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Two villagers breeding.
A baby wolf with its parents.

Breeding is a game mechanic that allows mobs of the same species to breed with each other to produce offspring.


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, or when attacked. 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]

Feed graphic for baby animals (in German).

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 1–7. They cannot enter love mode again for 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, except for horses and llamas where different breeding items speed up the growth by different amounts.

The growth from a young animal to a fully grown animal can be significantly accelerated if the young animal is given the food necessary for breeding. Then the same green sparkling particles appear around the young animal that are also seen when using bone meal in agriculture. A single feeding reduces the time a young animal still needs to grow out by 10%. If you feed a newly born young animal once, it will be fully grown in 18 minutes instead of 20 minutes. If you feed it a second time, 10% of the remaining time will be deducted, the young animal will then be grown up in 16 minutes and 12 seconds. The less time is left, the less and less time is shortened. This makes it inefficient to feed a young animal until it is fully grown. You should only feed it a few times and just wait the rest of the time. If you want to feed a young animal, it should be fed exactly eight times. From the ninth time onwards, the time saved by one feed unit is less than a minute.

Breeding foods[edit]

Mob Items Other
The following can also be used for growing a baby horse or donkey, and for healing:
Sheep can grow faster if they eat grass.
Wolf (Tamed)
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 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 players.
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.[1]
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 work.
Hoglin Breeding hoglins with Warped fungi will not work, as hoglins are repelled by them.
Strider Crimson fungi do not work.


A group of villager children "playing tag."

Villagers do not breed automatically when given food. Villager breeding depends on both the number of valid 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. 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.

When using larger values of n, it may be easier to approximate the number of mobs using an exponential function to avoid doing too many recursive calculations:

F(n) = 1.622*e^0.4055n + 0.5051 where the input is the n-th generation and the output is the approximate number of mobs after breeding. Note that the constant e is Euler's number.

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 mobs[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, calves and mooshroom calves cannot be milked, and horses, mules, donkey foals, and piglets cannot be ridden. 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 zombified piglins).

When lambs are born, they usually inherit the 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 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 the combined colors of their parents.

Baby animals can be manually spawned by using spawn eggs on a grown animal. This also works 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 and piglins, the IsBaby:1 tag is used instead.


All of these mobs are considered animals, as all of them (excluding striders and Mooshrooms) are real life animals. None of these mobs are considered monsters, and all of these mobs can be created when its parents have entered love mode after being fed.


Any baby mob that counts towards the Monster Hunter, Monsters Hunted advancement is considered a monster and belongs here. Out of all these monsters, only hoglins can be bred, and can grow up into its adult form. The rest of these baby monsters will never grow up.


Villagers are produced from breeding, but do not count as animals or monsters. Undead horses are passive non-monsters and non-animals, and baby undead horses do not grow up.


Icon Achievement In-game description Actual requirements (if different) Gamerscore earned Trophy type (PS)
Repopulation.pngRepopulationBreed two cows with wheat.Breed two cows or two mooshrooms.15GBronze
Zoologist.pngZoologistBreed two pandas with bamboo.40GGold


Icon Advancement In-game description Parent Actual requirements (if different) Namespaced ID


The Parrots and the Bats
Breed two animals togetherHusbandryhusbandry/breed_an_animal


Two by Two
Breed all the animals!The Parrots and the BatsBreed pairs of each of these 19 mobs. A trader llama does not count as a llama, and a mule must be the result of breeding a horse and a donkey for this advancement as they are not breed-able together. Other breed-able mobs, if any, can be bred, but are ignored for this advancement.husbandry/bred_all_animals


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 cow calf and piglet.
Beta 1.9 Prerelease 3Added calves, mooshroom calves, lambs, piglets, and chicks.
Animals now enter "love mode" when fed with wheat.
Interestingly, snow golems could also enter love mode before this update.
Beta 1.9 Prerelease 6Lambs 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 to make puppies.
12w04aCats (tamed ocelots) can now be bred with raw fish for kittens.
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 villager children now create zombie villager children 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 except mules can breed to produce foals.
1.6.2preZombie and zombie pigmen children 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, lambs 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 foals growth has been reduced.
14w27aAdded rabbits, which can be bred to produce rabbit kits.
pre1Chickens can 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.
15w35aZombie villager children now retain their profession.
15w46akits are now smaller.
1.1016w20aAdded polar bears and cubs. Unlike other mobs, polar bears attack any player, if a cub is nearby.
Added husks and children.
1.1116w39aAdded llamas and crias.
1.1318w07aAdded turtles and turtle hatchlings.
18w10dZombie children now burn in daylight.
1.1418w43aAdded pandas and panda cubs.
18w44aCats and ocelots have been split into their own mobs, thus cats are no longer tamed ocelots.
Added seven more cat textures and their kitten variants.
19w07aAdded foxes and fox kits.
1.1519w34aAdded bees and bee larvae.
1.1620w06aAdded hoglins.
20w07aAdded hoglin piglets.
Added piglins and piglin children.
20w13aAdded striders and stridlings.
20w14aAdded zoglins and zoglin piglets.
Pocket Edition Alpha
v0.6.0Introduced baby animals. Breeding has not been added yet. Babies naturally spawn.
v0.8.0?Introduced breeding.
v0.11.0build 11Mobs must be touching to breed (previously they could breed with any mob in an 8 block radius, regardless of obstruction).
Added Zombie children.
v0.12.1build 1Villagers can now breed.
Breeding is now done through a Feed button.
Added zombie villager children.
Added ocelot kittens and tamed kittens.
v0.13.0build 1Added rabbits, which can be bred to produce kits.
v0.14.0build 1Baby zombies now have 15% chance to mount mobs.
v0.15.0build 1Added husks, including their baby form.
Added horses, donkeys, and mules, all of which can breed to produce foals (except mules).
Added zombie horses and skeleton horses, which include foal variants.
Pocket Edition
1.0.0alpha polar bears and cubs. Unlike other mobs, polar bears attack any player if a cub is nearby.
1.1.0alpha llamas and crias.
Bedrock Edition
1.4.0beta drowned and their child variants.
beta dolphins, which can be bred to produce dolphin calves.
Zombie children now burn in daylight.
1.5.0beta children now sink underwater.
Feeding dolphins raw fish no longer breed them; dolphin calves now spawn naturally.
beta turtles and turtle hatchling.
1.8.0beta pandas and their cubs.
Feeding ocelots now breed them, instead of taming them.
Feeding an ocelot kitten raw fish now increase its growth speed, instead of taming it.
1.13.0beta foxes and fox kits.
1.14.0beta bees and bee larvae.
1.16.0beta piglins and hoglin piglets.
Added piglins and their child counterparts.
beta zoglins and zoglin piglets.
Added striders and stridlists.
Upcoming Bedrock Edition
1.16.200beta goats and baby goats.
Legacy Console Edition
TU7CU1 1.0 Patch 1Added breeding.
TU11Added a message when the player tries to breed an animal when the spawn limits have been reached.
TU12Added Villager children.
TU14 1.04 Baby mobs can now be spawned by using Left trigger on an adult form of that mob using a spawn egg.


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


  • Any two adult animals of the same species can breed with each other, even if one animal is the parent of the other.
  • Baby squid and baby dolphins exist in Bedrock Edition, even though they cannot be bred by the player.


See also[edit]