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Easy Winter Foods – Don’t Starve

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By GOP3 Steals Chips

Easy, renewable winter foods for surface playing in vanilla Don’t Starve. Some foods are not available in the winter: berries, honey from bee box, farms, seeds, fish, frogs, mushrooms. This guide is about some foods to get you through the winter that do not require you to constantly fight and risk your health, such as beefalo, pigs, tallbirds, tallbird eggs. That’s why they’re easy.

Setting Up Your Camp

By default, winter begins on day 21. To survive the winter, you have to prepare before winter. You need to have a plan and set up a camp. Choose the placement of your camp based on which food source you plan to use. More about that later. First, spend your time learning the map (I like to run around the edges and follow paths), gathering the items needed to build your camp (make yourself a list), choosing the placement for your camp, building the camp, creating a stash of required items.

Things all camps will require are:

  • Firepit, to cook and keep you warm.
  • Crock Pot, to cook more advanced food.
  • Science Machine, to make required items, like the crock pot.
  • Grass, to craft items. Will require fertilizer (manure, rot, rotten eggs) for each transplanted plant. Grass does not grow in the winter and you will need a lot of grass for traps through the winter so build a big stash.
  • Saplings/Twigs, to craft traps, tools, bird traps, and other stuff. Does not grow in the winter.
  • Trees, to burn logs in the firepit and keep you warm.
  • Lightning Rod, to protect your grass, saplings, trees from lightning fires. Lightning doesn’t occur in winter but will occur before winter as you are setting up your camp.
  • Flint, to craft tools. Have a stash of flint on hand at all times.

Optional items:

  • Alchemy Engine, to make even more items.
  • Drying Rack, makes jerky. Jerky is a great food: it lasts forever on the drying rack, and a long time after harvesting; it boosts hunger, sanity, and health; can be used in crock pots, traded with the Pig King, used to befriend a pig. Monster Jerky can be fed to caged birds to get an egg; traded with the Pig King, befriend a pig or turn him into a werepig.
  • Ice Box, makes your food last longer.
  • Thermal Stone, will help keep you alive long enough in the cold to harvest food.
  • Fireflies, put a firefly next to your firepit and tooth trap field to find them easier in the dark. Not useful specifically for food.

After you’ve chosen a spot and gathered supplies.

I like to place the science machine and crock pot near the firepit to easily access them at night.

I like to plant patches of grass, saplings, and trees that are small and spaced far enough apart that if one catches fire, no others will catch fire. I like to have two of each type so if one burns, I don’t lose ALL of that item. I usually have two patches of 20 each grass and saplings. And two patches of 16 each trees. You can build more later if you want to.

Grass and saplings don’t grow in winter. Get them started early and pick them each time they grow. Keep a stash to get you through the winter. You can keep them in chests or in piles far enough from each other that if one burns, no others catch fire. If you are going to rely on traps, you are going to need a lot of grass. Twigs are required for traps, bird traps, and tools, like the axe and shovel to keep your tree farm working.

Trees will grow all winter and you will need a lot of logs to keep you warm, so get your tree farms going and keep a stash of logs. Keep them in chests or in stacks far enough apart that if one burns, another doesn’t catch fire.

Rabbit Camp

Requires:

  • Traps, for catching rabbits.
  • Rabbit Holes (which are already in place on the map, you can’t move them).

Probably the easiest option, can come with the huge bonus of beefalo nearby for gathering manure and killing hounds. Good for early game before you have enough teeth for tooth traps.

Look for a place, preferably near, but not too near, beefalo. You don’t want beefalo in your camp. When some get killed and you get a beefalo horn, you can use it to lure them away if they get too close.

What you need for a rabbit camp is a lot of rabbit holes close together so you don’t spend too much time collecting rabbits. I think at least 10 rabbit holes in relatively close proximity, maybe in a line or arc pattern so collecting rabbits is pretty easy.

This food source depends on having a lot of grass and twigs available all winter to keep making traps. You place a trap on each rabbit hole and collect rabbits that way. You murder them, and cook them in the crock pot, 4 morsels makes meatballs.

Spider Camp

Requires:

  • Spider Nests, 2 or 3.
  • Traps, for catching spiders.
  • A birdcage, to house your bird.
  • A bird trap, to catch a bird.
  • Seeds, to bait the bird trap.
  • A bird in a birdcage to turn monster meat into eggs.

Optional:

  • More bird traps to incorporate bird morsels into your meals.
  • Seeds, enough to keep baiting bird traps all winter must be ready before winter begins.

This camp has to be placed near a couple of pre-existing spider nests, or even placed anywhere on the map if you have some spider eggs to place your own nests. Make your camp far enough away that the spiders don’t wander into your camp at night.

This food supply relies on setting up traps and luring spiders into them for monster meat. Then using a caged bird to convert the monster meat into eggs for use in the crock pot.

One monster meat plus three eggs in the crock pot makes meatballs which provides 3 health, 62.5 hunger, and 5 sanity. Perfectly fine for living through the winter.

If you decide to also catch birds in bird traps you can make bacon and eggs with 1 monster meat, 1 morsel, 2 eggs in the crock pot which provides 20 health, 75 hunger, and 5 sanity. So it’s a better meal than meatballs. Set up a few bird traps and add seeds as bait. When you catch a bird, cook it over the fire to ensure it turns into a morsel. If you murder it, you might get a morsel or you might get a feather.

Trapping Spiders

Only trap spiders in the daytime, when most spiders are in their dens.

Have a spear in your hand and space in your inventory for silk, monster meat, spider glands. Protective gear would be prudent, but not required.

One spider per tier of the nest will chase you when you step on the webbing. There will be three batches, then you have to move on to a different nest. Never attack the spiders while still on the webbing, that triggers the spider warriors (evil green jumping spiders).

No traps necessary for a 1 tier spider nest if you want to fight it yourself. For larger nests, place 2 or 3 traps in a row near the nest. Run onto the nest’s webbing and run back off towards your traps. Run on it again to lure the spiders to follow you to the traps. The spiders get caught in the traps when they run past them. You may have to kill one yourself if it’s not trapped. It’s easy and you will get little to no damage, if wearing protective gear. Collect your goodies from the traps, set them up, and lure more spiders two more times. Then move on to another nest.

Using The Meat

If you use more than one monster meat in the crock pot you will get monster lasagna, don’t eat it, it’s bad for you. Put it on the ground next to your pile of rot.

If you use 4 eggs in the crock pot you will get wet goop. Don’t eat it, it’s bad for you. Put it on the ground next to your pile of rot.

Use 1 monster meat and 3 eggs to make meatballs. Or use 1 monster meat, 1 morsel, and 2 eggs for bacon and eggs, if you have morsels available.

Monster meat can go into the crock pot cooked or raw. But the bird will only eat cooked monster meat, so plan accordingly. Cook monster meat over the fire, and feed the bird three cooked monster meat and get three eggs back.

Another good option is to use drying racks to make monster jerky. Monster jerky lasts forever while on the drying rack, and a long time after being harvested. The bird will eat monster jerky and give you an egg, and monster jerky can be used in the crock pot. So it’s a good way of preserving the meat so it lasts longer.

Bird Camp

Requires:

  • Bird Traps, enough to keep you fed and alive. Ten traps for the 16 day winter.
  • Seeds, for baiting bird traps. Gather enough before winter to last through winter. At least 80.
  • Spider Silk, enough to make bird traps all winter. At least 40.
  • Twigs are required for bird traps, they don’t regrow during winter. At least 30.

Optional:

  • Ice Box, makes food last longer.
  • A birdcage, to house your bird.
  • A bird in a birdcage to turn old seeds into fresh seeds, monster meat into eggs, turn old eggs into fresh eggs.
  • Spiders close by to supplement your meals with abundant monster meat.
  • Tallbirds nearby to supplement your meals with meat and tallbird eggs, near tooth traps so you don’t have to fight them.
  • Pigs nearby to supplement your meals with meat. Be careful with this if you don’t want to be fighting pigs. You could have a few near tooth traps and never have to fight them.
  • Drying Rack to preserve supplemental meat.

This camp depends on bird traps, and can be built anywhere on the map. If you don’t have a spider nest close by, you will need enough spider silks to replace bird traps all winter. You will need enough seeds before winter begins to bait traps all winter.

When you get a bird from a trap and you murder it, you might get a morsel or you might get a feather. Cook the live bird over a fire to ensure you get a morsel. The cooked morsels can be used in the crock pot but cannot be used on a drying rack. Only raw meat can go on the drying rack.

Four morsels in the crock pot makes meatballs. Meatballs fulfill 62 hunger. Hunger diminishes by 75 per day, so that’s what you need to eat to stay alive. So that’s 20 meals worth 62 hunger in 16 days.

That means for the 16 day winter you will need 80 morsels. 80 seeds for bait. A bird trap is good for 8 uses, so 10 traps. 3 twigs per trap is 30 twigs and they do not grow during the winter. 4 spider silk per trap so that’s 40 spider silks, which could be collected before or during winter.

The pengulls in my camp went and ate the bait out of the bird traps and didn’t get caught in them!! Have to move the traps. AND they ate 6 tallbird eggs I left on the ground, and 16 rot. They have to die. Dead pengulls drop an egg, black feather, drumstick, or morsel. Watch out for pengulls in your camp! I killed two good sized pengull nests by luring them to the tooth traps (attack one and they will follow you) and got supplemental meat and eggs. I was able to make bacon and eggs with the monster meat from the hounds, a morsel from birds or pengulls, and two eggs from pengulls.

The caged bird will eat a cooked egg and give you a fresh egg.

If you go for spider silk during the winter you will also get monster meat from spiders.

I am playing this after day 100 and am getting a lot of supplemental monster meat from the hounds being killed by tooth traps. I am using drying racks to dry the monster meat, and keeping the monster jerky in the ice box, so I can use it all and none of it goes bad. Only one monster meat per crock pot recipe.

I’m also getting two regular meat and a tallbird egg from a tall bird that lives near the tooth traps. Regular jerky is a very good food, it lasts a long time and fills 20 health, 25 hunger, 15 sanity. And it can also be used in the crock pot, or given to the bird for an egg (which would be a total waste of a good jerky).

Ultimately, I did not need all the trapped birds that I calculated for because of all the supplemental meat and eggs I was getting. That doesn’t include spiders, I didn’t go for spiders all winter. You could easily add in spider monster meat if you want to.

Merms/Tentacles/Spider Camp

Requires:

  • Merm Houses
  • Spiders Nest near merm houses
  • A birdcage, to house your bird.
  • A bird trap, to catch a bird.
  • Seeds, to bait the bird trap.
  • A bird in a birdcage to turn monster meat into eggs.

Optional:

  • Ice Box. It might be my imagination, but it seems to me food goes bad faster in the marsh.
  • Drying Racks because jerky is good.
  • Meat Effigy before you go into the marsh in case you get killed. Put it in your good reliable camp.

This camp relies on the merms, tentacles, and spiders killing each other and leaving food for you on the ground.

This camp has been a failure for me because the tentacles near the spiders and merms were quickly killed. Tentacles don’t grow back. So you’re left with spiders and merms. The merms have zero or one come out of the hut each day. They are killed by the spiders who then eat the meat. Or I have to kill them myself, which puts my life in danger, and one dead merm will not feed me for the day. I made a miner’s hat and went in the marsh at night, and it was the same, with the added problem of darkness. I could put traps out for the spiders, but that’s safer anywhere else on the map that is not the marsh. I could kill any other creatures on the map, like pigs or beefalo, and endanger myself. My goal was to not have to fight and kill dinner, except the occasional one spider at a time.

If you want to try it, here are my tips.

While the tentacles are still alive, keep moving or they’ll get you and they’re deadly. Wear protection and have more protection in your inventory for when what you’re wearing runs out. I wore the log suit and football helmet, and had one of each in my inventory.

I burned all the bushes in the area. I burned then chopped all the trees in the area. I did this so I’d be free to run and not get caught up on anything.

1 monster meat, 2 eggs, 1 fish = bacon and eggs.

1 monster meat, 2 eggs, 1 frog legs = bacon and eggs.

When it’s not winter, you can fish in the ponds, but they freeze in winter.

Bonus: tentacles kill hounds. Not bonus: you have to pick up the meat and teeth while dodging tentacles.

I did not spend winter in this sucky camp.

Pig Camp

Requires:

  • Pig Houses.
  • Tooth Traps.

Optional:

  • Bee Boxes
  • Honey from Bee Boxes gathered before winter.
  • Ice Box to keep the food fresher longer.
  • Bird Trap.
  • Seeds to bait bird trap.
  • Bird Cage to house a bird.
  • Bird to live in the cage and turn monster meat into eggs.
  • Spiders and spider traps to supplement monster meat.

Pig camp is for later in the game when you have a lot of tooth traps. It could be set up anywhere on the map if you build your own pig houses, or could be placed near a pig village. But not so close that pigs are wandering into your camp.

Set up a tooth trap field near or in the pig village. It takes 5 tooth traps to kill a pig. You can attack a pig and run to your tooth traps and they will follow you to their deaths.

When a pig dies, it might drop a meat or a pigskin. If it’s a werepig, it will drop 2 meat and a pigskin. They will become werepigs during full moons, or if you give them four monster meats or monster jerkies.

The full moon happens 2 nights in a row beginning 16 days after the previous first night. You can keep track and know when it’s coming.

This werepig experimentation came after my winter was over. On the day of a full moon, later in the day, you can befriend the pigs by giving them meat. Then they won’t go in their houses at dark and they’ll become werepigs, and you can lure them to the tooth traps. After a couple have died, the werepigs will stop moving (and therefore stop dying) and very quickly eat all the meat and skins. You will end up with nothing. To combat this I only befriended 3 pigs and stood in the trap field fighting the one eating all the loot. I don’t think he fought back (he was still eating), I didn’t get a lot of damage (I was wearing protection), and I kept most of my loot that time. You can work on getting this right if you want to. I was actually running low on pig meat. I was trying to be sure they didn’t die before the full moon so I ended up with less. For me it worked out better to every few days attack a regular pig and have several of them chase me to the tooth traps.

Maybe experiment with giving weerepigs something to eat, like pile of seeds, and kill them as they eat? The ones alive would still quickly eat the meat and skins, it’d have to be just 2 or three werepigs.

The recipe to make in the crockpot with 4 meats is meaty stew, which provides 12 health, 150 hunger, and 5 sanity. Hunger diminishes by 75 per day, so one meaty stew is enough food for two days. So for a 16 day winter, that’s 8 meaty stews, each with 4 meat, so that’s 32 meat for the winter.

If you’re having trouble with health or sanity, jerky is a great cure. Between a lot of drying racks and an ice box, no meat ever has to go to waste.

There’s a 75% chance the pig will drop a meat when it dies, so that means 5 pigs guarantees 4 meat. Is that right? So we need 5 pigs for each meaty stew, 8 meaty stews for the winter. 40 pigs for the 16 day winter.

Each pig will respawn after 4 days, so that means 10 pig houses are needed.

The other option is using monster meat to turn them into werepigs, they would provide 2 meat each upon death plus a pigskin. 4 meat for one meaty stew, so 2 werepigs for 1 meaty stew. 8 meaty stews per winter. 16 werepigs per winter. They respawn every four days, so four pig houses. At 4 monster meats per werepig, that’s 64 monster meats per winter. That would probably require spider farming.

If my calculations are wrong, please let me know.

Happily, at this point in the game you will have lots of hounds dying and giving you monster meat. But only one monster meat can be used per crock pot recipe. So you will need three pig meats and one monster meat per meaty stew.

What I did, and it worked great, was before winter I made 2 bee boxes. The secret to good bee boxes is flowers nearby. I usually make two bee boxes near each other and place 10 flowers. To place a flower, use a net to catch butterflies. One net catches 10 butterflies. It works out well.

I collected honey from the bee boxes several times before winter and stored them in the ice box. Honey lasts a long time anyway, and even longer in the ice box.

With honey, you can make honey ham, which provides 30 health, 75 hunger, and 5 sanity. It requires 2 meat and 1 honey and 1 filler. One of the meats can be monster meat. If you can get another filler, you will only need 1 pig meat per honey ham. If not, you can use 2 pig meats. My pig village had a lot of berries which lasted pretty long in the ice box, but did go bad at the end of winter. There’s also mushrooms. Berries and mushrooms do not regrow in the winter, you have to have them in the ice box before winter starts. An egg works as filler, so again, you can use a caged bird to turn cooked monster meat or monster jerky into an egg and use that in the crock pot. Also, bird and/or rabbits would provide morsels, which would also work as filler. And in fact, two morsels could replace the pig meat or monster meat and filler. (1 monster/pig meat, 1 honey, 2 morsels.)

So several options. In the end I had a lot of food and I only had 7 pig houses and did not get any werepigs. To rely solely on pig meat, you’ll need a lot of pig houses. But it’s doable. Easier not to do the werepigs, I think.

Also, put fireflies by your tooth traps so you can find them in the dark. And a firepit to light a fire when you can, to see and warm up.

The Last Word

My only other idea is if you got the Tallfort set piece on your map, you could use tooth traps on the tallbirds. And supplement if necessary. You could use tooth traps on beefalo but they don’t respawn so be careful not to kill too many.

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