The Exiled Lands sure is better with a friend! If you’re running a little low on server friends, it’s understandable. You’ll find all sorts of murder, theft, and betrayal that come along with growing an empire. After all, making enemies is part of the fun!
But who will have your back no matter your nefarious deeds? Well, you could find yourself a thrall (especially a named thrall), outfit them with armor and weapons, and train them up to be a merciless killing machine. High-level, experienced players will say this is the best use of your time for raiding and dungeon crawling.
If you’re like me, sometimes you just get tired of looking at all these thralls. Maybe you’re more drawn to fuzzier killing machines. If an animal companion, or animal transport, is what you’re looking for you’ve got some construction to do. Animal pens are required in Conan Exiles to grow baby animals into capable adults.
To grow a baby animal into your new best friend, you’ll need to build either a small animal pen, an animal pen, a reinforced animal pen, an armored animal pen, or stables (specifically for horses). The animal will only consume one item of its preferred food to start the crafting process, and will only need that one item to complete the crafting process.
Quick Note: Be careful of the food you choose, some have a better chance of growing a “greater” version of the pet, with far better stats. It hurts to learn this after you’ve already grown your favorite, hard-to-reach cub.
How to Use an Animal Pen
Animal pens are large crafting stations that turn baby animals into their adult combat or mountable versions. After adding a baby animal, try adding something the animal likes to eat to the pen. After the animal consumes one food item, you will see a crafting bar in the bottom right-hand corner, like other crafting stations.
If something is not working, either you have the wrong food or the wrong type of station. Only foals (horses) can be used in stables, and they will not mature in any type of animal pen.
If you leave the animal and extra applicable food, it will start producing things like dung, feathers, and even iron. This all depends on the creature, not what you feed it.
How to Find a Baby Animal
Baby animals can be found next to their dangerous parents, scattered throughout the Exiled Lands. After clearing a pack of animals, look around closely for a smaller version. This baby won’t attack and can be picked up.
They are very heavy, likely to keep players from just swooping in and grabbing one without dealing with the parents. A lower-level player will likely be encumbered by a cub, you may want to bring a thrall just to carry it.
If it is a long haul to get the particular baby animal you’re after, consider grabbing a few. Keep in mind that once you grab one, others around may start to scatter.
Once you get back to base, you’ll only have a chance of crafting a “greater” version of the animal, even with its favorite food. It’s nice to be able to try a couple of times. It’s rude, but you can store any that won’t fit in the animal pen in boxes nearby.
If you’d like to edit the speed of how quickly the animal crafts in your server settings, less is more in this case. Taking the bar to the least amount of time increases the crafting speed. The verbiage can be misleading with this setting and others.
How to Craft a Small Animal Pen
The small animal pen can be learned at level 13 under the apprentice tamer feat. You’ll find this feat under the survival tab in the thrall-taker category. It also teaches the animal pen, feed box, and shadespiced food.
A small animal pen requires only 75 stone, 100 wood, and 5 twine. None of these ingredients need to be processed in other crafting stations.
So why make a small animal pen if you learn the full-sized animal pen under the same feat? This pen is a solid option if you are short on space or resources. May you’re just starting out, or need a pen at a satellite base. The small animal pen grows animals just as quickly as the animal pen but only has one taming slot.
How to Craft an Animal Pen
The animal pen is also learned at level 13 with the small animal pen, feed box, and shadespiced food (under the apprentice tamer feat). It is much larger than the small animal pen. It’s probably much larger than anything else in your base when you first learn it. Make sure to clear a large area to place it.
An animal pen requires 300 stone, 400 wood, and 20 twine. It also doesn’t require any materials from crafting stations. It has 5 taming slots, for either taming several new pets at once, or storing them to produce dung and other materials.
How to Craft a Reinforced Animal Pen
The reinforced animal pen is learned at level 27 under the tamer feat.
The reinforced animal pen tames animals 50% faster than a small animal pen or an animal pen. It also has much more health than these earlier pens, possibly leaving it standing after a raid or the purge.
A reinforced animal pen is a costly expansion for these benefits. It costs 50 brick, 60 shaped wood, and 50 iron reinforcements. It still only has 5 slots for taming or storing animals to produce materials.
How to Craft an Armored Animal Pen
The armored animal pen is learned at level 42 under the master tamer feat.
The armored animal pen is as its name suggests: armored. It has much more health than even the reinforced animal pen. It tames animals 88% faster than the regular animal pen.
If the reinforced animal pen is costly, the armored animal pen is downright expensive. You’ll need 100 hardened brick, 30 insulated wood, and 50 steel reinforcement. There will still only be 5 slots to tame or keep animals in the armored animal pen.
How to Craft Stables
I cannot recommend putting a little time into taming a horse highly enough. The run to grab a foal for a low-level player is treacherous, but as soon as you have the supplies to make a saddle, I would consider it. There are always foals wandering around the southern half (bellow the river) of K6.
The stablemaster feat can be learned at level 15 under the thrall taker category in the survival tab. A stable requires 15 brick, 10 shaped wood, and 10 twine. This is a fairly inexpensive investment, though keep in mind you will need to build a saddle-making table and use it to craft a saddle to ride a horse.
Stables work the same way as animal pens do, but they only have one slot. They are not very large, so I throw down a couple so that I can tame a couple of horses at once. Foals will not produce a “greater” variant, however, they do grow into different colors, and, anyway, I’m pretty hard on horses.
How to Hatch an Egg
If you’d like an animal companion that comes from an egg, it’s a 2 step process. You’ll notice small nests on the ground, usually guarded by a parent crocodile or ostrich, while out adventuring. These are not the eggs you are looking for. These eggs go into your inventory as just “eggs” and can be used to eat directly or for recipes later after dispatching the parents, or more often sprinting past them and just grabbing a few eggs.
Most pet eggs must be bought from NPCs around the Exiled Lands. They’ll look different in your inventory, but have a 24-hour decay timer. This decay timer must be run completely down before you will receive your new baby animal. They work the same as other decay timers, speeding up in a compost heap and actually stopping completely in a preservation box.
I like to hatch mine in the compost heap, however, you must be careful. The baby animal’s decay timer is also sped up in a compost heap, so make sure to remove it once hatched. If you forget it will die much more quickly than in another storage container.
After you’ve hatched a baby animal, it’s business as usual. Choose an appropriate food item and put them in an animal pen to grow into an adult animal companion!
How to Use a Feed Box
A feed box used to be an essential part of any base’s setup, because if you didn’t feed your tamed pets, they would die. This has been patched out and the feed box is a bit of a waste of time.
Pets still receive a stat buff and a healing buff from their favorite food, so you could use the feed box right before purge or PVP times. You’ll need to remove it immediately after, or the animals will consume from it without any necessity. It is a lot of hassle for not a lot of benefit currently.
Greater Pets and Better Food
Different baby animals prefer different food. Running for a cub is a big-time commitment, and you want to give yourself a shot at a greater variant.
As a general rule, the better or harder to acquire food in the type your baby animal will accept will give you a better chance at a greater variant. For example, a panther cub will start crafting into an adult on feral flesh, but if I want a 30% chance that it will turn into a greater panther I should feed it exotic meat. If I don’t feel like chasing an elephant down for exotic meat, killing a kudu and using exquisite meat will give me a 25% chance of creating a greater panther.
Look up what meat your cub likes before you put them in the animal pen. In my opinion, running the midnight grove for shadebloom (an ingredient used to make food even more likely to yield a greater variant) is not worth the trouble. I’d rather collect a couple of extra cubs and take my chances with a high-tier favorite food.
Some greater variants even look like the boss version of the animal in the wild, and these only require the standard cub and a little bit of luck. For instance, the greater rhino is absolutely massive and monstrous (like the rhino king). I haven’t laughed harder than the week I placed him and took him out. Fights were hilarious, I would either forget I had him until some wild explosion or obsessively direct him to charge NPCs off cliffs all afternoon.
A Full Animal Pen – Harvesting Animal Products
If you do not pull the animal out after it is grown, and instead continue feeding it, they will produce species-specific products instead. This is mostly dung, lots and lots of dung. You can use dung in the compost heap to create compost and potent compost. You’ll need compost to combine with seeds in a planter to grow new plants.
If you’re tired of dung, there are a couple of other more valuable by-products from the animal pen.
Sand reapers and spiders produce Ichor, which is used at the alchemist’s table for water orbs and other creations. Sometimes it’s nice not to have to crawl in a cave to retrieve ichor. You’ll need to buy a spider or sand-reaper egg to grow one of these pets.
The ostrich and the jungle bird make feathers, which are used for making arrows. Even if you aren’t an archer now, special arrows later game are a valuable resource. You’ll also need to buy one of these eggs to stock an animal pen full of them.
Possibly the most valuable animal pen is filled with rocknoses. All three types of rocknoses produce iron ore, but the gold-vein rocknose also makes goldstone, the silver-vein rocknose makes silverstone, and the greater rocknose produces crystal. An animal pen full of your chosen rocknose could save you a lot of running, and you guessed it, rocknose eggs must be purchased from NPCs to make a “golden” animal pen (one full of gold-vein rocknoses).
Animal Pen FAQ
Question: How many animals will an animal pen tame at once?
Answer: All animal pens tame or feed 5 animals at once, except for the small animal pen or stables.
Question: Why is my foal not growing in my animal pen?
Answer: You need stables to turn a foal into a horse. As there is currently no greater variant, you can just feed them fiber to start the crafting timer.
Question: Why is my egg not growing in my animal pen?
Answer: You must first let the expiration timer run out on a named egg (not just an egg) and then place the baby animal in your animal pen. A compost heap moves the decay timer the fastest, but it will also kill the baby animal ver quickly if not removed.
Question: Do I need to feed my animals?
Answer: No. If you feed them in the animal pen they will produce dung or other materials. If you feed them while following you they will have a stat and healing bonus. You can build a feed box to get this same bonus during raids, but animals no longer need to be fed.
Question: How do I get a “greater” version of my pet?
Answer: It starts with the cub. While they only consume one item from a stack of food to grow from a normal baby animal to an animal companion, some foods have a higher chance to produce a “greater” variant. Learning their preferred food and grabbing several cubs to increase your chances is well worth the effort, the “greater” variants have much better stats (and sometimes cool looks).
Question: Why isn’t my animal leveling up when I feed it in the animal pen?
Answer: Animal pens, feed boxes, and even fighting around your base will not level animals. Only animals that follow you will gain experience.
Question: What are the best animals to permanently set up in my animal pen?
Answer: It depends on your focus, but gold-vein rocknoses are the most valuable animals to keep in a production pen. You’ll need to buy several rocknose eggs from Shawna the Strange and then feed the baby rocknose gold dust. If you’re lucky (6% lucky!) you’ll get a gold-vein rocknose.
It’s Becoming a Zoo Around Here
If you also can’t resist grabbing baby animals whenever you see them, you’re not alone. My base builds are 75% animal pens, though with how large they are, it isn’t hard to do. While a named thrall is arguably a better investment of your time, I have a lot more fun moving around the Exiled Lands with my go-to companion: the greater panther.
After all, that’s what the game is about, doing things your way (and immense suffering). At this point, I can barely remember playing without a mount, but they were truly dark times. I hope that someday Funcom will allow us to gear our pets (same as thralls and mounts) so that we can use them competitively again. Until then, those of us with animal companions will just have to share a knowing wave and a nod, unless we’re at each other’s throats.