Stardew Valley – one of my all time favorite video games. It’s like relaxation in digital form. If you were a Harvest Moon fan from the golden years of that franchise SV is probably about as close to perfection as you can get. For even those players who haven’t been gaming that long, this is a truly wonderful game that is beloved from virtually all types of gamers.
A lot of questions come up around Stardew Valley, thanks in part to the massive content updates that regularly come out. One that I ran into required a bit of digging after one of my farm animals disappeared – can your animals actually die in Stardew Valley?
Your farm animals can die in Stardew Valley but only in very rare and specific circumstances. They must be left outside at night after being blocked from re-entering the barn or coop AND then a special nightly event must take place. This usually happens from an animal getting out and the player closing the gate to a fenced in area behind them. Animals can’t die of old age or lack of food.
So the short answer is yes, your animals can die in Stardew Valley, but it’s very unlikely and you kind of have to work hard to make it happen. Assuming you’re playing the original game and not a modded version of it.
The Only Way Animals Can Die in Stardew Valley
This is an unusual occurrence, and there have been some rumors that this might be removed in a future patch but from what I can tell those are complete speculation. No smoke, no fire situation.
As it stands now there is only one way animals can die in Stardew Valley and Shane being Shane…he found it by accident in his first 40 hours of play. Because of course he did.
Here are the factors that MUST be in play for this to happen:
- The animal must be left outside after 6 PM at night (confirmed)
- The barn/coop door must be closed keeping the animal out (confirmed, some discussion whether animals occasionally make it back in anyway)
- A special event must trigger (wild animal attack)
There is some discussion on whether a fence with a closed gate needs to be in place to keep an animal out, as some players have reported animals making it back in the buildings with the doors shut. Whether this is a glitch, a bug, a mechanic, or old news is hard to say. If an animal makes it out of a fenced in area and the gate closes behind it, it is definitely 100% stuck outside for the night if you don’t notice.
If every single one of these conditions is met, then there is a chance (not a guarantee, but a chance) that a wild animal attack will occur.
You’ll see a dark screen at night and the sounds of coyotes or wolves yipping/howling. After hearing wild animals if you go to pet your animals the next day all of them will be in a bad mood with a message saying “(Name of animal) looks stressed today. It looks like like something bad happened last night.”
Last I checked, the game does not tell you which animal disappeared, so you have to figure that out yourself.
That is the one, and only, condition in the base game that can result in the death of a farm animal in Stardew Valley.
Like I said, you REALLY have to work at it to lose your animals. Even if you just leave the barn or coop doors open all night, a wild animal will never go into the building.
Can My Farm Animals Starve in Stardew Valley?
No. Your farm animals can’t die from you not feeding them or refusing to feed them. They can become very (understandably) angry and when irritated will stop producing eggs, milk, wool, or anything else, for that matter.
This can be an immediate side effect or it could take time as the quality of items you get goes down steadily before drying up completely.
So feed your animals. But no, if there’s no grass and you forget to feed your animals forever, they won’t disappear/die due to starvation.
Can My Farm Animals Get Lost in Stardew Valley?
Only if they get stuck or locked out of the building for the night. I’ve never heard of this happening without the doors being shut too early or an animal getting out of a manmade gate from a manmade fence.
The animals are designed, like many things in this game, to be as enjoyable as possible so they’re not idiots you need to herd into the buildings. As long as the barn door and coop door is open they’ll just go back by themselves regardless of where you are.
When you put additional barriers in the way, that’s when problems happen.
As far as animals just wandering off to try their luck with the hobo life outside of Pelican Town…no. No that does not happen.
Can I Get Rid of Farm Animals in Stardew Valley?
I mean as opposed to leaving out your animals out for wild animals to get a free meal, yes. Just sell them.
The more hearts an animal has, the better the produce they create. That makes them more valuable. So selling a 5 heart cow will get you a much bigger burst of cash than a 1 heart cow.
So yes, you can sell any animal you have in your coop or barn. When you pet them to bring up their information look for the little gold coin. Hit that and you get the option to sell.
It’s a Rare Event, But it Can Happen
While it’s rare event, you can have a farm animal killed by wild animals if you lock them out of their buildings and the special event fires up over the course of the night.
So while incredibly rare, and not likely to even be discovered by all but the most reckless or forgetful casual players (yup…that was once me), it is actually possible in the right (wrong?) circumstances to lose a farm animal to off-screen death in Stardew Valley.
Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.