Breeding

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Two villagers in love.
A baby wolf with its parents.
Notch-twitter.png

If you hold food in your hand, they follow you around. If you feed them, they enter "love mode". Two animals in love mode = babies.

Notch on breeding animals[1]

Breeding is a game mechanic that allows animals of the same species to breed with each other to make new animals.

Mechanics[edit]

A cow following the player

Each animal that can be bred has a food item used to lead and breed it (there are a few special cases, described below). Once an animal notices a player holding its food, it follows the player until either the player is out of range, the player stops holding the item, or it begins the breeding process. This includes baby animals. Note that animals are uninterested in food lying on the ground. One item per parent is needed to breed a single baby.

Love mode[edit]

When an animal is fed its food, it enters "love mode", preparing to breed with another animal of the same species that is also in love mode. Animals that are in love mode emit heart particles constantly. When both animals are fed, they path-find toward each other, up to eight blocks away. The two animals "kiss" for about two and a half seconds, and then a baby animal of the same species spawns either in between the parents or on the same blocks as the parent that was spawned first, which ends love mode for the parents. Once the parents breed they also drop a small amount of experience. They cannot enter love mode again for about 5 minutes, and they may breed only once per item given. However, they can still be herded with the appropriate material, as can the baby. An animal exits love mode if it does not breed 30 seconds after being fed; however, it can enter love mode again immediately.

After the baby animal has spawned, it follows its parents for 20 minutes before growing to full size. However, if the baby animal cannot find its parents, it randomly chooses another nearby adult animal to follow. The growth of baby animals can be slowly accelerated using the animal's breeding item. Each use takes 10% off the remaining time to grow up, with the exception of horses and llamas where different breeding items speed up the growth by different amounts.

Breeding foods[edit]

Mob Items Other
The following can also be used for growing a baby horse, and for healing:
Sheep can grow faster if they eat grass.
Pig
Chicken
Tamed Wolf (dog)
Tamed wolves must be at full health before being fed to breed. They must be fed to restore HP.
Meat cannot be used to tame a wolf. Only bones can be used to tame wolves.

In Bedrock Edition, the following can also be used for for healing, but cannot be used for breeding nor growing a baby wolf:

Cat (tamed) Tamed cats must be at full health before being fed to breed. They must be fed to restore HP.
Ocelot Ocelots also trust player.
Rabbit
Llama (tamed) The following can also be used for growing a baby llama, and for healing:
Turtle Unlike other mobs, Turtles do not have the babies immediately, instead they lay eggs that take a few days to hatch. In Java Edition, they do not follow players in Creative mode holding their breeding item unlike other mobs.[2]
Panda To breed requires 8 bamboo at radius of 5 blocks.
Fox The baby fox always trusts the player and does not run away when approached.
Bee All one-block-tall and two-block-tall flowers will work.

Villagers[edit]

A group of villager children "playing tag."

Villagers do not breed automatically when given food. Villager breeding depends on both the number of valid doors or beds in the area (see the village page for full details), as well as whether the villagers are "willing." A villager may become willing if they have 3 bread, 12 carrots, 12 potatoes, or 12 beetroots in their inventory. They may also become willing as a result of trading with a player. When they breed, they produce a smaller villager of a random type, independent of the types of the parents. Unlike many baby animals, baby villagers do not have big heads in Java Edition. Baby villagers run around the village, and can "play" tag. A baby villager killed by a zombie may produce a baby zombie villager, depending on difficulty.

Breeding formula[edit]

A player may want to know the number of mobs required in a farm to reach a certain goal, for example: to make a full-powered enchanting table with bookshelves (46 leather needed) or for full leather armor (24 leather), in case the player has a cow farm. There is a formula to calculate how many mobs needed to have in a farm, by the starting number and if the player waits until all the mobs become mature (this does not apply to villagers):

Xn+1 = Xn + floor(Xn/2) where Xn is the number of mobs at generation n.

Alternatively, if the player starts with X0 mobs and want to reach a population of at least N, it can be achieved in ceil(log(N/X0)/log(3/2)) generations.

Baby animals[edit]

An example of how a bred sheep inherits a mixture of its parents' colors when possible.

Baby animals are smaller variations of their parents, having small bodies, relatively big heads, higher pitched sounds, and faster walking speeds. Lambs cannot be sheared for their wool, chicks do not lay eggs, and calves and mooshroom calves cannot be milked. Baby animals follow one of their parents (within 8 blocks) until they grow up (if the parent dies or there is none, they pick a nearby adult of their kind). Tame puppies and kittens follow their owner if the parent is absent or sitting, and puppies attack aggressive mobs just as a mature dog would. They do not drop loot or experience if killed (excluding baby zombies and baby zombie pigmen).

When lambs are born, they usually inherit color of one of their parents, chosen at random. However if the parents have "compatible" colors (meaning that their corresponding dye items could be combined into a third dye), the lamb inherits a mix of the parents' colors (see Dye). This holds true even if one or both of the parents have just been sheared before breeding and have not yet grown their coats back. In Bedrock Edition, however, lambs do not inherit combined colors of their parents.

Baby animals can be manually spawned by using spawn eggs on a grown animal. This does not work on zombies or variants.

Baby animals may also be spawned using the /summon command with a negative Age tag; for example, using /summon sheep ~ ~ ~ {Age:-100} spawns a baby sheep at the player's position, that matures in 100 ticks. For zombies, the IsBaby:1 tag is used instead.

Achievements[edit]

Icon Achievement In-game description Actual requirements (if different) Availability Xbox points earned Trophy type (PS)
Xbox PS Bedrock Nintendo
RepopulationBreed two cows with wheatBreed two cows or two mooshrooms.YesYesYesYes15GBronze
ZoologistBreed two Pandas with bamboo.NoPS4YesNo40GGold

Advancements[edit]

Icon Advancement In-game description Parent Actual requirements (if different) Namespaced ID
Advancement-plain-raw.png The Parrots and the BatsBreed two animals togetherHusbandryhusbandry/breed_an_animal
Advancement-fancy-raw.png Two by TwoBreed all the animals!The Parrots and the BatsBreed pairs of each of these 15 mobs: Bee, Cat, Chicken, Cow, Fox, Horse, Llama, Mooshroom, Ocelot, Panda, Pig, Rabbit, Sheep, Turtle, Wolf. Note: a trader llama does not count as a llama. Other breedable mobs, if any, are ignored for the advancement.husbandry/bred_all_animals

History[edit]

Java Edition
1.0.0September 9, 2011Jeb tweets that animal breeding is pushed to 1.9.
September 25, 2011Notch also tweets an image of dozens of sheep crowded together, saying "They won't stop breeding!!!"
Beta 1.9 Prerelease 2Introduced breeding. Animals could breed instantly, without any "cooldown".
No baby animals yet; all animals were born fully-grown.
All sheep were born with white wool, irrespective of their parentage.
October 3, 2011Notch tweets the first image of a baby cow and baby pig.
Beta 1.9 Prerelease 3Baby animals added for pigs, sheep, chickens, cows, and mooshrooms.
Animals now enter "love mode" when fed with wheat.
Interestingly, snow golems could also enter love mode before this update.
Beta 1.9 Prerelease 6Baby sheep can now be either of their parents' colors, even if they were dyed.
1.2.112w03aWolves can now be bred with any type of meat.
12w04aCats (tamed ocelots) can now be bred with raw fish.
12w08aBaby villagers and kittens are now the only baby mobs that have a head the right size for the body.
1.3.112w22aBreeding now give experience.
1.4.212w32aZombies that infect baby villagers now create baby zombie villagers, which are faster than normal zombies, do not age, and survive in sunlight.
12w36aPigs are now responsive to carrots, chickens to seeds, with cows and sheep still breeding with wheat.
1.6.113w16aAdded horses, donkeys, and mules, all of which can breed to produce foals.
1.6.2preBaby zombies and baby zombie pigmen now spawn naturally among regular ones.
1.814w02aBaby mobs can now be grown faster by being fed. Each feeding reduces the remaining time to maturity by 10%, having no effect if only 9 seconds remain. 28 feedings reduce the remaining time to around a minute, from the initial time of 20 minutes. In addition, baby sheep reach maturity one minute sooner for every time they consume grass.
January 27, 2014Dinnerbone tweets an image of many cows, presumably testing the breeding system.
14w26cWheat's acceleration of baby horse growth has now been reduced.
14w27aAdded rabbits, which can be bred to produce baby rabbits.
pre1Chickens can now no longer be bred using melon seeds, pumpkin seeds or nether wart.
1.915w31aChickens now use melon seeds, pumpkin seeds and beetroot seeds to breed, in addition to wheat seeds.
15w35aBaby zombie villagers now retain their profession.
15w46aBaby rabbits are now smaller.
1.1016w20aAdded polar bears and cubs. Unlike other mobs, polar bears attack any player, if a cub is nearby.
Added husks, including their baby form.
1.1116w39aAdded llamas and baby llamas.
1.1318w07aAdded turtles and baby turtles.
18w10dBaby zombies now burn in daylight.
1.1418w43aAdded pandas and baby pandas.
18w44aCats and ocelots have now been split into their own mobs, thus cats are now no longer tamed ocelots.
Added seven more cat textures and their kitten variants.
19w07aAdded foxes and baby foxes.
1.1519w34aAdded bees and baby bees.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.6.0Introduced baby animals. Breeding has not been added yet. Babies naturally spawn.
0.8.0?Introduced breeding.
0.11.0build 11Mobs must be touching to breed (previously they could breed with any mob in an 8 block radius, regardless of obstruction).
Added baby zombies.
0.12.1build 1Villagers can now breed.
Breeding is now done through a Feed button.
Added baby zombie villagers.
Added baby ocelots and tamed kittens.
0.13.0build 1Added rabbits, which can be bred to produce baby rabbits.
0.14.0build 1Baby zombies now have 15% chance to mount mobs.
0.15.0build 1Added husks, including their baby form.
Added horses, donkeys, and mules, all of which can breed to produce foals.
Added zombie horses and skeleton horses, which include foal variants.
Pocket Edition
1.0.0alpha 0.17.0.1Added polar bears and cubs. Unlike other mobs, polar bears attack any player if a cub is nearby.
1.1.0alpha 1.1.0.0Added llamas and baby llamas.
Bedrock Edition
1.4.0beta 1.2.13.8Added drowned and their baby variants.
beta 1.2.20.1Added dolphins, which can be bred to produce baby dolphins.
Baby zombies now burn in daylight.
1.5.0beta 1.5.0.0Baby zombies now sink underwater.
Feeding dolphins raw fish no longer breed them; baby dolphins now spawn naturally.
beta 1.5.0.4Added turtles and baby turtles.
1.8.0beta 1.8.0.8Added pandas and baby pandas.
Feeding ocelots now breed them, instead of taming them.
Feeding a baby ocelot raw fish now increase its growth speed, instead of taming it.
1.13.0beta 1.13.0.1Added foxes and baby foxes.
1.14.0beta 1.14.0.1Added bees and baby bees.
Legacy Console Edition
TU7CU11.0Patch 1Added breeding.
TU11Added a message when the player tries to breed an animal when the spawn limits have been reached.
TU12Added baby villagers.
TU141.04Baby mobs can now be spawned by using Left trigger on an adult form of that mob using a spawn egg.

Issues[edit]

Issues relating to "Breeding" are maintained on the bug tracker. Report issues there.

Trivia[edit]

  • Any two animals of the same species are able to breed with each other, even if one animal is the parent of the other.
  • There are baby squids and baby dolphins in Bedrock Edition, even though they cannot be bred by the player.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]