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Stardew Valley is one of those beautiful, comforting, and all-around excellent games for everyone, beginner or master. As the game grows in popularity every year, the library of mods also grows.
There are pages upon pages of content that can add anything from whole new towns to making those little artifact spots into Animal Crossing-style fossil holes for this quaint game. There will be a mod—if not dozens—meant just for you.
While I enjoy playing non-modded Stardew on my Switch, I’ve found myself moving to the PC version, as the number of mods that change the game into a bigger, better world is endless. I currently have 50+ mods installed on my long-term world…and animals are at the center of them.
Bottom Line Up Front: Why Mod for Animals?
Animal mods are a simple but significant addition for anyone who plans on farming. They can improve the look of your cows or make selling dairy products more profitable. These must-have animal mods span from easy beginner reskins to changing the entire gameplay of Stardew Valley.
Before we proceed, here is my selection criteria for best animal mods:
- Adds ease of gameplay
- Is aesthetically pleasing, whether it’s an aesthetic genre like cottagecore or simply improving graphics
- Brings new, useful content to the game
- Doesn’t interrupt core gameplay
- Is fun and unique
Best of the Best Animal Mods
Farm Animal Choices
Let’s start simple. This mod lets you choose whatever vanilla farm animal you want, which means you can choose what color you want for your chickens, cows, etc.
It doesn’t mess with the progression of being able to buy the animals either, so you’ll still need to upgrade your coop and barn to get the later animals.
Bulk Animal Purchase
Compatible with the farm animal choices mod, this mod lets you buy animals in bulk. Not much else to say! It’s handy and makes life a little less annoying. Sometimes it can feel like you don’t have enough time in the day in Stardew, so saving even a few seconds counts.
Elle’s New Coop Animals
Elle’s new coop animals mod has to be one of the best Stardew Valley mods out there; the recolor of the coop buddies makes them cute and diverse. It gives a huge bang, with twenty-two different chicken skins, seven duck skins, twenty-six rabbit skins, and six dinosaur skins.
This mod was the first mod I’d installed to Stardew, and it’s still one of my favorites to this day. Elle’s mods are peak Stardew Valley, giving a natural addition to the game that blends seamlessly in with the original content.
Elle’s New Barn Animals
Debatably even better than the last. This mod gives the feel of the very classic and well-known chubby animals mod, but a bit updated, with brand new refreshing skins.
This mod features twenty-two skins for brown and white cows (including deer), eighteen skins for goats (including deer), fourteen skins for sheep (including alpacas), and eighteen skins for pigs (including deer)
I should add that Elle has new skins for cats, dogs, horses and remixed skins for the barn and coop animals, but if I listed all of them in detail, this would be a list about Elle. They’re all fantastic and work together seamlessly, so here are the links to the rest of their work for animals.
- Elle’s cat replacements
- Elle’s dog replacements
- Elle’s new horses
- Elle’s town animals
- Elle’s animals for alternative textures
The flavorful cows mod is a weird, fun, and profitable mod that adds flavors to your cows; it’s self-explanatory. They have vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate, and look like their kinds of milk as well. The cows can be purchased at Marnie’s shop like any other farm animal. I never knew I wanted strawberry milk so much!
Be Rich with Animals
This is the most game-changing mod on this list. The slightly annoying feature in vanilla Stardew Valley is that cheese, mayo, and cloth don’t have star ratings, despite the products they are made from having it. Well, this gets rid of that. Every item from an animal product has a star rating system now. Yes, that means you can get gold goat cheese.
It also gives more product, possibly getting more cloth per wool woven, more mayo per egg, etc. Making money on your farm has never been easier.
More Barn and Coop Animals
This is a mod that is small but extremely useful! This mod adds four more spaces for animals in your coop or barn, saving you a ton of money on upgrades and not having to have dozens of coops and barns for all of your animals.
Or, maybe you’re lazy like me and never get around to adding more barns and coops, and would rather have more animals in one space.
No more moving through tons of pigs to get to truffles. With this mod, you’ll be able to move any animal just by holding hay. It’s perfect for when you accidentally let out all of your animals, and they go wandering, eating up all of the grass you definitely didn’t want them to eat.
You’ll need a lot of additional mods to install this one, but it’s worth it. This kooky mod adds new exotic animals to your farm.
Available to buy at Marnie’s, you can get anything from a void cow to a merchant pig. Yes, there are merchant animals…and they all have unique items to them, including void milk, purple truffles, and even odder items. I made a playthrough with some of the weirdest mods I could find, and this was on it.
The Cowboy Life Expanded
When I say this is a massive mod, I mean it. It’s also translated into Spanish and English. This mod adds more animals, more items sold at Marnie’s, new skins, new NPC lines, and new prices to the game. It adds a whole new world to an already big farm…and only makes it better.
With new fish drops added, new reskins for animals that give them an old western feel, and even food to fit the new aesthetic, it’s a must-have for players who want a whole unique experience. My favorite thing has to be the cute reskinned ducks. I mean, they’re adorable.
Animal Husbandry Mod (Formerly Butcher Mod)
This mod isn’t for everyone, and that’s ok! But for people who always wanted to fry up some bacon in your kitchen, this is for you. This adds a whole new aspect to the game by allowing you to become a butcher; I won’t go into much detail due to the sensitive topic. It adds new items, meat, and recipes.
- An alternative to this carnivore mod is “Fresh Meat Alternative Mod,” which lets you grow meat-like crops.
SH’s Wild Animals Mod
This mod adds even more animals to places outside of your farm, giving Pelican Town a bit more of a rustic, natural feel than usual. This mod has an extensive Q&A section for almost every question under the sun.
Since this mod is so big and adds so many new animals, it might make your game run a little slower at first. That’s fine! It shouldn’t slow it down forever, but you can always uninstall other mods to lessen the bulk. I cannot stress enough how much this adds to the beauty of the game.
It’s a game-changer, providing a more immersive style of play. It adds ducks floating in the water, ravens around the graves, deer wandering around for grass, and so much more.
Animated Parrot and Perch
Admittedly this is one of the weirder additions to this list, but it is an excellent mod for decoration. This adds parrot perches to the game. Yes, you can have your own talking parrot and place them anywhere you want! You can feed them, talk to them, and with an addition of a gifting mod, they can give you fertilizer when giving them seeds. Yes, it’s what you think.
This mod is more than what the title may imply. Do you know how your farm pet is, well, useless? It can be so easy to forget to water or love your pet, and then you remember it’s there and think, oh crap, my pet hasn’t had water in like a year.
I can’t tell you how much this small mod makes a difference for me. Sometimes when you walk out your door, your pet will give you a random gift. It can be anything: cherries, a rainbow shell, or even a prismatic shard (admittedly, you’d probably get chests full of fish before a shard, but still).
It makes every day a little more exciting, but it also gives you a reason to take care of your farm pet.
Cats and Dogs
Similarly, this mod will let you adopt as many cats and dogs as you want! I mean, who doesn’t want a bunch of tiny cats and dogs running around the farm? This would be perfect for people who want a more aesthetic farm.
Adopt N’ Skin (Animal Skinner)
This is a huge, beautiful mod that randomizes the skins of all farm animals and pets and adds adoption of pets at Marnie’s shop!
This is an all-in-one type mod that covers a lot of ground. Plus, there are many other mods that are compatible with it, as well. This modder has a few other extremely useful mods that can enhance the core gameplay. Be sure to check them out.
Dog Reskins now with Cats
Yes, yes! This is an entertaining reskin mod that makes your cat or dog into an Animal Crossing villager. Yes, I totally got a dog based on Bones from AC. While this is one of the more minor mods on this list, being able to combine two gaming worlds into one is delightful.
Spooky Cat Costumes
I couldn’t leave this mod out, as I am a major Halloween celebrator all year long. It’s seriously the cutest mod for Stardew Valley. Your cat will wear a little Halloween costume; there’s even one for dogs, too! There are pumpkins, skeletons, and wizard skins.
Best of the Rest: Complementary Mods
So, now you have the best possible farm you can have…but wait, what about a few extra mods that help with animals? Here are a few that aren’t directly related to animals but help out farm life in meaningful ways.
Better Grass Visibility for Content Patcher
It’s so easy to lose your chickens and rabbits in the grass if you planted or grew too much near your coop. This mod adds visibility to your small animals through fields of grass.
More Grass on the Beach
Very simple. This mod just adds more grass to the beach-centered farms. It can be tough to have any grass on this type of farm, which might lead to you avoiding the cute animals, which is (obviously) a no-no. This mod lessens that difficulty.
Cleaner Barns and Coops
This mod is what it says it is: it removes all the mess around the sides of the barns and coops, allowing more room for machines. I know I run out of space fast with all of my cheese machines, and I refuse to get an empty barn, because I’m stubborn, which makes my life a bit easier.
Question: How do I Install a Mod?
Answer: First, you will want to install SMAPI, an essential part of installing mods. All mods for Stardew Valley will require SMAPI. Thankfully, it’s straightforward. Just use the link below.
Once you install SMAPI, you’re all ready to go! All mods listed will need SMAPI, so it’s essential that you install it. It doesn’t matter if you’re running through Steam or a direct install, you’ll still need SMAPI.
Some mods will need other mods to work, but the majority of these mods won’t. Just check the requirements before installing any mod, as some of these mods won’t work together.
Once you have it downloaded, you’ll just want to move the mod file over to your Stardew Valley folder, you’ll have to go through something like this to get to the right mod folder; C:\Program Files \Steam\steamapps\common\Stardew Valley or /Applications/Stardew Valley.app/Contents/MacOS
then unzip or extract the mod file. Open up your game and SMAPI should open up a side window, showing you what mods work, what mods need updating, and what mods need more mods to work. If it doesn’t work for an unknown reason, check if it unzipped properly and if it’s in the right folder.
It’s that easy. Sometimes it can mess up; in that case, I usually uninstall and reinstall the mod, then repeat the move and unzip. If you have any problems, everything you need to know about SMAPI and installing Stardew mods can be found in the SMAPI discord, linked on the SMAPI page.
Mods can mess with your save file, even though it’s rare, it is possible, so keep that in mind. Here are my best tips:
Don’t open a game with a mod that adds a significant amount of new items without the mod installed
Make sure if you play in co-op that both players have the same mods
Keep everything updated
Need more in-depth, platform-specific instructions? There’s a great guide on our site!
Question: Where do I Find Mods?
Answer: All the mods in this list can be found on Nexus, as I believe they’re the most accessible and easy to install. You can find the directory here: https://www.nexusmods.com/stardewvalley/
Question: My Mod Isn’t Working…Help!
Answer: You will need to keep your mods updated. SMAPI opens a window before your game of Stardew Valley opens. It will alert you if a mod is outdated or overridden by another mod. If this doesn’t work, try uninstalling and reinstalling the mod again.
Still didn’t work? Read up on if that mod conflicts with another mod. Generally, if it’s reskins from different people with the same animals included, assume they’re not compatible.
Question: Are These Mods for Computers or Consoles?
Answer: This guide is meant for computer gaming; yes, it seamlessly includes Mac! It’s the same process as for PC: easy and fun.
The modding process for the console is highly different, so please take note of that. You might be able to use some of these mods on your console, but it’s a much more complicated process.
I tested every single mod individually, and everything ran smoothly on my Macbook Pro—even the heftier mods didn’t give me any problems.
I’m not a pro at installing mods, either, but all of these went exceptionally smoothly, never crashed my game, and worked well with some other base mods I didn’t get rid of (simple house redesigns or different trees…nothing that would interfere with animals).
Your Animals are Trying to Sleep
I hope that this covered everything you could have ever needed or wanted regarding animals, a huge part of the game. I genuinely believe Stardew Valley is a beautifully perfect game, but the passion of other creators makes the game shine.
As you can probably tell from reading this article, my very favorite animal mod is Cat Gifts! It’s such a simple mod that really changes the gameplay for the better. It makes your life a little bit easier with bundles for the community center, or a seasonal item you just don’t have yet.
A close second for me is Ellie’s Cat Replacement mod, as I can have my cat Rosencrantz purring beside me as I play, AND in the game!
If you love a particular mod, or any of them, often creators of these mods have a Patreon. I highly suggest donating if you can, as all of these modders do this for free, taking hours, days, and months to create content for players like us to enjoy.