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When a player's animal comes of age it is allowed to mate. Mating with computer run animals (also known as Non Player Characters or NPCs) has one set of rules, and mating with animals played by real people has a different set of rules.

How do you know when it is time to mate? For females an egg control will show up on their animal status screen. For males an egg will show up on their animal status screen indicating it is mating season and that qualifying females are ready. See the image below for the exact location of this indicator.

For most animals there is preparation work required before mating. Waiting for the egg to show up will typically be too late to begin preparation. You will have to know which seasons are for mating ahead of time. For example, a male Blue Bird will have to pick a nesting site, build a nest, establish a sufficient dominance ranking, and preen (clean off the dirt) before approaching a female. Some socialization is required before mating. To socialize perform mating dances and show affection for the perspective mate. As much of this as possible should be done before the mating season begins to ensure the best chances of success.

Computer run animals (also known Non Player Characters or NPC's) will accept or reject a mate based on many possible conditions. This will vary depending on the species and gender of the animal. For example, Computer run Blue Birds will not mate until you have built a nest. The quality of the nest will determine your success at mating. The better your nest, the better your chances. The NPC Blue Bird will also look at factors like cleanliness, dominance, and age. And of course, if a female NPC is being requested, then her eggs must be available and ready. Not all NPC's are available for mating. For example some may already be paired up or otherwise unavailable.

If you mate with an NPC animal you will need to lead it to your nest. It will follow you there and set up house once it arrives. It must see you to follow you, so be sure to travel slowly enough that it can keep up.

With some animals like Elk and Buffalo, only the top male (ranked #1 in dominance) can mate.

With Wolves or Coyotes, only the top male and female (ranked #1 in dominance) are allowed to mate.

Males in general will need higher dominance order ranking to be able to mate with NPC's. This will vary somewhat depending on which species you are playing.

If you decide to mate with an animal played by a real player the rules are somewhat relaxed. The decision on some issues like cleanliness will be left up to the players themselves. And other issues like only the top male Elk or Buffalo (ranked #1 in dominance) are allowed to mate, are still enforced.

Once mating is completed then a timer starts. Females can watch this timer on their private egg monitoring status screen. When the egg timer hand reaches midnight, the eggs will be laid, babies born, etc... Females need to keep a close eye out on this timer so they can be located in a safe place for the birth of their young. Also note that the health of the mother is passed on to the young. So the healthier the mother, the healthier the babies.

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