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How to think about ranching inefficiency


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Almost all ranching is done at significant loss of material. Pacus, Pokeshells, Hatches and Slicksters, for example, only output 50% of their input. I can't help but get seriously demotivated to do ranching when I see that half of my material input is going to disappear when digested by the critter in question. I don't have the math skills to determine whether the return in eggs + meat makes up for that staggering 50% loss. The wiki doesn't say anything about it.

Dreckos break this material loss totally, as they don't theoretically require anything other than space to make reed fibers, eggs and meat. I've ranched them now. But I feel very hesitant ranching slicksters, for example. Even my crazy supply of 3000kg of carbon dioxide from constantly using canister fillers over 100+ cycles will only supply 8 slicksters for about 20 cycles, and then they're all gonna melt away from starvation.

Am I overcomplicating this? Are the eggs and meat enough of a counterbalance?

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Just my opinion, but I think Pacus, Dreckos, and Hatches are a good option.  I've never ranched Voles, so can't say there.  Pufts and Slicksters are too resource hungry to be worth it (in my opinion).

 

Pacu - feed until you've got a big enough population boom, then just stop feeding them.

Drecko - require no resources (other than grooming time) for normal ones, and only dirt for glossy.

Hatch - there's plenty of sedimentary and/or igneous rock around to last a VERY long time.  The meat, egg shells, and coal more than make up for the resource use (again in my opinion).

What I do with Hatch farming is to just have a single stable (16x4), leaving one or two natural tiles for them to burrow into.  I add 2 grooming stations (since the ranchers can only groom them at night).  When they are burrowed, there's no overcrowding debuff and their reproduction counters keep rising.  It takes a bit longer to get going, but by cycle 100 or so, I've got literally dozens of them in that stable (my current base has 54 of them).  Eventually I stop feeding them as well.

 

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Who cares about the 50% loss?  For Pacu you don't really care about the polluted dirt; you only feed them so you can grow more, then stop feeding them and let the population just keep replacing itself providing free food and lime.  The real problem with them isn't the 50% loss but the shear volume that they want to eat of a resource that is pretty limited, which is why everyone only feeds them to breed, then leaves them alone for the rest of the game.  For Hatches, they are mostly a way to get rid of some of the huge amount of stone on the map that you don't need and turn it into some useful coal, lime, and meat.  Sage hatches are 95% efficient btw.  CO2 is a waste product that you normally have to spend some power on to get rid of.  You may as well feed it to slicksters and get some oil, meat, and lime instead.  Here it isn't the 50% loss that is the problem, but rather that they don't eat enough once you have a petrol gen or two belching out CO2.  Pufts are also 95% efficient ( the specialist ones, not the prince ).

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2 hours ago, psusi said:

Who cares about the 50% loss?  For Pacu you don't really care about the polluted dirt; you only feed them so you can grow more, then stop feeding them and let the population just keep replacing itself providing free food and lime.  The real problem with them isn't the 50% loss but the shear volume that they want to eat of a resource that is pretty limited, which is why everyone only feeds them to breed, then leaves them alone for the rest of the game.  For Hatches, they are mostly a way to get rid of some of the huge amount of stone on the map that you don't need and turn it into some useful coal, lime, and meat.  Sage hatches are 95% efficient btw.  CO2 is a waste product that you normally have to spend some power on to get rid of.  You may as well feed it to slicksters and get some oil, meat, and lime instead.  Here it isn't the 50% loss that is the problem, but rather that they don't eat enough once you have a petrol gen or two belching out CO2.  Pufts are also 95% efficient ( the specialist ones, not the prince ).

Wait, so animals don't need food? Even if they're tamed?

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45 minutes ago, TheForgot3n1 said:

Wait, so animals don't need food? Even if they're tamed?

Every wild critter before dying release an egg. So pacu are limitless, but if you have 8 wild pacu, you always get 8 wild pacu at the end of their life cycle. If you feed and tame a critter, he release more eggs and not just one, allowing you to raise the population. This is why by feeding your pacus a bit you can increase their numbers.

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13 hours ago, TheForgot3n1 said:

Wait, so animals don't need food? Even if they're tamed?

Wild status prevents the starvation debuff at 0 calories.

For unfed ungroomed tamed critters, only 25 cycle critters will reproduce before starving. This is because the starving debuff takes 10 cycles and that is a substantially larger portion of their lifespan. (Trivia: Abyss Bugs used to be an exception, due to erroneously having 10x metabolism.)

For unfed groomed tamed critters, all critters some critters will reproduce before dying (25 cyclers will multiply).

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Hatches are incredibly powerful in early and mid game. Stone hatches in particular, and sage hatches on maps with tons of dirt. 50% doesn't even start offsetting their advantages.
Let's say you have a standard start w/o overthinking it. You start eating what you dig, them move to mealwood. It's cycle 30-50 and you decide to switch to hatches. Let's see what that brings to you:

+8 morale from BBQ: that's enough for almost all builds you can think of for your dups... basicly (on standard settings) stress problem solved;

heat problem solved/postponed for hundreds of cycles... your food source is safe; actually all environment-related problems (pressure, gasses etc) solved

early power problem solved... assuming you use smart batteries, your base is going to be coal positive for so long, unless you go crazy with recreational buildings (which you don't need thanks to the +8 from BBQ)

 

The price you pay? A little room, resources (rocks, which are very abundant), dup labor. But I've managed to run 3 stone hatches ranches with a target population of 15 dups using my +3 science +3 husbandry starter researcher, who would do ranching errands first and research in the spare time. Research was still fast enough to outpace dups' skill points, meaning I was able to research atmosuits before dups had 6 skill points. Of course among those 15 dups I hired a dedicated +7 husbandry guy to relieve my researcher from ranching duties later. Still, (stone/sage) hatches ranching is OP early game.

It's worth mentioning the seamless transition to shove voles later, which is an OP food source for endgame.

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Shove voles are extremely efficient if you dont care about ethics. Just get a rail of regolith from the top to your ranch and let them multiply. They drop eggs like crazy. After about 30 cycles of intencive feeding\breeding(all in one cramped room) kill them all for a ton of meat. I discovered ranching voles accidentally, when i was just catching them all so they dont mess up my solar panels. Didnt wanna genocide them, so i put them all in a room. Decided that its cruel to let them starve, so i provided food. Some dozens of cycles later i had to kill them, cause there was A TON of them in there. Voila, 1mil calories worth of meat. Makes me sad though, its not ethical farming:P

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8 hours ago, nakomaru said:

For unfed groomed tamed critters, all critters will reproduce before dying (25 cyclers will multiply).

Are you 100% sure about that? I seem to recall my tamed and groomed molten slickers died of starvation w/o laying an egg. I must admit that was ages ago I don't ranch them these days.

I know you can do that with shove voles but I've always thought they are special

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10 hours ago, Artorias36 said:

Every wild critter before dying release an egg. So pacu are limitless, but if you have 8 wild pacu, you always get 8 wild pacu at the end of their life cycle. If you feed and tame a critter, he release more eggs and not just one, allowing you to raise the population. This is why by feeding your pacus a bit you can increase their numbers.

Yes, but once you feed and tame them, they are no longer wild.  Due to their short lifespan, pacu can still lay an egg before they starve, but now that they are tame, they will become cramped as soon as one lays an egg and stop reproducing.  Thus you need an auto sweeper to grab that egg quickly and shoot it through an open pneumatic door into a dropper where they egg is now in another room until it hatches so the rest of the pacu don't get overcrowded and will continue to lay eggs.

4 hours ago, TheMule said:

heat problem solved/postponed for hundreds of cycles... your food source is safe; actually all environment-related problems (pressure, gasses etc) solved

How do hatches solve heating/cooling and maintain a proper atmosphere of oxygen?

17 minutes ago, TheMule said:

Are you 100% sure about that? I seem to recall my tamed and groomed molten slickers died of starvation w/o laying an egg. I must admit that was ages ago I don't ranch them these days.

I think you're right... slicksters seem to die off if you keep grooming them without CO2, but I have ended up accidentally grooming shine bugs and not feeding them and they do multiply.

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2 hours ago, TheMule said:

Are you 100% sure about that? I seem to recall my tamed and groomed molten slickers died of starvation w/o laying an egg. I must admit that was ages ago I don't ranch them these days.

Terribly sorry. I've honestly never groomed them due to their returns. You're right. They start out with 535 cal, 480 at adult (475 theoretical), and need 120 per cycle. Begin to starve at 66% and die around 85%.

It's even worse for longhairs. They have 50% longer lifespan / reproduction but the same metabolism.

Double checking others now.

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22 minutes ago, psusi said:

How do hatches solve heating/cooling and maintain a proper atmosphere of oxygen?

For the first 500c? Well, unless you have trouble with magma channels, or other very hot sources, death by heat occurs because your crop is heat-sensitive. Dups don't mind 50C, and unless you make some obvious mistakes (releasing hot steam in the middle of the base, of fail to insulate properly on very hot maps), you rarerly hit that in the first 500 cycles. .

Hatches are also perfectly safe at 50C. I make sweepers in stables out of lead, by the time I get notified they are overheating 500 cycles may have passed... and I replace them with gold ones and start thinking of a cooling solution for the base w/o any urgency. My food source is not in a immediate danger. And by cycle 500 I'm already thinking of voles. It you don't put industrial machines right in the middle of your base, it takes ages before heat poses a direct threat to dups or hatches.

As for the proper atmosphere, I'm referring to food producing areas. Of course you need O2 production for dups, but if some nat gas or chlorine creeps in your mealwood farms, your food source is at immediate risk. Hatches don't care about gasses. I've ranched them in a vacuum.

In short they are an very robust source of food compared to mealwood. 

Also I go the dups-always-in-suits route more often than not, so usually only one room needs to be oxygenated. It's perfectly normal in my bases to have chlorine pockets or nat gas, in the bedrooms or dining areas or stables. If dups (in suits) don't care and hatches don't care, I don't care.

By cycle 100/150 I have stables going and oxygen piped to suit docks, maybe in front of the lavatories. The washroom is the only room I keep oxygenated, and I even don't care much, I mean they can hold their breath while peeing in the worst case scenario. That basicly solves all problems for a lot of cycles. O2 production may be still temporary at that point, but a SPOM is not far away, once I locate a water source.

6 minutes ago, nakomaru said:

Terribly sorry.

No need to be. I'm not sure either.

But I think to remember that voles are special. AFAIK, there's not way to have standard tame critters self sustained w/o feeding them.

You can go the breeders + starvation room route, I do that for dreckos regularly. The breeders are fed and groomed tho, and the starving ones are neither.

I seem to recall someone experimented with minimally feeding critters, I'm sure you can reset their starvation timer with a just bit of food.

Also I think you can feed tame hatches once or twice in their lifetime, when they are adults, and if unhappy (so no need to groom them) they can make it to 100% reproduction thanks to 80% metabolism, but frankly I don't recall the maths.

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9 minutes ago, TheMule said:

By cycle 100/150 I have stables going and oxygen piped to suit docks, maybe in front of the lavatories. The washroom is the only room I keep oxygenated, and I even don't care much, I mean they can hold their breath while peeing in the worst case scenario. That basicly solves all problems for a lot of cycles. O2 production may be still temporary at that point, but a SPOM is not far away, once I locate a water source.

On my current map around cycle 200 I finally got a double electrolyzer SPOM burning water that is produced from a desalinator in an insulated box I built around the open salt water geyser that was sandwiched between the starting biome and what used to be a cold biome but a ruin broke the heat barrier between it and the magma biome below so it's now filled with hundreds of kg of 200+ C steam.  I also have a steam turbine set up to delete heat from the metal refinery and AT that is keeping cold pwater flowing to the SPOM heat exchanger and top side of the steam turbine, and it is also automated to send the 95 C water ahead of the desalinator to the SPOM and pull in salt water to replace it, so it acts as a free desalinator.  I tried running a pair of kilns in the steam room too, but last night I realized that they were actually robbing it of heat rather than helping.

I think I started ranching hatches around cycle 30.  I have one stable of stone hatches, one with a few sage hatches to get rid of pdirt and some excess dirt occasionally, and a big wild area where I just dump the extras and let them lay an egg and starve.

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6 minutes ago, psusi said:

I have one stable of stone hatches, one with a few sage hatches

I usually go for 3 full stables at the beginning. 2 regular hatches and 1 for stone ones. As the stone hatches population grows, I replace the regular ones. Any dup with +3 husbandry can take care of them with free time left for other tasks. Pre-automation and sweepers, by full I mean a 96 tiles stables with 7 hatches, and manual sweep commands for eggs.

Once automated, that's of course 3 x 8 hatches. In this phase I rarely have more than 12 dups, usually less, so 3 stables are plenty.

 

Of course early stages depend a lot on the starting biome. Sometimes I'm forced to ranch pips for omelettes because there's only one starting hatch. And I do that by digging around pre-existing wild arbor trees and making oddly shaped ranches.

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2 minutes ago, TheMule said:

I usually go for 3 full stables at the beginning. 2 regular hatches and 1 for stone ones. As the stone hatches population grows, I replace the regular ones.

Yea, I started building a third one but once I got stone and sage, and the regulars moved up there, I just left it open and feral since I've got enough food from the mushroom farm and more coal than I will probably ever use.

5 minutes ago, TheMule said:

Once automated, that's of course 3 x 8 hatches.

Why do 8?  They won't lay any eggs then.

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1 minute ago, psusi said:

Yea, I started building a third one but once I got stone and sage, and the regulars moved up there, I just left it open and feral since I've got enough food from the mushroom farm and more coal than I will probably ever use.

Why do 8?  They won't lay any eggs then.

They absolutely do. You need sweepers to remove eggs ASAP tho. Hatches need 12 tiles, so 96/12 = 8. 8 is fine. 1 egg and they get cramped hence the need to remove eggs ASAP.

I limit them to 7 before automation because I have to manually sweep eggs, it's bound to happen that one stays for a while in the stable. 7 hatches + 1 egg they are still happy and not cramped. 2 eggs is a problem but it's rare.

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10 hours ago, nakomaru said:

For unfed groomed tamed critters, all critters some critters will reproduce before dying (25 cyclers will multiply).

Retested everything but fish.

  • Bugs: 5 eggs per life
  • Hatches: 1 egg per life
  • Pips: 1 egg per life
  • Pufts: 1 egg per life
  • Pokeshells: 1 egg per life
  • Slicksters: 0 eggs per life
  • Dreckos: 0 eggs per life
  • Voles: 1 egg per life
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1 hour ago, nakomaru said:

Retested everything but fish.

  • Bugs: 5 eggs per life
  • Hatches: 1 egg per life
  • Pips: 1 egg per life
  • Pufts: 1 egg per life
  • Pokeshells: 1 egg per life
  • Slicksters: 0 eggs per life
  • Dreckos: 0 eggs per life
  • Voles: 1 egg per life

That's very interesting... what's the difference between hatches and slicksters? different starting calories? oni-db doesn't list them...

Does that mean that with 1 breeder you can have a (potentially) infinite number of pokeshells?

I mean the hatches result isn't very interesting per se... if you need about 1.5 of them per dup, when tamed/fed, you need about 20 of them if unfed per single dup, all needing grooming. Not convenient. It's just too easy to ranch them the proper way or to switch to voles.Pokeshells OTOH are not as easy to ranch, feeding them all. You need tons of wild trees and ethanol distillers. Grooming them to sustain the population might be worth it. You do need an army of ranchers I guess.

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10 minutes ago, TheMule said:

That's very interesting... what's the difference between hatches and slicksters? different starting calories? oni-db doesn't list them...
Does that mean that with 1 breeder you can have a (potentially) infinite number of pokeshells?

Starting calories and calorie consumption just works out to be this way. Please keep in mind that wild critters and tame fish require no labor or resources and give an endless supply with properly designed containment. Wild voles and wild or tame pacu can give an enormous supply of free food.

You can keep your unfed tame stock alive with a groomer, but I would say that's probably too much labor.

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35 minutes ago, nakomaru said:

wild critters

Well yeah I know, I collect  pokeshells inside a small (open) pit, within range of a sweeper. On top of that a dispenser is set to collect all eggs and drop them in there (dups can't reach the bottom). Point is that's a fixed amount of lime per cycle... that depends on how many pokeshells are around.
I was looking for a way to increase that.

Actually I've never tried a breeder + tame pacus. I take that they're a good source of lime too?

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10 minutes ago, TheMule said:

Actually I've never tried a breeder + tame pacus. I take that they're a good source of lime too?

It takes quite a while to build up, but yea, once you get enough of them it's a fairly decent and constant supply of food and lime.  You want to feed them only 1 or 2 kg of algae at a time to get them to lay two eggs before they die of old age, then recycle one to replace that one and drop the other in your main tank.  Otherwise they will eat through your stock of algae very quickly.  If you just want lots of lime quick though, stick with grooming poke shells.

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1 hour ago, TheMule said:

I take that they're a good source of lime too?

Personally, I think they are the best. You can rapidly spawn more in a breeding chamber and drop the rest into a 1x1 cell, where they cycle fast and drop big shells, and have no maintenance. Make 50 if you want, or 100. You won't be short on lime for long.

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19 hours ago, Soulwind said:

Hatch - there's plenty of sedimentary and/or igneous rock around to last a VERY long time.  The meat, egg shells, and coal more than make up for the resource use (again in my opinion).

Yep. I've never run out of sedimentary/igneous for hatches to eat and I usually keep 4 full ranches (without the "savings" of allowing them to burrow) around for 100's of cycles past when I no longer need the coal or barbecue from them. 

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12 minutes ago, beowulf2010 said:

Yep. I've never run out of sedimentary/igneous for hatches to eat and I usually keep 4 full ranches (without the "savings" of allowing them to burrow) around for 100's of cycles past when I no longer need the coal or barbecue from them. 

And if you do, you can always melt regolith to turn it into more igneous.

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