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Small scale automated breeding systems can be built by herding passive mobs into moving minecarts and summoning them to a central breeding location - this has the disadvantage of still breeding new mobs relatively slowly (one every five minutes.)
Design[edit | edit source]
Formerly, it was possible to build dense animal breeding farms to be built by "compressing" mobs into a very small number of squares (generally a 3×3×3 chamber that is open at the top) and "spamming" stacks of wheat into the enclosure. In current versions, this will no longer work—overcrowded pens will cause the animals to "phase" through the walls, either suffocating them (solid blocks) or allowing them or their babies to escape (transparent blocks such as fences). Additionally, if several animals are compressed into the same square, only one of them can be fed at a time. Note that fairly crowded farms can still be made with larger pens (made from fences or other transparent blocks), so long as some escapees are acceptable. Escapes can be dramatically reduced by surrounding a fence enclosure by solid blocks one layer high (or digging the fence and enclosed area one block down.)
However, large numbers of mobs CAN be placed in 1-block wide by 2-block high space, given that there is a water block for them to stand in. With this arrangement, the mobs will jump up and down, and wheat stacks spammed into the group will randomly interact with a different individual each time, once again allowing "spam farming." If the adult mobs are greater than 1-block high (as with cows) a 1-block high opening at the bottom of the enclosure will cause the water stream to push the baby animals out as soon as they are born. When more than 50 adults are in the enclosure, new births will rocket out of this opening at high velocity.
Chickens can be fed through a slab in the side of the enclosure, from below through a hole through water blocked by a sign, or from above through a hole in the top center. Other mobs can also be fed through a 1 wide hole in the side of the enclosure without any risk that they will escape. Feeding at twice the rate as you slay your mobs is enough to keep mobs at roughly their current population. Collecting and throwing eggs will increase the number you can slay.
When breeding chickens or other animals in a fenced-in pen (with a fence gate) and you get a large amount of them, it can be difficult to leave the pen without animals escaping before you close the fence gate. A way to deal with this is to go to the opposite side of the pen as the door / gate, pull out some the appropriate food (wheat, seeds, carrots) wait until the animals crowd around you, then putting the food away by switching items and quickly running to the gate. Since they're no longer following you, the animals will not be fast enough to get to the other side of the pen when you do. Other options, depending on animal type, include pillars or trapdoors with ladders, leading to bridges or tunnels out of the pen. A very simple option is a tunnel to a small pool in the pen. Since mobs do not swim down in water, they'll never enter the tunnel.