Helpful information on Zookeepers

Chante Goodman

Community Manager
Frontier
Hey all, thank you for your feedback regarding the Zookeepers and their tasks. We’ve been getting reports of Zookeepers not feeding animals and some starving to death. Here are some possible reasons:

If your zookeeper is inspecting the habitat and then leaving without preparing food for the animals
  • Keepers will only prepare enough food for the amount of animals in the habitat, so if you place down an unnecessary amount of feeders, your Zookeepers will not fill them. Exhibits need food too, keepers prepare batches of food for exhibits so that they don’t have to walk back and forth from keeper huts but it might be a good idea to have a single keeper look after a block of exhibits.
  • To complete their jobs keepers also need access to a keeper hut where they prepare food. Keeper huts can become blocked if too many members of staff are accessing them, if they are unpowered, or if they are not connected to a path they can access.
  • Make sure your keeper is set to feed animals (found in the staff info panel and set on by default) and don’t assign a single keeper to too many habitats as they will not be able to keep on top of the work.
  • Most importantly, ensure your animals are hungry, otherwise your Zookeepers will find that feeding them is not needed when they visit the habitat. An empty tray does not mean your animals are hungry this can be identified in the animal info panel. Zookeepers will always fill the enrichment items first, as they benefits your animals greater than if they eat off a tray or the ground. If keepers fill enrichment items and do not place food on other feeding options then the enrichment feeders have enough food capacity for your animals, this is not a problem. Conversely if keepers put food on the ground then the feeders do not have enough capacity and you should consider adding more.
If your zookeeper isn’t inspecting a habitat
  • Your Zookeepers lack energy as they don’t have anywhere to rest so make sure they have a staff room they can access, when they are tired they will not enter habitats and look after your animals even if you call them. Staff rooms can become blocked if too many members of staff are accessing them, if they are unpowered, or if they are not connected to a path they can access.
  • Keepers will cycle through habitats attending them in order of which habitat has least recently been tended to, they will not go to a habitat earlier than the inspection time as set on the habitat gate. Once committed to performing work in a habitat the keeper will not break out until the job is finished, keepers may need to rest after this point and will do so at a staff building before picking up the next job. Calling a keeper to a habitat gate, animal or feeder pushes this job to the top of the next available keeper’s work list and may disrupt their normal cycle – it should be used in case of emergency.
  • If staff facilities are placed too far from the main areas of the zoo it is possible that staff will get tired walking to work and have to turn around and rest.
  • We recommend giving your Zookeepers, as with all your staff, workzones, as otherwise they will have long journeys between habitats. Keepers will go to the nearest keeper hut or staff room if none are assigned to a workzone but this may be inefficient. They will not enter an unassigned habitat therefore if you have keepers in workzones without habitats they will not feed the animals. Keepers not assigned to workzones will simply attempt to do their job as best as possible but will aim for habitats that have least been seen, these may be a long way away from them and this is inefficient.
  • Ensure your animals have enough Zookeepers looking after them. Some of the larger animals may require two, or even three Zookeepers looking after them. In these cases assigning specific roles to the keepers may be beneficial for them to stay on top of the work.
Other things to be aware of
  • Keepers always enter a habitat and inspect before doing anything else. If animals need water they will deal with this immediately. If they need food the keeper will leave the habitat (this is normal) and go to the closest keeper hut to prepare food before returning to feed – this is why keeping keeper huts and habitat gates in close proximity is so important. If there are no more pressing jobs the keeper may choose to clean the habitat, keepers will normally clean habitats after feeding.
  • Placing your feeding stations near the habitat gates (but ideally in view of the guests) mean your Zookeepers won’t need to travel too far across your habitat to feed your animals, allowing them to feed them faster and move onto the next job.
  • Make sure your Zookeeper can access the feeding station, if they can’t they’ll place food on the floor (which isn’t the end of the world but can cause disease).
  • Training the staff will increase their efficiency, making them work faster – the opposite will happen if your Zookeepers are unhappy, due to being overworked and underpaid, they will work slower.
  • You can set the frequency with which your Zookeepers inspect habitats. If they don’t inspect frequently enough, your animals may starve. If keepers return to a habitat in the default timeframe and can reasonably reach a keeper hut then animals will not starve. Animals should not really need to be fed more than once a game year, cleaning may need to be more frequent however.
If you are sure that your Zookeepers are still not working as intended, please send us your save file to community@frontier.co.uk, or make an issue in the Issue Tracker and we will look into this for you. Thank you for your support, especially post-launch, and please continue to report any issues you come across and we will look into them for you!
 

Chante Goodman

Community Manager
Frontier
But what do you do when the food is full and your baby nyalas just walk past all the feeders and starve to death?
As said at the bottom of the post, if you feel that something is not working as intended, please send us your save file or make an issue in the Issue Tracker and our team can look into this for you! :)
 
But what do you do when the food is full and your baby nyalas just walk past all the feeders and starve to death?
In that case, probably a bug (which means follow what Chante said) and as a temporary fix, putting the starving animals in quarantine will feed them and usually reset them so it doesn't happen again.
 
I've tried that, they go in starving and come out hungry, they go back home and are starving again in no time 😣 I had the same problem with peafowl, I had to sterilise all adults and not breed any babies.
 
Keepers will only prepare enough food for the amount of animals in the habitat, so if you place down an unnecessary amount of feeders, your Zookeepers will not fill them.
Would it be possible to get a feature where the keepers fill all of them? Specifically for Sandbox maybe. My habitat design only really works if that would be the case.

Thanks for this informational post though, it has cleared up some definite confusion.
 
Thank you so much for this! I'm in Sandbox and haven't really had these problems but after reading this, I can see how I can make my zoo more efficient and I suspect that these tips will be more important as a zoo gets bigger. I'm almost ready to scrap my first test zoo and start over so having this knowledge now is great!
 
I personally think it needs to be changed so that keepers fill everything you placed, both the food enrichment and the feeding platforms that way there is always enough food. Leave it up to us the managers / owners of the zoo how much we place down and how much food they get. Too many problems the way it currently is
 
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I personally think it needs to be changed so that keepers fill everything you placed, both the food enrichment a d the feeding platforms that way there is always enough food. Leavecit up to us the managers / owners of the zoo how much we place down and how much food they get. Too many problems the way it currently is
no i disagree, you have to adapt your enclosure and layouts to the animal, otherwise, every animal would demand the same. there should be a difference between a slow tortoise and an ostrich, aslo if something starves, your paths are to long/ facilities are to far away. too much freedom kills creativity.
 
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I never had a problem with animals not being fed after launch but the OP is much appreciated so it is now crystal clear how to manage your keepers, their tasks and their facilities. I hope people finally realize the 'keepers not feeding' is not a bug or a game issue but (no offense) the player's lack of management!!
 
I think this mechanic needs improving on because so many people are having issues with it that should call for a red flag. Here are some ideas.

1. Just have the zookeepers keep everything filled, if it rots they can change it.
2. If we click on a food tray or food enrichment and call the keeper, it should be filled, regardless if the keeper thinks it should be or not.
3. There is a huge post about game speed needing slowed down, I honestly think this could also be why the zookeepers are having issues as well. They can't keep up. Just like we can't.
 
For me personally it has been working fine, keepers fill up both trays and enrichment items when needed. Although they do not fill it up when I tell them to which I agree should be implemented, because then it's on you if it costs a lot more. But for now, I understand why it's done the way it's done. It makes little sense to put down food for animals when it's not feeding time just because it looks better to have food there. They simply won't eat it anyway and then food and money is wasted just for esthetics.
 
I still have the "fight for food" problem. Especially with baby animals. For example my gorillas and orang-utans. All the time some of them are starving, because they dont get their part of the food the keeper brings to the exhibit.

At first the keepet fills the enrichment items. But the babys dont get to the enrichment items, cause the older animals are instantly blocking them. Then the keeper fills up the normal feeding places. But while fillinh them up all of the animals are running there to have their meal. Most of the time the food is instantly gone and especially the babys get nearly nothing of the food.

It doesnt matter if the animals are hungry or not (100% filled up).

It would be good if some food would remain in the exhibit.

I mean, we dont want our animald to get fat, but i also dont like seeing them starving, just because they dont get their part of the food.
 
How hungry does the animals have to be for the zookeepers to give them food? I've had animals with the orange hungry icon and nothing happened. They did not get filled the first time before my animals had the red starving icon, which I think is definitely way too late.
 
It would be helpful if the keepers were capable of using the guest gates to enter habitats. This would be especially useful for those walking trails that link together multiple walkthrough enclosures. I've seen keepers use the guest gates to exit, but never to enter.
 
Thanks for the advice, I think it would be useful to have a guide in which these things are explained in every language in which the game is available, because they are quite important to know.
 
Please play the Career Mode Grand Caldera Safari Park. Take a good look at how the Giraffe and Springbok pen has been set up, then tell me why my giraffes are starving to death because the keepers keep filling the springboks' food areas and not the giraffes'. While you're at it, you might want to take a look at the time bomb of the disease lake you decided would be a good idea to throw at a player who is on the second scenario. And while you're pulling your hair out trying to quell problems as you set up your education boards which have no power in range for where you want to place them, think about how well (or not) this scenario was planned out.

Just about every suggestion you have put in this thread is exactly the opposite of how that park is set up. It's a frustrating mess. And many players who are new to the game would look at something you set up as the dev team and mimic it in their building strategies unless the game actually tells them "this is bad design, your job is to fix it." This park may just be best if you sell off all the animals, delete everything and start from scratch.

Seriously, play that park and you will discover everything that is wrong with keepers and feeding.
 
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