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Author Topic: How to Maximize Leather Production?  (Read 1506 times)

Hans Lemurson

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How to Maximize Leather Production?
« on: April 15, 2019, 06:20:22 am »

Each animal, regardless of its size, will produce a single raw hide and thus a single leather.  However, below a minimum size, an animal will yield nothing (save a skull) when butchered.

Animals vary in their gestation periods, litter sizes, and age of adulthood.  Adulthood is less important (except for increasing your breeding stock), so long as juveniles are large enough to produce a hide.

Given all of this, what animal would be ideal for producing the maximum amount of leather in a fortress?  Geese? Pigs? Dogs?  Very large rabbits?  Has anybody had success with a domestic leather industry?
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PatrikLundell

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Re: How to Maximize Leather Production?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2019, 07:47:14 am »

Given the current bizarre situation of one hide irrespective of size (above the minimum threshold), there's no normal alternative that's reasonable. There is one work around in two versions: butchering animals in parts, as each part yields one skin.
1. "Normal" case, doesn't work with tame animals: Splattering, i.e. drop the animals from a sufficient height that they explode on impact, and then process the resultant parts.
2. "Necro bacon": The "real" necro bacon process is to let dead animals reanimate, get rekilled, and then butchered, as the reanimation process results in a larger body mass. However, you can butcher animals and let their skins reanimate. When you put down the skin it splits in part skins (head skin, etc.), note that any skin parts for body parts that can reanimate can reanimate as skins as well (i.e. those of the head and those with grasp).
3. Just give up and buy leather by the bin-full from dwarven and human caravans, with some minor supplement as bycatch from your meat industry.
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Ulfarr

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Re: How to Maximize Leather Production?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2019, 08:27:56 am »

I would probably go for some kind of poultry* if available. They don't need to graze, most of them reach full size/adulthood within a year and it's probably quicker to breed large numbers of them than mamals (egg clutch number vs litter size). They'll probably also produce less byproducts (meat,bones, etc) if you also have other sources of them.

*According to wiki out of the domestic poultry, ducks and guineafowl don't produce any skin but the others do.

Blue_Dwarf

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Re: How to Maximize Leather Production?
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2019, 08:32:18 am »

The problem with producing leather is that bug where every creature you kill somehow adds to the fps death counter. It's much better to order tons of leather from the caravans.
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Xyon

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Re: How to Maximize Leather Production?
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2019, 11:28:14 am »

I use Turkeys as my leather animal. But if you really want to make a lot of leather then consider having 3-4 different kinds of birds that do produce leather to get around the population limit on single animal types.
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Bradders

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Re: How to Maximize Leather Production?
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2019, 07:10:57 pm »

To clothe a dwarf in leather, it takes one leather per piece, requiring one animal per piece.  Even at some of the smaller meat-to-leather ratio animals you could butcher, your dwarf could have more food sitting around from having made that leather than could be consumed before said equipment rots off of him.  Ask the caravan's attached envoy to send all the leather to your fort, especially the high value ones (Rhino, Elephant, Giraffe, Lions, Tigers, all giant varieties thereof, giant cave bats, giant olms, etc.)
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Hans Lemurson

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Re: How to Maximize Leather Production?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2019, 04:05:58 am »

Given the current bizarre situation of one hide irrespective of size (above the minimum threshold), there's no normal alternative that's reasonable. There is one work around in two versions: butchering animals in parts, as each part yields one skin.
1. "Normal" case, doesn't work with tame animals: Splattering, i.e. drop the animals from a sufficient height that they explode on impact, and then process the resultant parts.
2. "Necro bacon": The "real" necro bacon process is to let dead animals reanimate, get rekilled, and then butchered, as the reanimation process results in a larger body mass. However, you can butcher animals and let their skins reanimate. When you put down the skin it splits in part skins (head skin, etc.), note that any skin parts for body parts that can reanimate can reanimate as skins as well (i.e. those of the head and those with grasp).
3. Just give up and buy leather by the bin-full from dwarven and human caravans, with some minor supplement as bycatch from your meat industry.
#1 is irrelevant,
#2 is impractical
#3 isn't even answering the question.

"Necromantic skin-splitting" could improve yields, sure, but how do you GET that yield in the first place?  How u farm 4 max skinz?

I would probably go for some kind of poultry* if available. They don't need to graze, most of them reach full size/adulthood within a year and it's probably quicker to breed large numbers of them than mamals (egg clutch number vs litter size). They'll probably also produce less byproducts (meat,bones, etc) if you also have other sources of them.

*According to wiki out of the domestic poultry, ducks and guineafowl don't produce any skin but the others do.
I've been considering Geese because of their faster maturation rate, but maybe the Clutch Size is what's more important.  I wonder how old they have to get before you can butcher them for skins. 

I suppose that's another factor: "Skinnable Age".  For larger creatures, even with a slower breeding or maturation rate, maybe some might be skinnable as newborns, thus reducing the number of animals that need to sit around growing up, and freeing up space for their mothers to breed a new generation of leather-sacks.

I use Turkeys as my leather animal. But if you really want to make a lot of leather then consider having 3-4 different kinds of birds that do produce leather to get around the population limit on single animal types.
My OCD compels me to try to have just a single type of leather in my fortress, but I suppose in the name of industry, multi-species operations may be necessary.  Trying to maximize the breeding and maturation throughput of a given species will be essential.  The smaller the fraction of a species that must be breeders, the better, but you also want animals that spend as little time as possible waiting for their skins to grow big enough.

When you hit your population cap, 80% babies which mature in 1 year is just as good as 40% babies which mature in 6 months.

The problem with producing leather is that bug where every creature you kill somehow adds to the fps death counter. It's much better to order tons of leather from the caravans.
Hmmm...we are talking about an awful lot of critters for the death-roster.  Is it proven that butchering livestock causes slowdowns?  Is there a dfhack cleanup for this?

To clothe a dwarf in leather, it takes one leather per piece, requiring one animal per piece.  Even at some of the smaller meat-to-leather ratio animals you could butcher, your dwarf could have more food sitting around from having made that leather than could be consumed before said equipment rots off of him.  Ask the caravan's attached envoy to send all the leather to your fort, especially the high value ones (Rhino, Elephant, Giraffe, Lions, Tigers, all giant varieties thereof, giant cave bats, giant olms, etc.)
Fortunately I'm not hoping to cloth dwarves in leather!  That is funny to imagine dwarves being unable to eat fast enough to keep themselves clothed.  Let me see, dwarves need new clothes every...2 years?  That's 8 seasons, and at 2 food per season that means they can only eat their way through 16 food.  And if minimally clothed, with shoes/pants/shirt that's 3 leather.  So if we can't find an animal that butchers for less than 6 food, then we are facing a meat-pocalypse! 
Good heavens.
So clothing is out of the picture, but perhaps domestically-sourced light armor might be practical.

As for importing: I already know how easy it is to order bins upon bins of cheap and abundant leather from afar, but the challenge I'm looking at is for DOMESTIC PRODUCTION.
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Ulfarr

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Re: How to Maximize Leather Production?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2019, 06:09:55 am »

I think I'll modify my answer a little, because I didn't  properly considered the effect of size. After reading around the wiki and comparing animal sizes, my best assumption for the necessary size for an animal to wield a hide is about 1250 - 1400. I couldn't find any more reliable number.

I then looked for animals that can (almost) reach or exceed that size at birth and the best I could find were:
  • badgers: they spawn at large numbers so capturing a breeding pair is fairly easy, 1500 avg size at birth, prone to rage so maybe bad livingstock
  • dogs: available at embark, 1000 avg size at birth, need a year for growing big enough to reliably give a skin.
  • ostriches: spawn in large numbers, easy to breed, 1800 avg size at birth, exclussive to few biomes, lots of byproducts
  • geese: available at embark, reach big enough size at 6 months, minimal byproducts.
  • turkeys: available at embark, bigger egg clutch size than geese, reach the required size in a year
  • chickens: available at embark, bigger egg clutch size than geese, reach the required size in two years, minimum byproducts

While pigs and boars both exceed the minimum size at birth, both have the [MULTIPLE_LITTER_RARE] token which limit their breeding speed and they also produce too many byproducts.

There are a lot of other animals that can reach the minimum size at birth but there is always the problems of acquiring a breeding pair and producing too much clutter. At the time I haven't found any animal that can produce both a hide and less than 6 edibles.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2019, 08:32:43 am by Ulfarr »
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thefriendlyhacker

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Re: How to Maximize Leather Production?
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2019, 06:36:14 am »

Can I be the practical man and suggest modding in variable yields for leather based on animal size ala the More Leather mod?
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PatrikLundell

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Re: How to Maximize Leather Production?
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2019, 07:28:50 am »

I'm not aware of dead critters causing FPS drain. However, a large number of dead critters will cause the unit count limits to be reached, blocking births and whatnot. This can largely be prevented by using the DFHack script that culls the list, and this script is enabled by default by the LNP (citizens remain in the list, as do dwarves, so it will grow anyway).
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Ulfarr

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Re: How to Maximize Leather Production?
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2019, 09:38:09 am »

Modding might be outside Hans' scope but I'm thankful that you mentioned the More Leather mod. I didn't know about it and I'm going to, at least, give it a try with my mod.

Superdorf

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Re: How to Maximize Leather Production?
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2019, 11:10:10 am »

I'm doing some testing, and immature cats seem to work pretty well. Some drop 6 units of meat and 6 units of tallow when butchered-- not ideal-- but some drop only 2 of each, which is perfect.

What determines the drop counts, I don't know... physical attributes, maybe? Perhaps you could breed a smaller strain of cat, thus minimizing your meat returns while retaining those precious, precious skins.

I'm gonna spend awhile looking into PatrikLundell's hide multiplication tricks. Cats are good, but maybe not quite good enough... a bit of necroleather might just push them the rest of the way.
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CaptainArchmage

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Re: How to Maximize Leather Production?
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2019, 02:34:57 pm »

The best way to get your leather industry going is literally to order a metric fuckton of leather from a caravan and start mass production.

To clothe a dwarf in leather, it takes one leather per piece, requiring one animal per piece.  Even at some of the smaller meat-to-leather ratio animals you could butcher, your dwarf could have more food sitting around from having made that leather than could be consumed before said equipment rots off of him.  Ask the caravan's attached envoy to send all the leather to your fort, especially the high value ones (Rhino, Elephant, Giraffe, Lions, Tigers, all giant varieties thereof, giant cave bats, giant olms, etc.)

As noted here, due to the amount of leather required you're better off importing.

I'm not aware of dead critters causing FPS drain. However, a large number of dead critters will cause the unit count limits to be reached, blocking births and whatnot. This can largely be prevented by using the DFHack script that culls the list, and this script is enabled by default by the LNP (citizens remain in the list, as do dwarves, so it will grow anyway).

To be honest, this should have been fixed a long time ago. But after a few generations you'll still have a full units list... ugh...

One of the main oppositions I have to butchering is literally the fact that the creatures pile up in the units list.
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ldog

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Re: How to Maximize Leather Production?
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2019, 03:35:12 pm »

Geese or Peafowl are my go-to poultry. Good clutch size, fast maturity. Pigs are also very good low maintenance livestock. I usually bring a few each, as well as maybe some sheep for wool.
It still takes a couple years to get ramped up, but by 3rd year you should be swimming in everything you can produce.

The old modest mod had the amount of leather given by the size of the animal, it took some clever kludges to make it work. Not at all a straightforward thing like everyone expects.
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Sarmatian123

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Re: How to Maximize Leather Production?
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2019, 01:20:09 pm »

Good topic, which needs !science! Cloth going bad in 2 years is really a tragedy. Specially leather clothing, which should last EASY 10 years minimum. Whomever invented new leather clothing every 2 year... grrr.

I train my leather workers at leather armor, which my crossbowmen use: leather helm, leather armor, leather high boots. Exception are bone gauntlets and some metal chain mail usually. 2 crossbow dwarven squads give only requirement for 60 master quality leather items. I used to make shields from wood or leather, but master shields usage need them to be made out of iron. However armor does not wear down in months, like leather clothing.

I cloth all dwarves in leather clothing: robes, trousers, hood, gloves and cloak. Exception are socks, which I tend to make out of wool or pigtails. Strangely enough many penetrating hits in combat are being stopped not by armor, but this leather clothing for some reason. Is clothing better deflecting hits then armor is? Weird. 220 dwarves * 5= 1100 leather clothing every 2 years or 550 leather clothing every 1 year. Crazy numbers, right? Specially for leather clothing.

I basically ship all leather in. Rotting leather clothing is still an emotional issue. This psycho thing needs adjusting imho. Domestic production (mostly A LOT OF dogs tbh) and "kill them all!" team of 10 hunters are not sufficient to bring enough leather in. I was considering pigs, but there are too many left overs from them. I don't get many cat skins, as I kill young female kittens early off. Keeping just 2 of them is enough to clean fortress from vermin. They don't catch flies and such though, which is a pity and there is no smoke way to fix this insect issue. Fortress, which gets infested by flying vermin is always a forfeit. I was considered to keep also alpacas for wool & skin, but you get so much wool over, it is impractical. Because of all the meat from hunt and dogs, you need just supply plants and fruits to keep diet balanced in the keep. However food picky dwarves still going psycho, because the variety of food they like, is missing.

This psycho thing needs urgent overhaul imho. Main issues to patch are:
- food preferences
- clothing rotting crazy way too fast (leather clothing in focus here)

If we could patch those 2 issues, then maybe domestic production of dog leather could cover all needs in clothing and most in eating. Elven caravans sometimes bring interesting animals in cages. Domesticated wolves could be as easily used like dogs, I think.
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