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A cage is a holding device that can hold one or more creatures.
Both empty and occupied cages are stockpiled in an Animal stockpile - use the u key to toggle them on/off (lower right corner of that screen).
Cages can be made of wood, metal or glass (called a terrarium), but not stone. Cages can hold an unlimited number of animals and captured vermin at once. Placing animals in a cage can reduce lag and traffic in your hallways. A cage takes 1 wood log if made by a carpenter at a carpenter's workshop, 3 bars to build if made by a metalsmith at a forge, or 1 sand bag (or rough rock crystal) if made of glass.
The cage can be used in a few ways:
- A cage trap needs a cage as one of its components.
- As animal restraining devices, where you simply plant it and allocate any animals (except pets) you want in it. Females that are caged will not get pregnant, but animals can bear children when caged.
- This is also how you go about making a "zoo".
- A glass cage (Terrarium) can be designated an aquarium for holding captured fish. (see captured live fish)
- If the cage is made of metal, as a jail, where you designate its location to be used for justice, and a sheriff will detain any unruly (or unjustly accused) dwarves.
- Animals kept in cages will still age, which makes cages a great tool for keeping young animals restrained en masse.
Moving and Releasing Caged Creatures
If you buy your first animals via the traders, you may be unsure how to extract them. To remove an animal from a cage, it first needs to be placed via the Build menu (b-j). Since cages are not named for their contents in this version, you'll need to view each cage in the build menu until you locate the correct one. Once it's placed, use q to examine it, a to assign, and then use Enter to toggle the animal(s) currently inside (animals assigned to the cage will have a green " + " next to them). A dwarf will come along and let the animal out of the cage, after which it can be butchered, moved, et cetera. Attempting to release a wild animal or hostile creature using this method will simply cause a dwarf to grab an empty cage, transfer the creature into it, then carry it back to an animal stockpile.
If you already have a cage placed somewhere, a faster way to release bought animals is to examine this cage and assign the animals to it. A dwarf will fetch the animals from the stockpile after which you can release them by again examining the cage. This can also be done with a restraint if you simply wish to tie the animal up somewhere. Assigning a creature to a cage when it is already in another built cage will generate 2 jobs - one to release the creature from its old cage (which will trigger the above behavior for wild animals), and one to place the creature into its new cage.
Moving untamable and/or untamed occupants utilizes the Animal Training labor, which allows you to assign stronger, more capable dwarves to the task, which (may) reduce the chance of escape. It is unconfirmed whether this is the case with untamed, tamable creatures.
Beware that some creatures may be too powerful for your dwarves to safely lead around by the nose, and some others such as invaders may also escape while being transferred.
How to disarm hostiles in cages
The only way to effectively disarm a caged hostile creature is to enter the Stocks screen (provided you have a Bookkeeper), locate its equipment in the proper category (it will be listed in red) and mark it for chasming. While it is easy to identify goblin/kobold clothes because they will always be described as "narrow"/"small", it is difficult to make sure you have found the right weapons; you can verify that you are targeting the right items by using the zoom function; it should point you to the cage. Since this will normally result in the equipment being destroyed, you may wish to lock all available paths to the chasm once the items are picked up so that the chasm jobs will be cancelled, allowing the items to be retrieved (after going into the Stocks screen and unmarking them).
Uses of caged creatures
You can find a list of imaginative uses for captured creatures here.
A cage can be defined as a room, and is then commonly called a zoo. (More than one cage can be so defined, but overlapping such rooms reduces their value, so there is no need except for style points.) Dwarves like to hang out at a room made from a built cage (without an owner) and will be comforted by any animals in the cage they like ("she was comforted by a wonderful creature in a cage recently"). They will also throw parties there. Take care not to cage animals inside which one of your dwarves finds disgusting!
The happy thought will also be triggered if no room is made from the cage.
A restraint, while holding only one creature, works much the same, except not giving the happy thought from seeing a favored creature.[Verify]
If you link a lever to a (built) cage with trapped hostiles, you can release them by pulling the lever and let animals or your soldiers have fun with them. Make sure you have disarmed them first. The design of this "arena" is really up to you but a somewhat contained area or room is advisable. This is also a creative way to get rid of unwanted pets, if you can manage to trap them in the arena. Make sure your dwarves won't tantrum from unhappy thoughts! Dwarves attempting to move certain creatures between cages (goblin champion, colossus, skeletons, etc) will merely result in freeing the creature.
Caged beasts are a reliable way to relieve the nobles of their duties. Install a cage with a wild lion in the noble's quarters and pull the lever to let the king of the beasts
consume attend meeting with the king of the dwarves. The noble will surely die have fun. Just make sure to seal off the entrance. You want the meeting to be private, don't you?
Placing a fish in an aquarium or pond may cause subsequently-caught purring maggots to become unmilkable (Bug:6116). The following patch for version 0.23.130.23a fixes this for both cases:
|Binary Patch Enclosed|
|0x169D12 : DD -> D6 0x169D28 : 85 C6 -> 84 BF|
Barracks • Bedroom • Dining room • Jail • Meeting hall • Office • Sculpture garden • Tomb • Zoo
Lever • Pressure plate • Trap • Support
Archery target • Kennel • Shop • Siege engine • Trade depot • Wagon • Well