What do cows eat?

I am having trouble with starving cows. What do they eat?

Grains and vegetables.
Basically the same thing as your people do, so while they are consuming it from your people, you can actually use them to reduce spoilage by feeding them with “leftovers”


Grains and Vegetables stored in the Barn, to be precise, and ‘grazing’ in a prescribed area.
Which means it is handy to place a Root Cellar and/or a Granary near the barns so their ‘workers’ can collect stored Fodder more easily and quickly to keep the barns stocked.
Another trick is to have an area near the Barn(s) laid out as a field and planted entirely with Clover as a pasture. The fields/pastures wont be bothered by any Farmers that way, and after several years of Clover plus Cows the areas are extremely fertile and can be converted to regular farming if you like.


Hi Boris,
Thanks for the tip! I am not sure I understand how to do thath though? Do you mean designating the area within the cows grasing filed as a farmers field? Will that stop the farmers from working the field or how do you get the farms not to work the field?


Basically, you lay out a field - about 6 x 12 works for the initial Barnful of 10 cows, and plant it entirely in Clover. Since Clover doesn’t have to be harvested, Farmers will ignore it, and Clover doesn’t degrade the fields from multiple (like, Continuous) planting. If you have extra Farmers laying about, you can always plant one year in Root Vegetables or Greens, which the cows will also eat if they get to them before the harvest does.
You will, of course, get multiple warnings that "wildlife are eating the crops’ because the game, like too many American hunters, can’t tell the difference between Bossy and Bambi.


Build at least one Granary next to (touching) each of your Barns.

This will keep grain in close enough proximity for the Herders to keep your cows fed.

They are not very good at it otherwise.

Planting clover on your pastures doesn’t do anything for winter feed, or the feed consumed during summer milkings.

Barns must be stocked with enough food for all of these regular events, and Herders are not inclined to walk very far to do this.


Never meant to imply that pastures were ALL you needed for the cattle.
Both Granaries for grain and a Root Cellar for greens and root vegetables will give the cows a ‘balanced diet’ throughout the year along with the pastures.
After a little experimentation, I found that a collection of granaries and root cellars about 3 - 4 Barn lengths from the Barns will work well enough to keep the barns stocked and provides a little more flexibility in placement. Nearer is definitely better if you can manage it, since the game doesn’t provide digital whips to make the Herders stock at a decent pace. . .

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No need to stock greens, cattle don’t eat them. Only root vegetables, i.e. turnips and carrots, and grain.

In that case, the Game Guide is inaccurate: under Barns they state that cows eat root vegetables, greens and grain.

  • And here I’ve been making sure they had access to Greens all this time . . .
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Huh. Haven’t read the guide, but I’ve only ever seen grain and root veggies shown as being in my barns. :woman_shrugging:

Checked two different Save Games with Barns, and you are absolutely right: no storage of Greens in any Barn.
Somebody make a note to have the Game Guide proof-read after all the Updates are done so any Post Release Gamers aren’t caught out by this sort of thing.
And catch me paying any attention to a Pre-Release Game Guide in the future . . .

But it does bring up another point, looking at all the stuff stored in the Barns, sort of related to this Thread: Even with completely Upgraded Barns with 20 Cows each, and, frankly, never paying any attention to Herculean mucking out the Barns, I have never seen a ‘compost build-up’ marker above a Barn. Are they immune or do the Herders clean them out or have I just been incredibly lucky in a half-dozen games since 7.6?

Well, as of v0.8.0

I have never seen any sign of that in any game. But then, checking the last two games that I saved after getting to Tier 4 and multiple Barns, by sheer Luck I also had a Compost Yard in each game placed not far from the Barns.

Sometimes it’s better to be Blind Lucky than smart . . .

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or a root cellar with root crops like carrots/turnips.

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Yes, but Root Cellars along with Vaults are primary targets for Raiders.

Extra security will be required.

Granaries are not.

Cows eat grain and root crops. I keep root cellers close to store house and town center. where I first setup defense towers.

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They do have the ability to survive on both or either, but a sufficient quantity of grain alone will suffice.

I find farming root veggies of little value in their reduced output and negative fertility impacts.

Wheat will feed cattle, brew beer for sale, and provide bakeries with flour for bread.

Sustaining both human and farm animal populations, providing a source of revenue and a desirability bonus.