Old MacDonald had a farm. E-I-E-I-O!
And on this farm he had some sheep! E-I-E-OH-NO!
By the way, you can google cyclops sheep to get pictures of what cyclops sheep really look like, but think carefully about it. They are adorable, but in a disgusting sort of way.
Seeing the above video made me think of all the weird livestock floating around in pop culture and made me want to add a few of my own to the milieu. But first, a short list that you can steal from reality, the web, video games, RPGs, and TV shows:
- The afore-listed cyclops sheep
- The Brahmin, two-headed bottom-heavy cows from the Fallout Franchise.
- The very real double muscled cow (pig varieties also exist)
- Blinky, the mutant fish from The Simpsons
- Order of the Stick’s all you can eat hydra
- In what might be one of history’s strangest crossovers, the humanoid chicken gallus-gallus from Gamma World and Netflix original TV show Bojack Horseman
- My own article about the Giant Bee
So there’s eight oddities ready to swipe for a game, but how about some original content? I would feel bad if all I gave you was a link roundup (even though it’s a pretty cool one)
- Nippers: small bipedal alligators built similar to tiny t-rexes, nippers are still pretty vicious and, as their name suggests tend to bite, so ranchers wear heavy leather aprons, pants, and gloves when handling them. Nippers eat carrion and fish, so they’re often raised in conjunction with other non-meat livestock, so culls (sheep, cows or chickens too old to give wool, milk or eggs that are usually humanely terminated and made into dog food or the like) can be used as nipper feed. Alternately, pens have access to an active body of water so the nippers can hunt fish at their leisure.
- Giant worms: These three to six foot long fleshy worms are similar to earthworms. Like some species of earthworm, they can even regenerate their tail if cut in half. They are a bit hard to contain, requiring piles or layers of dirt or organic material on a wood or stone base so they don’t simply burrow away. These critters even have the advantage of composting organic material with low levels of nutrition and hot manure (animal feces with a nitrogen content that is released too quickly is called “hot” and can cause chemical burns on plants it is applied to) into a rich fertilizer. Ranchers will pile huge mounds of dirt, feces, wood chips and other cellulose/keratin heavy organic material on a stone base surrounded by a low wall (to prevent rain runoff) and let the worms feed and reproduce. By the time the worms are ready to harvest, the pile has been reduced into nutrient rich fertilizer for crops.
- Tunnel Dusters: These turkey sized birds have a gamey, foul-tasting flesh that keeps them from being a staple meat animal (although predators and the very hungry will eat them from time to time). They also however have a dizzying array of feathers in a myriad of types and colors. They sport a long peacock like tail and a dense undercoat of down with a variety of shape and size of outer plumage. For most of the year tunnel dusters do little but take up space and eat bugs and seeds. Once a year however, they shed all their plumage and spend a few weeks completely naked while their feathers regrow. In the wild, these birds are native mostly to cold climates. During molting season they huddle in their nest of shed feathers. In warmer climates they make small family burrows and are primarily active during dawn and dusk. Farmers in warmer climates provide them with cool basements and networks of tunnels connected to outdoor runs and shaded boxes that keep them cool during hot months and give them shade during molting season. Bugs the birds scavenge from the earthen walls of tunnels and their run are supplemented with grain and other plant matter.
There you go: eleven total types of odd livestock for your game, most of which can be re-skinned into a variety of genres. Old MacDonald needs more animals though. Point us to more animal oddities or describe your own creations!