Drones appear in the sky randomly and can be tapped or dragged on (to avoid mis-tapping a building), knocking them to the ground and giving you a cash/Golden Egg reward. They used to be extremely important but were nerfed in update 1.9. It could be helpful to use Farm to Table when downing drones because the camera can be moved freely.
Since update 1.12, the active running chicken bonus affects farm value and hence the value of drones.
The epic research Drone Rewards works as follows: from 10% to 100%, that is your chance of doubling the downed drone's reward. From 110% to 200%, subtract 100 to get 10% to 100%; that is your chance of doubling the reward again. This makes upgraded drones one of your most reliable sources of small amounts of golden eggs - at maximum upgrade, drones that drop golden eggs will never drop less than 24 at a time.
Because of how drone cash rewards are calculated, in addition to the above, you can raise the amount of cash drones drop with the epic research Accounting Tricks.
Regular Drones are extremely common and quite slow. They appear approximately once every 5-30 seconds.
- Cash Rewards: A very small amount of bocks (0.01% to 5% of your Farm Value, higher rewards more likely with higher drone research)
- Golden Egg Rewards:3 (15% chance), 6 (80% chance), 12 (4.9% chance), 24 (0.09% chance), or 48 (0.01% chance).
Elite Drones, added in update 1.1, are very fast and can turn mid-flight, making them harder to catch. They appear approximately once every 4 minutes, but two Elite Drones can spawn at the same time.