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Butchers do the dirty job of processing animal corpses and body parts for meat, fat, skin, bones, and a skull at the butcher's shop. With higher skill, butchers will process corpses (from hunted animals) more quickly, though tame animals designated for slaughter will always be processed instantly.
Butchering is performed automatically at a butcher's shop, but only if "Auto Butcher" is enabled in your workshop orders (o-W) and there is an animal specified to be butchered or a suitable carcass on a stockpile somewhere, whether created by hunting or by battle.
Butchering of livestock is done by using z, enter on the Animals tab, and then hitting b to mark an animal for slaughter. Their status will say "Ready for slaughter". Animals taken as pets by someone cannot be slaughtered, which poses a problem for reducing the number of animals, or trying to get food.
Any living animal's corpse may be collected and butchered, by default. It cannot be hunted and butchered if defined as "NOT_BUTCHERABLE" or "BUTCHERABLE_NONSTANDARD" in the raw object data.
When an animal is butchered, it will always produce the following:
- One skull, regardless of the number of heads it has, unless the animal is defined as not producing a skull. Look for "NOSKULL" in the raw object data.
- One skin, unless the animal is defined as having no skin. Look for "NOSKIN" in the raw object data.
- No fat, unless the animal is defined as having a specific amount of fat. In practice, most animals do have definitions for the amount of fat they produce. Look for "FAT" in the raw object data.
- A number of pieces of meat equal to the animal's size, unless the animal is defined as producing no meat. Look for "NOMEAT" in the raw object data, and if it does not appear, refer to "SIZE".
- A number of worthless chunks equal to the animal's size, unless the animal produces no meat. Again look for "NOMEAT" in the raw object data, and refer to "SIZE" otherwise.
- A number of bones equal to the animal's size, unless the animal is defined as producing no bones. Look for "NOBONES" in the raw object data, and if it does not appear, refer to "SIZE".
- Butchering a "child" version of the animal (kitten, puppy, calf, dragonling, whatever) will produce 2/3 the normal amount of bones, meat, and chunks, while butchering a "baby" animal (if modded) produces 1/3 the normal amount. In all cases, you still get one skin and one skull, where appropriate.
Creatures with the [NOT_BUTCHERABLE] flag cannot be butchered by any means. This flag is only set for creatures which do not leave any sort of butcherable corpse, such as vermin and creatures such as grimelings or magma men.
Creatures with [BUTCHERABLE_NONSTANDARD] can only be slaughtered as livestock and will not be butchered if they die by any other means. This flag is mainly set on humanoids, as well as dogs and cats (and, most unfortunately, unicorns).
See an individual creature's data file to check if either flag is present.
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