Age of Empires Series Wiki

A cow, pig and sheep. Three herdable animals in Age of Empires II.

Herdable animals are a food source in Age of Empires II, Age of Mythology, and Age of Empires III. Unlike huntable animals, they can be controlled by a player if any of their units moves close to them. If more than one civilization of units is near an animal, the animal's ownership goes to the team who has the most units near it - the Celts have a unique bonus that circumvents this rule. This makes them an effective early food source, as they can always be gathered from close to a drop-off point, reducing decay and minimizing Villager walking time. Herdables currently controlled by a particular player can be stolen by another player. Usually, herdable animals appear on the map in groups of two to four.

In Age of Mythology and Age of Empires III, herdable animals will fatten over time, increasing the amount of food they provide upon their slaughter. Starting from the moment they are first discovered by a player, the amount of food a huntable animal holds will increase with a steady trickle until it reaches the maximum amount, which differs per animal and installment. Some upgrades can speed up the rate at which animals fatten.

Age of Empires II[]

A Scout Cavalry finding sheep.

On most maps, four herdables are found right next to each player's starting location, with another four (in two groups of two) available nearby. Cows are the exception, as they spawn in a group of three initially, but they make up for their reduced numbers with more food per animal.

In addition to being a free and easy source of food, herdables can be used to scout. Cows, sheep, and turkeys have 2 line of sight, while the rest have 3, making the former group worse scouts. Herdables not immediately being killed and harvested can help the player scout out the surrounding area at the beginning of the game. Using them for long distance scouting is risky, however, as they can be converted and stolen by other players' scouts.

It is best to gather herdables one at a time, rather than killing multiple herdables at once. This minimizes decay and maximizes total food gathered. The more villagers herding, the less food is wasted.

The following herdable animals appear in Age of Empires II.

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Aztecs: Shepherds carry +3 food.
  • Britons: Shepherds work 25% faster.
  • Celts: Enemy herdables can be converted regardless of enemy units next to them.
  • Gurjaras: Herdable animals can be garrisoned in Mills to produce food.
  • Incas: Start with a free llama.
  • Mayans: Herdables last 15% longer.
  • Tatars: Herdables contain +50% food. New Town Centers spawn two sheep starting in the Castle Age.

Age of Mythology[]

The following herdable animals appear in Age of Mythology:

Age of Empires III[]

Herd animal. Fattens over time. Fattens faster if tasked on a Livestock Pen, Farm, or Village.
—In-game description
Herd animal. Generates experience points. Increased Experience Points generation when tasked to a Sacred Field.
—Indian in-game description
Herd animal. Enhances resources generated by Shrines when tasked to them.
—Japanese in-game description

The following herdable animals appear in Age of Empires III, and decay at a rate of 0.76 per second (like Huntables):

Introduced in The African Royals, there is a new resource known as influence that is exclusive to the Ethiopians and Hausa. One of the methods in generating influence is the amount of living herdable animals in the player's control. Each animal has a different amount generated per second.