How to Butcher Animals and Get Meat in Dwarf Fortress

Gotta feed those hungry dwarves!

by Kara Phillips

As you expand your setting in Dwarf Fortress, you’re bound to rely on a huge variety of materials to continue to grow and construct new buildings to utilize. Making sure that your base is well-equipped to make the most of the resources you’re harvesting is essential should you want to progress through the title, and butchering captured animals is one of the best ways to ensure your settlers never go hungry, which is essential given how much adventuring is to be done. So, if you’ve constructed a farm and want to continue to make the most of your livestock, or you have an avid array of hunter Dwarves, read on to find out how you can butcher animals for meat.

Can You Butcher Animals for Meat in Dwarf Fortress?

Before you can start butchering your animals in Dwarf Fortress, you’ll need to have constructed a Butcher’s Shop, which can be found in the Farming menu of the Workshop. Once this is built, you can butcher animals in nearby pastures and any animals you’ve captured while hunting. To Butcher tamed animals, like those you’ll have on fields, you’ll need to open the Labor Menu, select the Creatures tab, and the pets/livestock option. From here, you can mark any animals you want to butcher with the knife icon, and they will be taken to the Butcher’s and slaughtered automatically.

However, Hunter Dwarves will immediately take any captured animals to the Butcher’s Shop, alongside Butchering any killed animals in a 20-tile vicinity around the shop, which is incredibly convenient if you need a more streamlined process of hunting animals and gathering their resources. That said, it’s essential to keep on top of the workload of the Butcher’s Shop since leaving carcasses for an extended period will lead to rotten meat lying around, which will cause your Dwarves to become unhappy and potentially ill. To avoid illness, it’s best to create a garbage chute to give your dwarves an opportunity to get rid of the carcasses once they’ve been worked on.

Dwarf Fortress is available on PC.

- This article was updated on February 8th, 2023