I am not a very good Stardew Valley farmer. Really experienced players, who take their farming seriously, they know what’s up. They make their own almanacs, they intensively farm pumpkins or sunflowers to get the best yeilds, and they know how to place sprinklers for peak watering efficiency. I do not know any of those things.
My cruel predicament in Stardew is that really I would prefer not to be a farmer at all. Inasmuch as there can ever be a wrong way to play a game, I play Stardew Valley wrong, because I strive not for economic efficiency (thank god you don’t have to do crop rotation) but efficiency of activity. To whit: I cannot be bothered to keep tilling and planting and so on. I haven’t specialised my farm towards anything. You’d think I’d have given up on the farming dream by this point, wouldn’t you? But last night I had an epiphany. A chicken based epiphany.
My hens are my favourite bit of the farm, because they require very little input from me. I just let them roam free, occasionally provide them with some hay (which I can manufacture at no cost!) and they lay eggs. Then I turn the eggs into mayonnaise by putting an egg in a barrel for a couple of hours. Do not try to make your own mayonnaise this way.
I only have one coop and four hens at the moment. They are called Mark, Jeremy, Super Hans and Johnson. There was an initial outlay, ha, but they have all more than paid for themselves at this point, because in Stardew Valley mayonnaise goes for extortionate sums compared to a simple egg. And critically my character doesn’t use up any energy in tending for the hens, because I don’t have to dig any earth or anything.
So, I am going to be a battery chicken farmer. I’m going to have to concentrate on clearing more room first, and to sustain the initial cost of coops and hens I’m going to have to keep an area where I still grow bok choi, or whatever, but eventually even that will be cleared away for more coops. I am going to become Big Chicken.
There are considerations, however. I’m going all in as a battery farmer, for one. Sadly, Stardew Valley’s ranching system means that hens produce the most eggs when they’re happy, so I can’t make an actual misery dungeon like the bird hole and hope to be peak productive, but I can do my best.
A couple of years back, Morgan Spurlock did a sequel to Supersize Me called Holy Chicken, which did not involve him eating hundreds of live hens like Chronos tearing apart his young, but was in fact about him setting up a fast food chicken franchise. In it he revealed the rules in the US that govern how what makes a chicken ‘free range’, for example. They just have to have access to a tiny bit of the outdoors. Even if they never go out there, having access to it makes them free range.
So, I need to provide that too – the smallest amount of outside land possible for my hens. That will affect how the coops will need to be constructed. Also, I will need to build a mayo processing plant in a shed (optimal layout in a large shed will give me 137 mayo tubs). Hm. A coop is 6 by 3 squares, starter coops hold four hens, but deluxe coops hold 12… I am going to need some graph paper.
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