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So I have this tyrannical wizard with absurd powers who is the emperor of a large and powerful empire.

Part of his success is not simply down to his ability to murder people but also his brilliant administrative qualities and how he provides for the people. But he also likes to connect those helpful aspects to himself so that people are doing well but dependent on him.

This is merely for context.

Now the magical aspect can be safely ignored once the animal is already made as magic can just replace advanced biological engineering and time.

Much like how with time we could breed dog breeds, and other animals, of certain qualities the magic can just speed up and replace the process.

This also applies to the "genes" as if he made an animal 25% percent bigger then the offspring would be 25% bigger, and it becomes a new animal with the qualities he made and follows biology.

This is important as I don't want opinions, I want actual biological facts. I don't want people to say but magic can mean anything so whatever, as it does not here. The goal is to use a lot of magic upfront and then have the new animal just do its thing.

The closest example is if you can provide a caveman with a trained horse. This breaks nothing and we did train horses eventually.

Now his goal is simple: he wants to get rid of all farm animals and just make this one, or as few as possible, important animal that can do all the rules.

He does have a system of control of the existence of that animal but this is not a part of the question and again just for context.

Here is what I consider to the relevant points.

  • Chicken and birds and fish are not a part of the equation.
  • The magic works just like selective breeding and advanced engineering.
  • The engineering parts is like if you can go into a lab and increase strength of a horse or make cows breed faster or whatever else is possible within the world of science.
  • This is magic but magic can replace science in certain aspect but he is not looking for creating a magical animal. So no flying demons or anything similar as it would require massive wings and that is stupid...etc.
  • The wizard is incredibly inventive, so don't hold back your imagination.
  • The animal should have zero hostility towards humans and should be cooperative.
  • The tech is roughly 100 AD. And much like earth at that time.
  • His goal is to either replace all farm animals with it or most of them.
  • No need for unwanted genes or aspects that do not serve the needs of farming.
  • The needs for farming is just human farming in 100 AD. There is no magical dangers or anything new or changed there.
  • The animal or animals must provide all the current benefits but should also provide extra benefits and be better than what is available to humans.
  • Assume his empire is open to trade and so they have access to all sorts of animals to pick and choose traits from.
  • He is not worried about the amount of magic he has to spend to create the new animal
  • He is not worried about how much food the new animal will consume.
  • He only wants it for agriculture not for fighting or anything else.

I think this covers it. More can be provided.

Here is an example of how I imagine this to work.

Say I want the perfect dog. So I like the color blue and as a strong wizard I will make a breed of blue colored dogs that can actually chameleon themselves to match the environment like the chameleon. I will also make the dog as big as dire wolves and provide it with claws that can shred steel and fangs that are incredibly strong. It would be short haired but resilient to all weathers and incredibly loyal with a 50 year lifespan. It is smart enough to understand complex commands and can be ridden if need be. It can also cooperate with other animals if I trained it to do so...etc

Now once I magically make a dog with all these qualities then the current dog and the new dogs will be a new breed with all the qualities above and require zero magical maintenance later. It will then adhere to the laws of biology as normal animals.

Yes evolution later can alter that but this is not part of it.

I am looking for something like this but in the agriculture world.

Now frame challenges are allowed and of course fine. That's why I left it open to the possibility of having more than one animal.

So if one animal is not enough he can create more.

I'm sorry for stressing certain points more than once. But I just wanted to make it clear as magic can be misinterpreted to: Does not matter.

So what is a "scientific" solution to our friend's problem?

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    $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Sep 23 '20 at 7:56
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    $\begingroup$ "And you may have heard the saying / Which is true as well as witty / That a camel is a horse / That was designed by a committee" $\endgroup$ – Bob Jarvis - Reinstate Monica Sep 24 '20 at 11:34
  • $\begingroup$ You want Al Capp's shmoo: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shmoo $\endgroup$ – Ethan Bolker Sep 24 '20 at 13:05
  • $\begingroup$ @EthanBolker I appreciate the suggestion. But it does not fit the question. Sure it might be a fun little experiment a powerful wizard does. But really they sound very out different from my world. $\endgroup$ – Seallussus Sep 24 '20 at 22:40

14 Answers 14

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Super Cow

  • Can eat almost anything (replacing pigs as garbage disposal)

  • Puts out huge amount of milk under constant nipple compression (replacing dairy cows, and removing the need for complicated dairy pumps. A peg clamped on will put out gallons.). Leaving the nipples clamped will disable milk production, allowing energy to be saved.

  • Can pull a huge weight (replacing oxen)

    • Strong neck and shoulder bones allow for convenient yoke mounting.
  • Can travel at 30km/hr when unladen (replacing horses).

    • Soft padded mid back removes the need for a saddle.
  • Bi-chromal eyesight, so can make out the colour red. And will walk towards any flapping red fabric, even if in a circle for hours, until at the point of exhaustion, so can be trivially utilised to power a mil, crane, or (centuries later) generate electricity.

  • Solid waste is highly compacted by its powerful colon into a dry, odourless, solid, easily stackable fuel briquettes (male) or fertiliser blocks (female).

  • Females creates a large egg every day even if unfertilised. This egg is very tasty strong enough to fall to the ground without breaking, and doesn't need to be sat on to reproduce.

  • A Crest of feathers from eyebrow to neck on both genders, these are used for mating rituals in nature - the taller and more feathers the better the genes, but humans will find them conveniently sized for arrows.

  • Conveniently placed D-Shaped ivory growths that make for functional tie points for equipment, railings to aid people climbing up, and to make great piano keys.

  • A beard grows at a decent rate (50cm/day), the beard on females is essentially silk, on males, a super strong fibre with properties like kevlar.

  • A large bushy tail grows very quickly, and trivially removable with a knife. The tail from males is basically wool (with a lanolin grease similar to sheep), and females is basically cotton, and can be spun into fibres easily.

  • Absorbs trace metals from the environment in youth, which (along with its high temperature stomach) is used to convert methane waste into methanol and alcohol. When hydraded, the urine is only about 5% alcohols, but when dehydrated, it's urine can be up to 90% alcohols. The urine from a dehydrated super-cow is usable as a fuel already, but with fractional distillation can provide pure methanol and ethanol. Fuel and alcohol. (Helps out thousands of years by keeping greenhouse gases down too!)

  • If starved, first will eat its own beard and tail, but then, if it has access to a tree or large bush. Will eat all the leaves, the minor branches, and then up uproot the tree and eat the roots. You can tie them up in a scrub and come back a few days later to cleared land and felled trees ready to cut into firewood

  • Earwax is produced at a rapid rate in 4 distinct phases (separated by a few months in case someone wishes to clean them). And has several useful properties.

    • The earwax from a Male calf is a substitute for honey
    • Female Calfs produce a substance that's a handy adhesive
    • Male teenagers produce a substance with great waterproofing properties
    • Female teens produce a substance which has contraceptive properties , allowing reproductive choice.
      • Keeping this, and mixing traces of it into the female adults food, will stop egg production, saving energy for other uses.
    • Male adults produce a substance which when mixed with water and activated with sunlight make a powerful antibiotic.
    • Female adults produce a substance which in small doses helps with anxiety and stabilises moods, in large doses gets you really high safely.
    • Male seniors produce a jellied random powder, it's different depending on family lines and diet, but Can be trivially processed (by boiling and drying) into several spices.
    • Female seniors produce a substance which is a powerful painkiller.
  • In old age, uses its last act to enter a rapid growth period growing nice muscle and dissolving bones and non essential organs to do so, doubling in size until the body fails under the weight.

    • Giving lots of easily butchered meat. The release of enzymes at death add extra marbelling, and the majority of the meat is freshly grown just before death. The different cuts have wildly different flavours, emulating pork, bacon, veal, beaf, etc.
    • The skin also grows rapidly in this final phase resulting in a hide nearly 50 sqm. A novice farmer can strip the hide in one peice and make a bolt of leather with ease.

There is ZERO chance of this creature evolving naturally, however once magicked into existence, I don't see this violating any fundamental rules of science.

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    $\begingroup$ If it's used for meat in old age, there has to be some other transformation to make its meat more edible. Historically, when poor peasants ate meat, it was when they butchered an animal too old to produce anything else. City-dwellers know chicken as having very tender and soft meant, but that's because they are very young. Anyone who has lived in the countryside and has eaten chicken too old to produce any more eggs knows how hard and chewy their meat is. $\endgroup$ – vsz Sep 23 '20 at 4:29
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    $\begingroup$ this sounds like something that is quite literally too good to be true. i can imagine the wizard getting some huge problems after this starts to exist. $\endgroup$ – Gnudiff Sep 23 '20 at 5:52
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    $\begingroup$ Technical note: The paper on converting methane to methanol has been retracted because the work could not be reproduced and had errors. (onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/anie.201907642) so I don't think it is a useful reference here. $\endgroup$ – Martin Modrák Sep 23 '20 at 9:20
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    $\begingroup$ Might want to add something about the meat being low in cholesterol and having a wider variety of flavors (like top half of the ribs taste like beef, bottom half tastes like pork). Especially bacon. Nothing on this list makes up for bacon :D $\endgroup$ – Xavon_Wrentaile Sep 23 '20 at 23:56
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    $\begingroup$ @encryptoferia There is already a name. Let me present the Eierlegende Wollmichsau which is german for "egg-laying wool-milk-sow". There are also fun pictures if you google this ;-) $\endgroup$ – kutschkem Sep 24 '20 at 8:43
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Consider this. Modern agriculture rely greatly on machines. We have full control and full power to make any machines we want. And where it goes? One superagriculture machine "to rule them all"? Or hundreds and thousands specialized or even overspecialized contraptions?

So you wizard will not create one single breed, but lots of very special animals - super cows for milk and meat, super pigs for meat and garbage dispose, super horses for work power and etc. And there would be even greater specialization! Like "wheat cows" (eat pure straw and produces special manure for wheat), "ground vegetable cows" (eats tops and again - very special manure) and etc. And this will go for chickens as well (again - manure and excesses dispose)

All this agriculture would be both super-effective and highly wizard-dependent. People will not be able to support such a variety by themselves for long time. Single flood or fire can destroy entire breed which is an important link in production chain. But while the wizard replaces losses this country would prosper

UPD: as an opposition to other answers I want to mention, that people's quality of life also include variety of food. Eating only single one type of meat is not that pleasent even if it is the best meat in the world.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is very much the way to go. Even if the wizard didn't care about variety, once his one creature was created, people would definitely try to breed it into much more specialized subspecies. Apart from everything else, having one animal that does everything is also complicated and annoying. You will dream of the good old days when animals still made sense... $\endgroup$ – Mark Sep 25 '20 at 13:26
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The German expression eierlegende Wollmilchsau is idiomatically used for any person or object that English would describe as "all-singing all-dancing". If you google it, you'll get plenty of images of the "egg-laying wooly milk pig" that answers your question—my favourite is below. The name alone describes an animal that covers pretty much all the agricultural bases. Ideally it should be engineered to eat unfussily and cheaply (like a goat), occasionally hunt and eat rodents (like a farm cat) and have the homing instincts of a pigeon.

Of course the males (i.e. the ramboarbullcocks) won't give you milk or eggs, but they could be bred larger, hairier and more muscular than the ewesowcowhens, for increased wool yields, meatier meat, and sufficient strength to pull a plough or cart.

eierlegende Wollmilchsau

And if they can be taught to sing and dance, well that's just a bonus.

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The Ameglian Major Cow

enter image description here

A large animal was brought to Zaphod Beeblebrox's table, a large, fat, meaty quadruped of the bovine type with large watery eyes, small horns and what might almost have been an ingratiating smile on his lips. He was an Ameglian Major Cow.

"Good evening", he said, "I am the main dish of the day. May I interest you in the parts of my body? Something off the shoulder perhaps? Braised in a little white wine sauce?"

"Er, your shoulder?" said Arthur in a horrified whisper.

"But naturally my shoulder, sir, nobody else's is mine to offer." . . . "May I urge you to consider my liver?" asked the animal, "it must be very rich and tender by now, I've been force-feeding myself for months." . . . After some protesting by Arthur . . . "Well," said the animal . . . "it was eventually decided to cut through the whole tangled problem and breed an animal that actually wanted to be eaten and was capable of saying so, clearly and distinctly. And here I am." "Glass of water?", asked Arthur.

"Look," said Zaphod, "we want to eat, and we don't want to make a meal of the issues. We'll have four rare steaks, and hurry please.'

The animal gave a mellow gurgle. "A very wise choice, sir, very good," he said, "I'll just nip off and shoot myself."

Arthur (head in hand): "Oh, God!"

Animal: "Don't worry sir, I'll be very humane."

Basically the wizard breeds an intelligent animal that wants to be eaten so will look after itself and do what it needs to do to improve it's eating experience.

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    $\begingroup$ This is great for meat, but doesn't replace the functions of any other farm animals, like producing eggs, carrying heavy loads, personal transportation, or providing materials for clothing. $\endgroup$ – Nuclear Hoagie Sep 22 '20 at 14:21
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    $\begingroup$ One problem I have with intelligent livestock (other than the icky moral one) is that intelligence is expensive. Both to grow and to maintain. So it wouldn't be much efficient. Is it really worth it investing energy into that, when most livestock is already under protection of humans and humans can easily kill it. And I don't see how anyone would enjoy intellectual discussion with his dinner. $\endgroup$ – Euphoric Sep 22 '20 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Euphoric it is a commentary about the eating of animals. Pigs and dogs are smart, yet both are eaten against their will. Plants can't be asked on their opinion. So in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy they bred an animal that wants to be eaten and can articulate this. Morally better than eating creatures that don't want to is the idea, even though the culture shock of the protagonist prohibits him from thinking about it. $\endgroup$ – Trioxidane Sep 22 '20 at 15:31
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I agree that having single super-livestock won't work. As many necessary features of such animals are in direct conflict. For example, if you make cow that is good at producing meat and milk, it needs to divide it's energy and food suplies towards both. If instead you have cow specialized for meat and cow specialized for milk, they will use food they eat towards only single purpuse, being both efficient and most probably easier to engineer.

I'm going to assume that wizard's livestock 'industry' is somewhat like ours. In that it can go as far as factory farming. Based on that, I'm going to answer different question 'What kind of livestock could we engineer to make livestock better for us, given our current state of husbandry.'

There are few major points that wizard would need to address. First is the moral one, which vegans often point out. Many animals are kept in conditions that are extremely stressful for them. Cows and pigs stand side-by-side, unable to move for most of their lives. Chicken, who have strict hierarchies, cannot establish them and get stressed. So first big modification should be some kind of nerve-stapling, making them as docile and as little needy as possible. Make them, so they are perfectly comfortable not moving for extended period of time and not caring about world around it, other than feeding.

Another point of waste is reproduction. Often, only one sex is worthy for raising. But naturally, animals have 50/50 chance of having either sex children. This is waseful. For example, only female chicks are useful. Male chicks are killed shortly after being born. So engineer them so that the ratio is heavily lopsided for the useful sex. For chicken, that could easily be 95/5 so that only few male chicks are born.

Another big problem is disease. Putting dozens or hundreds of animals into small space is perfect place for spread of disease. So we use majority of our antibiotics on livestock. Your wizzard should definitely invest a lot of resource to engineer best immune system into his livestock.

Pollution is another bad problem with our livestock. It produces lots of polution, in air, water and soil. Maybe the wizzard can do something about it? Make the cows metabolism produce less harmful chemicals, or if it needs to produce it, it excretes it in a way that can easily be cleaned up and either safely disposed or re-purposed.

Lastly, one of the bad things with livestock is that it is really inneficient in using it's resources. Studies show that only 1-3% of calories eaten by cow gets converted into meat. It is little better for poultry. This is definitely area the wizard should focus on.

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    $\begingroup$ About vegans and morals, nothing will convince a hungry lion not to eat a sheep. Animals eat each other all the time, but I agree that the conditions in which they are kept matter. An animal living in an ecological environment is a healthy animal, which means good quality meat/milk/eggs. $\endgroup$ – Galaxy Sep 22 '20 at 23:22
  • $\begingroup$ Dividing energy between meat and milk isn't a problem if the proportion is close to what people want. $\endgroup$ – user253751 Sep 23 '20 at 16:10
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Assuming that the major needs served by farm animals are:

  • meat
  • dairy
  • fibre
  • power (locomotion, powering static machinery via treadmills etc)
  • fertiliser

We already have animals that can provide at least 4 of these by themselves: sheep, and also some breeds of goat. Increasing their size and changing their proportions (e.g. to the size/shape of small cattle) in order to allow them to bear human weight and pull at least 1 horsepower of load would round out the power component. Temperament might also need to be adjusted as sheep are herd animals that don't do well alone.

Given that there are many breeds of sheep which are specialised to various human needs, it should be very possible for specific breeds of riding and draft sheep to be developed. If time weren't a factor then careful breeding could potentially accomplish the size increase without even needing magic; humans have accomplished some pretty major shape changes via selective breeding of domesticated animals over the last few thousand years.

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A creature with caste

The problem is that you can't just have one kind of animal do everything. This is inefficient, impractical and just generally silly. That is why I would suggest a caste system.

If we look at group creatures like bees and ants, we can see they have large amount of differentiation within them. There are several methods to achieve this. Ants for example smell each other's function. If an ant smells too little of a certain function, they will differentiate into that version if possible. Via hormones in the air from both the creatures and the environment you can have the creature differentiate into an appropriate form during their growing stage. This can be taller to eat the leaves of trees in a forest, lower to eat the grass on a field and be less susceptible to wind, or on other levels differentiating into making milk or growing fat for meat.

Keep in mind that you don't need a central queen for this. You can conceivably get this in a herd.

Possibly the meat creature creates bulges on it's sides that have no purpose, but fall off when finished. This can be done with apoptosis (programmed cell death) as well as vestigial growth. This is edible meat with a leather shell. This will make the creatures survive for longer until it is time to slaughter the whole animal. This can be very advantageous for reproduction. This meat variant can immediately be used for plowing, as it's strong but slow.

A milk variant is more intermediate, allowing for some travelling between cities and pulling of carriages. Generally not used for long distance in a day.

You can have other variants, like one that spins webs for clothing as @Demigan suggests, or extra hairy ones for fur production. Growing animals put into a house will diversify into a smaller version, capable of eating much like a goat, is good for companionship and generally smarter than the rest.

An even more select few will become travel animals. They produce a bit of meat and milk if there's plenty food and they aren't pushed too hard. The highest form of this is producing nothing and is just for long distance heavy riding.

In each herd one or two animals are smarter than the rest, which the others follow. The smarter ones can be trained easily, removing the need for herding animals and such.

From this you can mix and match to your desire. A caste system helps survivability of the creatures, vestigial growths and the like aid this further, while the creature adapts in most cases as efficiently as possible to the circumstance for optimal eating of the food. A forest where you only eat grass or fallen leaves is just not efficient. This will give your civilians an abundance of resources, from food to labor to companionship, making them certainly more happy and less prone to famine and the like.

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You want a giant platypus. Nothing else (except maybe an echidna) will give you milk, wool and eggs. You’ll want to breed out the venomous spurs, as well as making them much larger and woolier.

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A shmoo.

The shmoo is an animal invented by Al Capp for his satirical comic strip, Li'l Abner, that has just about everything you want.

Shmoos [from wikipedia]

  • ... reproduce asexually and are incredibly prolific, multiplying faster than rabbits. They require no sustenance other than air.

  • Shmoos are delicious to eat, and are eager to be eaten. If a human looks at one hungrily, it will happily immolate itself — either by jumping into a frying pan, after which they taste like chicken, or into a broiling pan, after which they taste like steak. When roasted they taste like pork, and when baked they taste like catfish. Raw, they taste like oysters on the half-shell.

  • They also produce eggs (neatly packaged), milk (bottled, grade-A), and butter—no churning required. Their pelts make perfect bootleather or house timbers, depending on how thick one slices them.

  • They have no bones, so there's absolutely no waste. Their eyes make the best suspender buttons, and their whiskers make perfect toothpicks. In short, they are simply the perfect ideal of a subsistence agricultural herd animal.

  • Naturally gentle, they require minimal care and are ideal playmates for young children. The frolicking of shmoos is so entertaining (such as their staged "shmoosical comedies") that people no longer feel the need to watch television or go to the movies.

  • Some of the more tasty varieties of shmoo are more difficult to catch, however. Usually shmoo hunters, now a sport in some parts of the country, use a paper bag, flashlight, and stick to capture their shmoos. At night the light stuns them, then they may be whacked in the head with the stick and put in the bag for frying up later on.

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Trees

Animals are very, very inefficient. To produce anything, they need to eat plants. The digestion is using a lot of energy to transform it to something usable. If I remember correctly, about 40% is wasted. Then it goes to storage, movement and thinking besides the growth of product, all which waste a lot of energy. What you need is to cut out the middle man.

When thinking about what plant to use, I would say trees. It might take a moment before they have grown, but the benefits are quite big. Compared to regular plants, after they've grown a certain size they don't need to regrow this. A wheat plant needs to grow the whole plant before it grows the fruit every time in comparison. The roots of a tree go deeper, allowing for more sustenance and less susceptible to drought. The canopy is also less easy to eat for larger animals. Depending on how much light the canopy lets through, the ground can grow grass and bushes, allowing for other kinds of harvesting or animal grazing.

The fruit that grows there can be altered by adding a few versions of the tree, allowing for variety. In the outer layer it can produce edible liquid, which can harden for either crafting purposes (like a form of amber) or edible purposes. This can be harvested like tree resin. Sap and oils can be nutritious, while also able ward off many bacteria and rot, allowing for a good travel food if kept in liquid or hardened state. You might even use it for pottery if you heat it enough. The wood itself can be used as lumber, which again can contain the oils to allow for easy, durable building. With several kinds of trees you can immediately add more flexible wood or the slow growing but incredible strong wood. New twigs and roots can be edible as well, each with their own taste. Much like strawberries and potato plants they can grow new trees via the roots and the potato limps, the tree can grow these on the edges of it's roots. Even the bark can be edible or used for crafting.

To futher the edibility and diversity, you could graft plants on the roots. The canopy can use all light for growing, giving the energy to the grafted plants. These can futher give off things like wheat, but in a way that only the "fruit" has to be harvested. The rest of the plant can stay, so it won't need to grow again. This way, you can have a lot of diversity in food and construction with just a few kinds of one tree, aided by specially grafted plants.

It might take some time for the tree to grow to a fully producing tree and the grafting can take effort, but afterwards you hopefully only have to harvest. The harvesting might still be very intensive though. That being said, the tree can bear food most of the seasons, much like some raspberry bushes will keep producing until it gets too cold. It might even allow things like potatoes to be dug from the roots in winter.

Lots of animals actually reside in woods, so they can be let loose there for extra sustenance. Possibly one of the creatures suggested above. But this tree might actually be possible, based on the traits of other trees and plants.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice out-of-the-box thinking. I'd still prefer something that can pull a plough and make a tasty steak, but this is cool too :) $\endgroup$ – Corey Sep 25 '20 at 2:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Corey don't worry. You can have your stake too. A tree doesn't exclude animals all around. But in those days people ate less meat in general (though exceptions can be found). I would think a plant is much more realistic to boost your economy than only animals. It can bear food that more easily lasts longer, has more nutritional values and have many more uses like construction. And with trees you don't need to plough. With a super cow you'll have trouble eating anything but the cow, as it'll need to eat everything else. $\endgroup$ – Trioxidane Sep 25 '20 at 6:22
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I want to take pieces of some of the other answers and kind of merge them together.

What if as others say your wizard develops multiple super animals as suggested. Because the animals are "super" in that they produce crazy amounts of food/milk/honey/etc., they all REQUIRE a special nutrient (hormone/protein/mineral) only found in a very super plant that you have magically created. Because of this, your evil wizard kills all the other animals and controls 5 farms as the sole distributor of this superfood. Anyone who has a super animal (because your wizard no longer needs control of the animals, but their food source) must come to one of your special farms once every month to allow it to eat or risk their animal not producing food or even dying. Of course, access to these farms is expensive and requires some payment beyond money for the subjects. This forces the subjects to live close to the wizard so he can keep a close eye on them. It also keeps them productive because they are forced to raise their own food.

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  • $\begingroup$ Actually you are not far off from how he handles agriculture. But instead of food he controls the potion making business. Potions in the world cure all disease including animal ones and insure excellent harvests. Monthly his men provide farms with their potions so their animals are healthy and their lands are prosperous. His potion are also traceable and it is illegal to sell it outside of his lands or anything similar. Also medicine is much more advanced and his people are much healthier. $\endgroup$ – Seallussus Sep 22 '20 at 17:34
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German has a word for that: Eierlegende Wollmilchsau (literally egg-laying wool-milk-sow).

I think you'd do well to adapt pigs or boars to your needs. You probably won't get the egg laying to work with just rapid breeding, but

  • Boars have hair so you can just make that grow longer and softer to get wool.
  • Pigs/boars give milk to their piglets, so you just need to breed for more/tastier milk.
  • You can probably breed your pigs big and sturdy enough that you can use them to carry and pull things - they might not be the fastest, but your average villager doesn't need fast. If you don't have teleportation magic, you'll probably want to keep horses around for your personal use.
  • And of course they already have tasty meat.
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  • $\begingroup$ Since the wizard is using magical genetic engineering, rather than simply selective breeding, you could probably get the egg-laying too. $\endgroup$ – BBeast Sep 23 '20 at 0:07
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    $\begingroup$ There already is a domesticated animal which ticks all the boxes except laying eggs: The camel. You can shear them, milk them, eat them and even ride them. $\endgroup$ – Philipp Sep 24 '20 at 10:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Philipp good point, but pigs have the advantage of eating almost anything. On that thought, goats are even less picky eaters. So let's breed woolier, milkier, tastier camels with the appetite and digestive trackt of goats. $\endgroup$ – Sumyrda - remember Monica Sep 24 '20 at 21:07
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What about instead of some super singular animal that can do big work itself and be turned into a big cut of meat, instead what about a about smaller collective-based creature, like a hoard of smart, collaborative, hive minded mice. They can swarm to dig (plow) fields, plant seeds, and then reap the crops. A thousand of them can team up to carry a big beam of wood, another 10 or so pick up a hammer, and one holds the nail in place. They can climb up walls, crawl through tight spaces, good sense of smell, hearing, and sight. They'd be great spys, depending on how the communal intelligence worked, or hell they could even spell out messages with their bodies to let you know what they overheard. Also they breed like... well, like rats! Also they're good eating if you put enough of them in the pot, you can even have some of them butcher and cook the other ones for you.

So, yeah. A hive of millions of trained mice could take over the world I think.

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Yeasts

we have many yeasts that produce a lot of products now, with magic you could go without costly research straight to prosperity

most of animal products are protein based

  • you can have meat producing yeasts(they exist) that form fiber structure similar to meat (does not exist AFAIK) to have tasty texture

  • producing eggs is just producing proteins, you can even separate yolk and white

  • silk and spider silk is also just a long protein, ATM we cant produce it in bulk via yeasts but with the right DNA maybe?

  • alcohol :)

  • medicine and drugs

so farming would be crops for agar that is then processed by yeasts into whatever

to adhere to the one-animal request: you could have one ultimate yeast that is jump-started to produce proteins by adding a sample that should be produced (those genes would express themselves) this has some potential plot hooks with unwanted substances falling into the yeast vats

and for you control over them - adding some backdoor protein would trigger selfdestruction creating more of the backdoor protein if he wants to decimate the economy created

if you want something more interactive, the yeasts could clump up into a slime (like dnd gelatinous cube etc.)

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  • $\begingroup$ Yeast is not an animal. $\endgroup$ – Eike Pierstorff Sep 24 '20 at 14:08

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