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Keepers are not feeding my animals/My animals are starving.
Updated: Tuesday 19th November 2019
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 not powered, 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 not powered, 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 a keeper is assigned to a single habitat, once they are depleted of energy they will go and look for a staff room. If animals in their assigned habitat become hungry, they will then find a keeper hut to prepare food. However for the most of it their behaviour it might look a bit odd and you might think they are doing nothing as they just hang around the habitat gate or just walk aimlessly until they gets something to do. It is recommended to have the full package (habitat, keeper hut, staff centre) assigned to the work zone as shown in the tutorial in Scenario 3.
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, work zones, 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 work zone but this may be inefficient. They will not enter an unassigned habitat therefore if you have keepers in work zones without habitats they will not feed the animals. Keepers not assigned to work zones 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.
Please ensure that you have the correct feeders/enrichment items in your habitats. this is doubly important for mixed enclosures. If the wrong feeders are in place, they will not be used. Food may then be poured onto the ground instead.
If your animals are being fed, but welfare remains lower than expected, it may be that you can increase welfare by using a higher quality of food, which affords the animal better nutrition.
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.
If you have huge habitats; animals will become hungrier if they have to walk a great distance to eat. A slightly smaller habitat may result in happier animals.
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 time frame 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 contact us by creating a ticket.