Actually, I was considering 10 chests full of rabbits :P.
Shortage of carrots or berries become a problem though. You need some sort of bait to catch a rabbit...
I tend to lack the charcoal. Do you get it by burning a log?
Interesting, thanks for that tip.
When you say farm spiders, you mean that they can be captured and made to work for you or do you mean hunting them?
Clever. I didn't know you can shave them.
I prefer not to rely too much on luck, unless we are talking about very high probabilities :P.
That helped a lot, thanks!
-Storing rabbits might be a good idea, but be aware that if you kill too many of them fast, you might get an annoying, all-stealing visitor. (For details/spoilers, look here
-You don't need to actually put the bait INTO the trap - just place the trap between a rabbit and a berry/carrot positioned some distance away, it will lure them there.
-If you can find enough berries/mushrooms/carrots/whatever, you can cook meatballs from one meat - 1 meat item + 3 anything = meatballs, which replenish around 63 hunger. Even monster meat can be the meat in this (just make sure there's only one monster meat in the pot), which makes hunting for spiders useful also in this regard.
-No, you cannot tame spiders - farming means hunting them.
-You get charcoal by burning a tree (what I tend to do is plant a few trees tightly together in a safe spot specifically to burn them later).
-For winter heat, I really recommend using a heat stone (available on the Survival tab if you have an Alchemy Machine).
-And one tip of my own: If you can find some Lureplants (the purple ones surrounded by eyes), you should plant them some safe distance away from your camp - they produce a leafy meat every few days even during winter (you'll have to whack some eyes to harvest it, though).
OK looks like Dristvaan has answered most of the points I was going to make, RE spiders and the trap baiting.
From memory I THINK the meatballs isn't quite "anything" as I'm pretty sure you can't use sticks (some recipes can be made with one of something + three sticks, which saves a LOT of food!). You can check the wiki that Dristvaan provided, they have a really detailed section on the crockpot, which could save you lots of messing around when food is in short supply.
With the traps, I tend to place the trap almost on top of the rabbit hole and then walk away to do other stuff - then at some point (typically within 1 game day) you'll get a rabbit with no bait and no effort! Sometimes I've captured a rabbit, replaced the trap, walked a short distance and it caught another one seconds later! That way you don't need bait at all (no need to place it on the ground), and you can do other stuff while the trap does it's work. You have to get the trap as close as possible to the hole though - start by aiming at it, then slowly move the mouse up until you're able to place it.
Course, you can always boomerang 'em if you've managed to get an Alchemy engine and the components. Not as convenient, but can be useful if you're in a bind and need meat quick. You can also boomerang birds, or just use the bird trap and then kill them. Note that if you kill the bird with the boomerang or in your inventory, you may get a feather instead of meat (which is still useful for crafting pipe darts) - but if you definitely need meat, just stick the captured bird over the firepit to instantly turn it into a cooked morsel, guaranteed.
Note that the "all-stealing visitor" may appear much sooner if you kill birds though, as they're worth more "naughty points" than rabbits. Having said that, I've never actually had him appear, although I think I've had the "warning noise".
The lureplant thing is a good idea, especially if you're low on other meat - or even if you happen to have a lureplant and feel like having one nearby. They're actually even more useful than that: anything it kills it will eat, and until it's digested it can be retrieved (along with the plant meat) when killed. So they can be used to farm spiders, frogs, etc. They can even soften up a spider queen and in some cases even kill one - or at the least help with the spiders. Naturally the plant needs to be there ahead of the queen arriving, since it takes a few days for the eyeplants to grow.
The only thing they're not that good at is hounds since in winter the lureplant no longer spawns eyeplants (AFAIK they changed this recently), and in summer the firehounds will ignite and burn the whole thing down (which can be fun though).
Also recently they added Pengulls. While I wouldn't bother attacking them (they're nasty, and they rarely drop anything worthwhile), they do lay eggs during winter. They'll grab and hide the eggs when you get near, but I hear that if you visit them at night, they'll be asleep and so you can grab some free eggs. Haven't tried this myself, but it's a good alternative if you don't have a birdcage.
Magnitus, not sure what you meant by "luck", but just to be sure I'm not being misunderstood, when I say 50% it means that the food lasts 50% longer, not that there's a 50% chance of the food not spoiling. Unless you meant luck as in finding the gears - I agree, I wouldn't rely on that at all. Like I said, I normally don't find them until a few winters in. My current game is day 70+ and haven't found them, but I did play with the Default Plus using its "default" settings - there are sooooo many spiders on that setting that I've had to wipe out multiple queens just so I don't get spiders trashing my walls - and they're still spreading! I torched an entire forest once by accident by trying to wipe one out - at least I wiped out another one next door.
Hope that clears some stuff up.
Also, the caves are worth a visit, but there's no need to rush. My current (70 days+) game still hasn't taken me into a cave. Then again I've only built one and a bit bases in all that time due to the damn spider plague...