Tags: fort | auto | fps | animals

Command: autobutcher

Automatically butcher excess livestock.

This plugin monitors how many pets you have of each gender and age and assigns excess livestock for slaughter. It requires that you add the target race(s) to a watch list. Units will be ignored if they are:

  • Untamed

  • Nicknamed (for custom protection; you can use the rename unit tool individually, or zone nick for groups)

  • Caged, if and only if the cage is in a zone (to protect zoos)

  • Trained for war or hunting

Creatures who will not reproduce (because they’re not interested in the opposite sex or have been gelded) will be butchered before those who will. Older adults and younger children will be butchered first if the population is above the target (defaults are: 2 male kids, 4 female kids, 2 male adults, 4 female adults). Note that you may need to set a target above 1 to have a reliable breeding population due to asexuality etc. See fix-ster if this is a problem.


enable autobutcher

Start processing livestock according to the configuration. Note that no races are watched by default. You have to add the ones you want to monitor with autobutcher watch, autobutcher target or autobutcher autowatch.

autobutcher autowatch

Automatically add all new races (animals you buy from merchants, tame yourself, or get from migrants) to the watch list using the default target counts. This option is enabled by default.

autobutcher noautowatch

Stop auto-adding new races to the watch list.

autobutcher target <fk> <mk> <fa> <ma> all|new|<race> [<race> ...]

Set target counts for the specified races: - fk = number of female kids - mk = number of male kids - fa = number of female adults - ma = number of female adults If you specify all, then this command will set the counts for all races on your current watchlist (including the races which are currently set to ‘unwatched’) and sets the new default for future watch commands. If you specify new, then this command just sets the new default counts for future watch commands without changing your current watchlist. Otherwise, all space separated races listed will be modified (or added to the watchlist if they aren’t there already).

autobutcher ticks <ticks>

Change the number of ticks between scanning cycles when the plugin is enabled. By default, a cycle happens every 6000 ticks (about 8 game days).

autobutcher watch all|<race> [<race> ...]

Start watching the listed races. If they aren’t already in your watchlist, then they will be added with the default target counts. If you specify the keyword all, then all races in your watchlist that are currently marked as unwatched will become watched.

autobutcher unwatch all|<race> [<race> ...]

Stop watching the specified race(s) (or all races on your watchlist if all is given). The current target settings will be remembered.

autobutcher forget all|<race> [<race> ...]

Unwatch the specified race(s) (or all races on your watchlist if all is given) and forget target settings for it/them.

autobutcher [list]

Print status and current settings, including the watchlist. This is the default command if autobutcher is run without parameters.

autobutcher list_export

Print commands required to set the current settings in another fort.

To see a list of all races, run this command:

devel/query –table –search ^creature_id –maxdepth 1

Though not all the races listed there are tameable/butcherable.


Settings and watchlist are stored in the savegame, so you can have different settings for each save. If you want to copy your watchlist to another, savegame, you can export the commands required to recreate your settings.

To export, open an external terminal in the DF directory, and run dfhack-run autobutcher list_export > filename.txt. To import, load your new save and run script filename.txt in the DFHack terminal.


Keep at most 7 kids (4 female, 3 male) and at most 3 adults (2 female, 1 male) for turkeys. Once the kids grow up, the oldest adults will get slaughtered. Excess kids will get slaughtered starting the the youngest to allow that the older ones grow into adults:

autobutcher target 4 3 2 1 BIRD_TURKEY

Configure useful limits for dogs, cats, geese (for eggs, leather, and bones), alpacas, sheep, and llamas (for wool), and pigs (for milk and meat). All other unnamed tame units will be marked for slaughter as soon as they arrive in your fortress:

enable autobutcher
autobutcher target 2 2 2 2 DOG
autobutcher target 1 1 2 2 CAT
autobutcher target 50 50 14 2 BIRD_GOOSE
autobutcher target 2 2 4 2 ALPACA SHEEP LLAMA
autobutcher target 5 5 6 2 PIG
autobutcher target 0 0 0 0 new