Right, so summer crops took a hit on blueberries, which is primarily only important in year one, and Cranberries got hammered, to the point of almost no longer being viable. Which begs the question... can the boosts to animals overcome the nerf-bat that the crops took? The Caveats: Calculating this is going to be pretty difficult because RNG plays a role here, but otherwise it is calculated much like Greenhouse crops... once you have your initial investment amortized, everything else is pure profit. The downside is that there's a LOT of overhead here to cover. I'll be providing a couple of sets of numbers. One is going to be the 'worst case scenario' with a %50 reduction to take into consideration RNG being a stingy jerk. This is almost certain to be a far lower lowball than you will likely ever see in an actual game, but without any hard numbers, I feel the need to err on the side of conservatism to present a potential worst case. On the other end, I will not be taking into consideration the fickleness of the RNG, meaning yields are going to be higher than you can anticipate in a real game environment. Again, I don't have anything solid to base it on, so this is the 'best case scenario' solution in an ideal world. The reality is going to lie somewhere between these two figures. Where, I simply don't know. I don't have the RNG formula with which to calculate reliable probability and statistics. Then again, we all know the old saying about lies, damned lies, and statistics, so perhaps it is for the best. Also: A rumor that I would like to disabuse people of: Rancher does not increase the value of artisan goods made from animal products, which means that even if you plan on going with a heavy animal focus, Tiller/Artisan is *STILL* going to be the most profitable way to go. Even with starred animal products now available, even with the boost to Rancher, it is still going to be better to Artisan it up. With that said, let's look at costs and profits, shall we? The Barn: Cows. Basic staple animal, produces milk roughly on a daily basis. Turns into Cheese, which is a really darn good food, and can be aged in casks in your cellar for better returns. But how much better are they really? Well, let's find out. Cows can start off in the basic no-frills barn, available from Robin for 6,000g, 350 wood, and 150 stone. They cost 1,500 a pop, and you can put four cows in a Barn. There's absolutely zero reason to not fill your barn full, if you are going to bother building one, all you are doing is losing out on daily profits if you don't. That's another 6,000. Oh, and you'll need the Milk Pail for an extra 1,000 So, the total cost to get started with Cows is 13,000 + 350 wood + 150 Stone. Doable in your first summer if you favor it over some of your tool upgrades. Don't forget your Silo, either, but since all animals require the silo, and because it is so cheap, we won't be factoring it into these equations. Also, you'll eventually want a Heater at 2k before the first of Summer, and will be needed in a Coop as well, so the costs balance out. So, how long will your cows pay back your costs? Assuming no upgrades, 4 cows busily churning out 1 milk per day, to turn into 1 cheese per day, This is a base minimum of 200g/day per cow for the Highball figure, or 100g/d/cow for the lowball figure. So, you're looking at 400-800 gold per day. However, once your cows get hearts, they will be more likely to produce Large Milk which produces Gold Star Cheese that sells for 300 a piece. And that doesn't take into consideration that you can age cheese up to Iridium Quality. Assuming you have the casks, each Iridium Cheese is worth a base of 400 each, which brings it up to 560g each with Artisan. Assuming this maximum condition, where you have enough casks to age your cheese to Iridium with no backlog, and you have Artisan, you are looking at 2,240/d for the highball or 1,120/d for the lowball. Honestly, you're probably looking at an actual result closer to the high end, but I cannot confirm that. Now, what if we upgrade the barn clear up to Deluxe and fill it with 12 cows? What kind of profits would we be bringing in then? Well, first off, the Deluxe Barn is expensive, ringing in at 43,000g + 350 Wood + 650 Stone, or just shy of 70k (69,500g to be precise) if you buy it all from Robin instead of supplying your own building materials. Then you've got 12 cows at 1,500 a piece for a total of 18,000, then +1,000 for that pail. That rings in at 88,500 total cost. Whew... so, what do we get out of it? Well, 12 cows churning out 12 cheese, aged to iridium star cheese, with Artisan, comes out to 6,720 as a highball figure, or 3,360 as a lowball. You'll actually pay that off in about two to three weeks, depending on how nice the RNG is to you. After that, it is pure profit. 188,160g per season, in point of fact. Unfortunately, the Barn also has a very large footprint at 4 x 7, or a total of 28 squares, bringing the profit per square back down to 6720 as a best case scenario. Blueberries, even post-nerf, produce 520 per season per crop, which leaves a seasonal profit of 28 blueberries at 14,560, cranberries are only slightly less. So even in an ideal 'perfect storm', crops are still roughly twice as profitable per square during their season, at an absolute minimum. Goats are unfortunately even less profitable than cows, since they produce roughly half as much milk and have steeper investment costs. Pigs aren't worth it because they won't produce ANYTHING in the Winter and the products are actually Foragables rather than Animal Products, and Sheep... well, if someone could get me a reliable estimate on how often you can shear a sheep, I'd be willing to calculate it out. The only funny thing about Sheep is that with Rancher/Shepherd, you can actually end up in a scenario where you LOSE money by weaving the wool into cloth. In fact, with that setup, while you may lose out on 40% of everything ELSE your farm does, you get a better deal out of selling raw will as long as it silver star or better. However, EVEN IF sheep produce wool EVERY DAY without fail, they STILL won't produce as much as guaranteed iridium star cheese from regular cows via aging in casks. Which... pretty much says everything that needs to be said about animal products. The beginning animal is also the most profitable. Yea, some re-working of some numbers probably needs to be done here at some point. The Coop: So, let's look at the other side of the equation. A coop is cheaper than a barn, at only 4k + 300 wood + 100 stone, and you don't need that milk pail for the extra 1k cost entailed. Chickens. The first and easiest one to obtain. At a mere 800g a piece, it's also the cheapest animal you can get, allowing you to re-coop your losses (pun intended) quite rapidly. As with the barn, there's absolutely no reason to not max out your number of animals, so that's 800*4=3200. You can sneak into a Coop and Chickens for only around 7200 plus materials, so less than half the cost of a full Barn. Not too shabby. Chicken eggs get turned into Mayo, which sells for 190 each. Actually... not too shabby, only around 10g less than the cows can get for their cheese at base price. This brings in gold-star Mayo from Large Eggs at 285g/ea. The problem here is that unlike the cheese, there's no way to age Mayo (Ewww....) for extra profits. So while the initial cost is lower, and it pays itself off sooner, it also is ultimately far less profitable. In no case is selling raw chicken eggs a profitable deal. Ducks are worse because their yield is so much lower, but even if they did produce as much as a chicken, cows would still have them beat with iridium quality cheese. Considering you can go a whole month without seeing a single duck feather, we can safely eliminate them from the equation. Rabbits are even worse still because their drop rate is so abysmally low. But then there's Void Chickens. Void Mayo has hit the scene in a major way! In addition to being quite the delicacy for goblinkind, they sell for a base price of 275 a piece! Mind you, you'll need an incubator, which means at least a Large if not Deluxe Coop, and since there is no such thing as a Large Void Egg, there's also no such thing as gold-star void mayo, so you still end up behind Cows due to aging giving them the ability to absolutely guarantee that every piece of cheese comes out of your production at Iridium Quality, However, since you can only incubate void chickens, that means the most you will ever have to spend to get them is the cost of the coop itself, and maybe a single void egg from Korobus down in the sewer if you get unlucky with the witch. It's a shame, but none of the coop animals can compare with cows, due primarily to the ability to age cheese. For some reason, aging mayo never quite turns out right... who knew? In Conclusion: tl;dr: Cows are most profitable animals, but they still fall behind crops three seasons out of four. But cows are a very reliable and consistent mostly passive income, due to being able to age the cheese in casks in your cellar. Since it'll take not one but multiple seasons to age your wine, this might be a better use of your cellar space.