and Marksmanship skills. This is because a dwarf with high ambush skill can sneak closer to the target and shoot their bow accurately to land a lethal hit.

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Another thing to keep in mind is your hunter must have bow, quiver, and some ammo. You can craft these equipment at Craftsdwarf’s Workshop.

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Lastly, you will need wildlife in your area. You can quickly check this by pressing the unit tab (U). Remember that only one group of animals will appear at a given time.

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Once the requirements have been met, your dwarves will automatically hunt for wild animals. Hunting is much more dangerous than fishing since your dwarves can get hurt if they hunt bigger targets. However, there are benefits to hunting than fishing, such as:

  • bigger loots
  • improves your dwarf’s ability
  • drops leather


Breeding in Dwarf Fortress happens if males and females of the same species are next to each other. However, there are a couple of reasons why they stop breeding.

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The main reason why your animals have stopped breeding is that you have too many adults or younglings. Another thing is there are some cases in which your animals aren’t interested in reproducing.

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You can easily check your animals by pressing Y and clicking the Creatures Menu. Under this tab, you can also butcher an animal by pressing the knife icon.

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If you’re planning to stop your animals from breeding you can do this by separating male and female with a Cage.

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Egg-mating creatures such as chickens and geese are harder to breed since you need to fertilize the eggs. To do this, you need some nest boxes, which can be created at Craftdwarf’s Workshop for one wood.

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Your chicken or goose won’t lay eggs until you build a nest box. For the eggs to be able to hatch, they must stay in the nest box without being touched by any other animal. You can do this by locking the nest boxes behind a door or excluding the eggs from your stockpile.

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