Every time at Level 5 and Level 10 it’s important for Stardew Valley players to make the right pick when it comes to the Level up professions, and the choice between Coopmaster vs Shepherd is no different. These are the two Level 10 profession choices along the farming skill tree, assuming you picked Rancher instead of Tiller back at Level 5.
So the first question in the Stardew Valley Coopmaster Vs Shepherd question is: Why the heck did you take Rancher over Tiller at Level 5. No, seriously, what were you thinking? All “jokes” aside, this topic is relatively new to me, although arguably for the wrong reasons. Tiller was such an obvious choice over Rancher in every Stardew Valley game I played that it turns out in 1,200+ hours I had never actually taken the Rancher profession to open up this profession tree!
I’ll never complain about firing up the game for another 20+ hours, so it was time to start a new game and see first hand what I thought about these two professions, how they stacked up against one another, and what other Stardew players thought about which of these bonuses comes out on top.
Let’s dive in!
Why Should You Take Shepherd?
You should take Shepherd over Coopmaster because it’s by far and away the more powerful of the two buffs in a normal Stardew game. While incubating eggs faster an getting slightly better quality coop products is great, they pale in comparison to the money you get from animal products from barn animals.
There are a few reasons for this. While the chart below shows the gold value for every coop and barn item that can be produced at different quality levels, it’s important to note a few things:
- A dinosaur egg is produced only once every 7 days
- Duck feathers also don’t come every day but occasionally appear based on luck
- Very happy animals consistently produce large milk instead of small – meaning the base products barn animals produce daily are much more valuable than coop animals
- Golden eggs require a full perfection run – meaning you’re done with everything in the game…and then it’s so expensive to get you don’t make back investment without a HUGE timeline post perfection
|Coop Animal Product||Normal||Silver||Gold||Iridium|
|Small Chicken Egg||60g||75g||90g||120g|
|Large Chicken Egg||114g||142g||171g||228g|
|Wool (from Rabbits)||408g||510g||612g||816g|
* Despite the fact the Ostrich must be in the barn, the Ostrich Egg stacks with the Coopmaster bonus, especially since the common sense play is to put these eggs into a mayo machine for 10 mayo.
Here are the prices for animal products from Barns (with the Rancher profession bonus figured in) for comparison.
|Barn Animal Product||Normal||Silver||Gold||Iridium|
|Large Cow Milk||228g||285g||342g||456g|
|Large Goat Milk||414g||517g||621g||828g|
While the price guide looks good for a coop, remember that the best items from the coop don’t come everyday. Dinosaur eggs only come once a week. Rabbit’s feet and Duck feathers come at random. The Golden Egg is so rare that it’s pretty much a non-starter in this equation since you need to achieve perfection to unlock it.
Even the wool isn’t the same as Rabbits give wool every 4 days, but Sheep give wool every 3 days. Every 23 when they’re very happy and above 5 hearts, meaning wool from Barn Animals can outproduced wool from Coop animals by 2 to 1.
Even basic large cow milk and large goat milk blow most coop items out of the water…and those are every single day or every other day. Add in the fact cheese boosts up well past mayo and sheer time works against the coop.
The Math Behind Taking the Shepherd Profession in Stardew Valley
For example, comparing 10 each of the dailys:
- 10 basic eggs = 600g vs 10 basic cow milk = 1500g
- 10 large basic eggs = 1140g (still not as much as 10 basic cow milk) vs 10 large cow milk = 2280g
- 10 duck eggs = 1140g vs 10 basic goat milk = 2700g
The barn animal products simply out-scale the coop animal products, and that’s before looking at pigs, which for 3 of 4 seasons can go out and find truffles, and each pig can find multiple truffles on a daily basis. Whether these are sold as is, made into truffle oil, or all iridium quality due to the Botanist Perk, that is a ton of consistent gold on top of how milk destroys eggs in head to head competition.
That’s pretty clear evidence that Shepherd is the way to go and I’ve had multiple farming files with more than one barn, but only one with more than one coop.
Should You Ever Take Coopmaster Instead of Shepherd in Stardew Valley?
In a normal game, there is no reason to take Coopmaster instead of taking Shepherd. That said, now that I’ve done this article I kind of like the idea of doing some “weirder” farms where you focus on 5-6 chicken coops, ranching only challenges, or something along those lines.
But it would need to be a self-imposed challenge or custom game to make a lot of sense. Otherwise Shepherd is clearly the way to go.
What’s the Verdict on Shepherd Vs Coopmaster in Stardew Valley?
If you are going hard into the Ranching and deciding to play a game of Stardew that is crop light (And hey, why not? One of the great things about Stardew is that you get to play the game your way!) I would strongly recommend going with Shepherd. It’s a much more powerful boost and that’s even before taking into account that most players have more barns than coops, which further multiplies that bonus.
Unless you’re playing a specialty game where you’re intentionally raising 10 coops of animals to 1 barn, or something like that, it doesn’t make sense to go with Coopmaster if you want the most out of your Stardew professions.
So with only a few notable, and intentionally created, exceptions, Shepherd is the winner in the Shepherd Vs Coopmaster. It is the stronger boost that will bring in a lot more money on most farms, gives faster wool production, and just delivers a lot more value on most farms.
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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.