Laylani’s Breeding Guide
Hello there fellow Survivor! This guide is a resource for future breeders and even current ones who may not know *everything* there is to know about breeding in Ark: Survival Evolved. This is a lengthy document, so buckle up and grab a snack!
What you Need
A proper hatching/birthing area
Troughs with lots of food!
Breeding is an incredibly useful mechanic that can give you a larger stock of animals, and much stronger animals! You can breed for something as simple as needing more kibble dinos (especially in cases of things like Dimetrodons that chug narcotics like an alcoholic on a Saturday night during a tame) or for the more complex operation of creating the “perfect” species. It will vary from server to server, as well as from tribe to tribe, on what exactly is *worth* breeding. Breeding a low level giga might not be worth it on officials where it takes 14 days to raise, but on an unofficial where it may only take a day or two, it’s much more viable.
If you are going for the best dinos, you will want to tame things of a high level. For a server with a max level of 120, I reccomend level 100+. If you are playing on a server with a max level of 150, you’ll probably want to tame anything 120+. However, if you are only trying to improve what you currently have, or just reproducing for more egg laying females for kibble, that is irrelevant. For servers with 120 max wild level dinos, such as mine, a 20+ point stat pre-tame is what you will *generally* look for, with a server of max wild 150, it’s probably 30+.
When an animal spawns into the world, it gets a random roll on stats. No stat is weighted higher than the other, so it is random what it will get. Pure RNG. Here is what each stat does and why it may, or may, not be useful: Health: The health stat is well, health! The amount of HP they can lose before they die. This is especially useful for battle dinos who need to fight as long as possible in PvP and raid situations. Also, once an animal runs out of food (See below) they will begin to lose health. The more health they have, the longer they will starve before death.
Stamina: Stamina controls how long an animal can sprint before slowing to a walk, and how long they can attack before they start building torpor. If you continue to attack with an animal after the stamina has depleted, you will start to raise your animals torpor, eventually causing it to pass out. This stat is not so useful for non-mountable animals as they only use stamina while mounted.
Oxygen: Do you need a fast swimmer? Because that is how you get one! An animal with a high oxygen will swim faster than one with low oxygen. How this affects swim speed in comparison to having high movespeed is hard to say as I believe it varies per dino.
Food: Having a high food stat means you can survive much longer out and about before running out of food, this is especially useful for PvP dinos such as Pteranodons. Pteranodons can last longer in the air if they have a higher food stat before being forced to retreat to find sustenance. Once your food stat is depleted, your animal will begin starving to death and start taking HP damage.
Weight: This affects the amount your animal can carry. Easy enough to figure out. Higher weight = more stuff. Especially useful for farming animals, pack mules, and war animals that need to carry you and your raid kit from point A to point B. Pteranodons do not have a very high weight stat, but are often used in raids. You will need a Pteranodon that can carry you and all of your gear comfortably without slowing you down.
Melee: Melee affects two things. Gathering materials, and dealing damage. The higher your melee stat is the more you will gather per node when you mine things such as wood, metal, stone etc. It will also increase your damage output in order to kill wild critters, tamed critters, or even people. Note: When you breed in melee, the first generations melee will seem boosted. The melee always comes out to 100% efficiency during breeding, which the parents did not get via tame.
Speed: These are commonly referred to as things like “hidden levels”, “Wasted points”, “glamour levels” etc. A creature can get a point into movespeed in the wild however it will not boost their movespeed. It just serves as a hidden value in the end that boosts your overall level. Thus being called a “wasted point”. Many people still choose to breed in speed stats as it will boost the base level of the animal, and while that is usually only for glamour, it’s also useful to give your animal a higher torpor stat. (Torpor is directly related to level and cannot be leveled up). Which means it can get hit with more tranq’s before passing out.
Since I mentioned it above, I will make a quick blurb. On my pteranodons we focus on our HP, Stamina, Weight, and Melee. Once those are perfectly bred in, however we work on breeding in the food and oxygen stats. While Oxygen doesn't do anything for a ptera because they cannot touch water unless unconscious, it will boost the final level of the babies. This meaning we could have a 230 ptera instead of a 213 ptera by going from low o2 and speed stats, to high ones. These levels pretty much mean nothing and thus we call them our "glamour levels".
Storing Your Stats
If you have intentions on breeding a nice line, you want to take note of exactly what stats you have for your creatures. You can do this a number of ways. One way many prefer to do it is by creating folders in the inventory of their animals with the stats written there. This is great for keeping track of things on a singular creature but when you are trying to improve your line it can become confusing and tedious as you will have to check through each one individually.
You can also use spreadsheets, either handwritten or digital. I used to have a very nice notebook full of my creatures stats and enjoyed that very much.
My personal suggestion for your stats would be to use the program known as ARK Smart Breeding. I did not used to like this tool and it took me a bit of time to fully understand it, but it turns out it is an incredible tool and it is now all I use for my breeding. You will find a link to this tool down in the tools section at the end of this guide.
When you are recording a stat for breeding you want to look at the base stats. These are your unimprinted, unlevelled, post tame stats. Pretame stats mean nothing, they are simply a gauge on whether or not the post tame stats might come out nice (doesn’t always mean anything though). Further, imprinting and levelling will not affect the stats passed down to the baby either.
Using ARK Smart Breeding
This tool can be a bit confusing but once you get used to it, it can make all the difference in the world when you start breeding, so I will show you a quick step by step on using the tool here.
What Stats Does Breeding Pull From? Breeding in ARK is all based on the post tame, un-levelled, un-imprinted stats. For example. My 116 ankylo that I just knocked out has 230% melee damage pretame. I kibble tame it, and viola, post tame it stands up with 334%. This is the melee the children have a chance to inherit (see melee section above). It does not matter if I level him up to have 600% melee, this will not affect his children at all, only the 334% he stood up with. Also, imprinting will not carry on down to children
In order to successfully birth babies, you will need a place to do it! Now, you can just wing it and birth it out in the open next to a trough, but for the most security and best chance of success, you will want a dedicated nursery. This could be just part of a room (like the back corner of your dino pen), or a whole room of its own. Let’s take a look at mine, which is its own separate little building.
The above building is my hatchery. It is 5 units tall, 8 wide, and 5 deep. As you can see, there is a ramp that goes up to bypass the first part of the building. That compartment underneath is where I house my generator and air conditioners. This keeps the room above where I do my hatching free of clutter. (See below). Currently I only have roughly 23 AC’s in there, but I planned to put more in. Not because it is necessary but because then I will have more floor space available for incubating large amounts of large eggs. This amount of air conditioners is enough to incubate any egg in the snow biome, including Wyverns.
TIP: If you wish to breed larger animals you will need a larger pen. The size of this pen can easily be altered to accommodate larger animals. The front section is 8 wide, and can easily be refitted with a behemoth gate. Then making the roof taller and extending the back wall out is recommended. If you want to raise a giganotosaurus entirely inside (minus taking it outside for walks) you will need a facility of at least 8x8 on the floor, though 8x12 is better, and 10 walls high. This will give you plenty of room to raise a giga or two.
The inside of the nursery is spacious and clean. No clutter for the babies to get stuck on. This room is not suitable to fully grow large animals to adulthood. A rex will fit inside, although very limited on space but things such as paracers, spinos, quetzals, gigas, wyverns etc will need more space to grow than this. In this case you would want a larger nursery. (I however, detest behemoth gates and refuse to use them!) When my larger animals get too big for the nursery I just kite them outside and allow them to grow up there, But I generally stick to breeding my argents, bears, and Tapejaras. This may not be ideal for those on official PvP servers as PvP can be more intense and risky.
There are eleven fridges on the inside for easy meat, berry, and kibble storage. Also, there are two feeding troughs on the inside and two on the outside. More troughs and fridges may be necessary for your breeding needs! Especially if you are on an official server with longer breed times or if you are breeding a large number of animals all at once.
In the front I have recently added two preserving bins and a vessel.(Although I should at least have more vessels) This is for raising baby wyverns as the milk cannot be stored within the fridge.
Larger Image Here
The painted spaces on the floor are the areas in which my AC’s have the best effect, just as a reference for myself. And of course, as any exhausted mother needs, a nice chair to sit back and relax in as she watcheds her children play! Or you know, to AFK safely while the little turds grow up. Tip: Sitting in a chair drastically reduces food and water drain! With my tests I lost 1.3 food and 7.4 water whilst standing still in my hatchery for 5 minutes. However when sitting, I only lost 0.1 food and 0.6 water in 5 minutes.
Larger Image Here
Thanks to the air conditioners underneath the floor, I can throw down my eggs in the middle of the room and they will incubate. The babies hatch out safely without fear of falling into or getting caught in the air conditioners. Due to the fact there is a compartment below this, if you leave your babies there for extended periods of time while you are logged out or out of render range for an extended period of time it does have the possibility of dropping your babies through to the air conditioner compartment. I have personally never had this happen to a baby, only to a bear I sat in the corner of the room for a few weeks before he finally fell through. It should be noted that allos seemingly have a worse time falling through floors than other creatures.
Mating and Incubation
Choosing your Pair
Now it is time to choose which animals you are going to breed. Go to your spreadsheets or breeding tools and figure out which two animals would give you the best offspring. If you would like a combat mount, you generally want HP, Melee, and Stamina. If you want a farming mount, Weight and Melee are usually the go to stats. If for some reason you want a mount that is fast in the water, oxygen will help with that!
When picking parents, keep in mind that it is not guaranteed that the babies will obtain the better stats from the pair, even though this is what you are aiming for. Each stat has a 70% chance.
Once you have decided on a pair, you need to mate them! To mate an animal you need to set it on wander. Animals will not mate if they are on follow or encumbered. Now, because they are on wander they will try to walk away so you need to do one of two things.
Build them a pen just big enough for them to sit in, but without enough room for them to get far apart.
Spam your “U” or “Whistle All Stop” command until they are done.
If you have done everything correctly, the mating bar will appear and mating hearts will pop up above their head. (See below.)
Once the mating bar fills all the way up, the mating process is complete and your animal will either start gestating if they are a mammal or lay an egg if they are not. Some species cannot currently mate, these include:
Now, keep in mind that just because you chose your high health male and high damage female, that does not mean the offspring will come out with either of those stats! (See Choosing Your Pair).
Once you have bred a female, it will have a cooldown timer which will prevent it from breeding again for a while. On 1x servers (I.e. Officials) it seems to be between 18 and 48 hours.
Mammals Vs. Egg Layers
Breeding mammals can be an entirely different playing field. Once a mammals gestation has started it cannot be stopped and that baby will pop out at the end of the timer, whether you are ready for it or not. Eggs on the other hand can be picked up at any time and they will pause the incubation meter. If your egg is 50% incubated when you pick it up, it will be 50% when you throw it back down. At this point you can store it in a fridge, box, whatever without worry that it will hatch. While the egg is in an inventory it will not require any insulation for incubating. You can store it anywhere.
For mammals it is simple, they require absolutely no attention during pregnancy and will just pop out the baby at the end of the gestation period (The gestation bar starts at 0% and fills up to 100%). It is said that the females will eat more food than usual during this time, but given that animals don’t use much food at all while sitting idly, I have never noticed this.
Eggs however, need to be incubated (Eggs start at 100% and deplete to 0%). Some species like it to be colder, while others prefer it warm. You can find a more detailed list with this information here.
The most efficient way to incubate your eggs is with air conditioners. Each air conditioner gives a set amount of by hypothermic and hyperthermic insulation in a radius around them. From my tests is around 100 insulation per air conditioner, although the numbers in my tests were not exact.
If you do not have air conditioners or are playing on a primitive server where air conditioners are not an option, you can do a number of other things to incubate your eggs. Your first option is to test your temperature at various times of the day and see if it will incubate without help. If it is too cold, you can try waiting til midday or moving to a warmer location, like the south. If it is too warm you can try waiting until night time when the air cools, move up to a higher elevation (up a mountain), or into the snow biome.
If neither of those options work, you can look into using items. If the egg is too cold you can use any kind of item that uses fire. Campfires, standing torches and fireplaces are wonderful options for this. Standing torches take up the least amount of room and can be clustered pretty close together. Each standing torch or campfire gives about 100 hypothermal insulation (-50 hyperthermal) whereas a fireplace gives about 285 hypothermal insulation.
Your final set of options are biological options! There are two animals in the game that you can use to incubate eggs. The Kairuku and the Dimetrodon. The Kairuku gives 35 hypothermic insulation over a small radius while the dimetrodon gives 90 hypothermic and 90 hyperthermic insulation over a small radius. While the Dimetrodon seems like the obvious choice, it is much, much harder to tame than the Kairuku. (A 150 Dimetrodon on Official Servers will take about 3 hours on quetzal kibble and 2,000 narcotics. A 150 Kairuku will take half an hour on prime with 58 narcotics.)
Beneath the incubation bar on an egg, there is also an egg health bar. This health will slowly tick down if the egg is too hot or too cold. Egg health will not tick down if it is at an appropriate temperature. If your eggs health bar hits 0 it will spoil.
(NOTE: WHEN YOU GO TO PUT AN EGG ON THE GROUND TO INCUBATE DO NOT CLICK “Use Item” OR PUT IT IN YOUR HOTBAR THIS WILL CAUSE YOU TO EAT YOUR EGG! INSTEAD, USE THE “Drop Item” BUTTON OR “O” KEY)
When you birth or hatch a creature, it will pop out of the womb/shell as a tamed, unclaimed creature. This means that if you have any turrets in the area set to “Players and Tamed Dinos” those WILL target your baby and probably kill it. Turn all turrets in the room to “Players Only” or turn them off for this step.
When the baby pops out, you will then need to quickly go up to it and press “E” just as you would claim any other unclaimed dino. It will then give you the name prompt. Name it if you like, and then open its inventory. Babies need to be fed immediately after birth and will not eat from a trough. Also keep in mind that babies are set to wandering by default so you will want to disable this so it doesn’t wander off while your back is turned!
When a baby is born its health, melee, and weight stats are capped at a very low number. This invisible cap will slowly rise to full as it reached adulthood. Due to this, babies will starve very quickly and cannot carry much food in the first few minutes/hours of life. You can see how long a baby phase will take on your server here. (This is not entirely up to date for the most recent dinos at this time.)
During the baby phase you must hand feed it by placing food directly into its inventory. If it runs out of food, it will start to starve, once its food hits 0 the HP will drain and it will eventually die. Don't let your babies go unfed! The baby will exit the baby phase at 10% to which it will turn juvenile. It is easy to calculate when this will occur. My Procoptodons are born with a max 783 weight, once the baby cap reaches 78.3 that it is able to hold, it will turn juvenile.
Until fully matured, babies will not attack anything and will flee from dangers. If someone were to come in and kill you while you were taking care of a baby, it would try to flee, much like a wild parasaur. Babies also cannot be mounted.
It’s time for you to take a break! Now your baby is a juvenile! This means they can now eat from a trough, and as long as you keep this trough stocked you can go about your day and do other things.
There really isn't anything different between adolescents and juvies. They will hit the adolescent stage at 50% maturation. Food consumption slows down after this point.
One piece of raw meat lasts about 40 minutes in a trough and with 20 per stack, they will all spoil in approximately 13 hours, give or take. Fish meat however will last twice as long but gives half the amount of nutrition (26 hours). If you will be gone longer than that, fill up with cooked meat as well which will last about an hour per (I think) and stacks up to 30. In which case it would last 30 hours. (But again, make sure there's enough!)
Raw meat will restore 50 points of food, whereas cooked meat will only restore 25 points. Keep this in mind when deciding what food to give your dinos. It will take twice as much cooked meat to feed a baby as raw, but cooked meat will last longer. I usually do a mix between the two. Raw to start and cooked incase it runs out of that.
Kibble is also a viable option to use in troughs as an emergency supply. Certain kibbles such as dodo and Kairuku can be found in abundance and restore 80 food per kibble. Kibble also lasts 3 hours per kibble standard and at least twice that in the trough.
There is a trough calculator on the crumple corn breeding page linked above in the baby section.
(Note: Spoilage times are different on Scorched Earth.)
Imprinting is an optional, but very beneficial mechanic. You will not get any penalties for not imprinting. As per the standard, only one person is able to imprint on a baby and it will be the person who claims it when it is born. This can be changed in server settings to allow tribe mates to imprint as well I think. After it is born, a timer will start. At standard, that timer is anywhere from about 3-4 hours on officials. For my server it’s anywhere from 25-35 minutes. Once this timer hits 0 the baby will want one of three things: Kibble, cuddles, or a walk. (See below)
Cuddles: This is the easiest imprint step and you should cross your fingers and pray for lots of these. To cuddle your animal all you need to do is walk up and press “E”.
Walking: Walking your baby isn’t bad, unless it’s a big one! In order to take them for a walk you need to look at them and press “T” or hold E and open the radial menu and enable following. Then, start walking. Once they have walked far enough they will stop and do their happy little imprint dance. Note: This seems to be a “distance from point A” type of thing, not a “number of steps” type of thing, so walking them in circles doesn’t seem to imprint them.
Due to the size of some animals, you may need to change their follow distance to lowest to get them to follow you easily for a walk. This especially applies to things like Gigas.
Kibble: This is the most time consuming part about imprinting, and by that I don’t mean the actual act. If you have the kibble on hand it takes a mere few seconds. However, you need to have a kibble farm in order to obtain these. I recommend keeping a few of each kibble on the below list in a fridge nearby where you will be raising babies so you do not have to run back and forth for imprints. The imprint kibble list includes the following:
For The Island / The Center
And for Scorched Earth they are:
A 100% imprint will net you a 20% gain in Health, Melee, Weight, Food and Speed. Stamina and Oxygen seem unaffected. These base stat gains are beneficial to all those using the animal, even if they themselves did not imprint it. However, there is a rider bonus that ONLY the imprinter will receive. At 100% imprint it is equivalent to the mateboost buff. While you are riding it, they will obtain +30% damage and damage reduction. If you only imprint to 50% your rider bonus will be +15%, 75% will give you a roughly 22% bonus, and so on and so forth.
As of v252 there seem to be only positive mutations to creatures. They can come in the form of stat mutations or color mutations. Incest does not seem to boost your chances of mutations. It seems that mutations can be passed down to their offspring, but it is not guaranteed.
Stat Mutations: As of current information, it seems that stat mutations give a +2 bonus to a random stat. Rumors say a 100% imprinted dino gives a better chance at these stats. Unable to confirm as I have yet to get one on my bear line whose main stud is 100% imprinted.
Color Mutations: A color mutation on a dino is limited to one color region. These colors can appear in any of the current possible colors on the ARK wiki. You will find these colors here! These colors can be anything from a bright cyan or pink, to a black or brown. Sometimes you will not entirely realize a baby has mutated unless you line it up beside the parents and take a look. I had a baby Therizino mutate and was unable to tell until I put them side by side and realized it had a lighter back color than both parents.
Credit: Reddit user /u/cmack23 Credit: Reddit user /u/MaddogBC
Credit: Reddit user /u/silverbullet1989
Credit: Reddit user /u/Amariels
Here are a list of all the tools I am aware of thus far for taming and breeding purposes.
Crumplecorn (Not currently up to date with newest dinosaurs)
Survive Ark Stat Calculator (Doesn’t correctly calculate tamed melee stats)
Survive Ark Taming Calculator
ARK Smart Breeding Tool (Highly Recommended) (Look under “Stats” for a tutorial)
Crumplecorn (Not currently up to date with newest dinosaurs)
Survive Ark Breeding Stat Calculator
And you can create spreadsheets here if you decide to go that route.
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions regarding this document feel free to contact Laylani on Steam or Reddit.