Tutorials/Village mechanics

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Description: Village mechanics changed in the Java Edition 1.14 and Bedrock Edition 1.11.0
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This page describes mechanics relating to villages and villagers.

Village definition[edit]

A village is defined by several factors: the village gathering sites, radius, number of job sites, number of houses, population (number of villagers), population cap (max. number of villagers, based on housing and beds), cat population, and Iron Golems. Players can use these mechanics to build artificial villages.


A village needs at least one house and at least one villager in order to be a "village". A "house" is a bed. A village tries to maintain its population at 100% of the number of houses if there are at least two villagers.

Gathering site[edit]

The village gathering site is the gathering point of village (even when not located in the middle of the village), defined by claimed bells near claimed beds. When a bell is claimed, green particles appear above the bell. Once the bell is claimed, it is registered as a gathering site. The gathering sites are where the villagers spend their mingling time during the day. If a player is in a village, a wandering trader can spawn at the gathering site. Iron golems spawn near gathering sites when villagers gossip about iron golems while mingling.

The bell must be within the village boundary to be considered the centerpiece of the village, so it needs at least 1 villager and 1 bed. If only villagers and a bell are present without beds, the villagers search for unclaimed beds rather than mingle.

During a raid, in Java Edition a villager goes to gathering sites and rings the bell to warn other villagers. In Bedrock Edition the bell rings automatically.

Adding a bell in a different location, but still near claimed beds, establishes a new gathering site. Villagers split their crowd into different clusters, one for each gathering site. A villager remembers its gathering site and pathfinds toward it during mingling time, even if another gathering site is closer.


The village size is a rectangle 32 blocks from the village center, or 32 blocks from points of interest away from the center. A point of interest is any bed, bell, or job site block. The village center is typically the northwest corner of the village bell, or one of the claimed beds if there is no bell. The smallest rectangular size is 64×64 blocks.


A "house" is defined as a claimed bed. Claimed beds are beds with at least one villager, however if the bed is obstructed by a solid block, villagers being unable to pathfind to the bed causes them to fail claiming the bed by showing anger particles over the villager's head and on top of the bed (losing ownership of the bed, but villagers will try to re-claim it). If a villager succeeds in sleeping in an obstructed bed, the villager suffocates and likely dies, causing the bed to become unclaimed.

Once a villager has claimed a bed, the claimed bed is registered as a house in the village and the villager remembers the position of the claimed bed, even when underground. In the evening, villagers return to their houses (beds); however, a villager who cannot reach their bed loses ownership of the bed, allowing other villagers to claim it. The previous bed owner then forgets the house location and searches for another unclaimed bed.

Job site[edit]

Naturally spawned villagers start as unemployed, but can also spawn as a nitwit. They change their profession by seeking for an unclaimed job site block.

Naturally generated villages consist of two main buildings: a house (any building with beds) and a job site (a building with job site blocks). No villagers spawn in the job site building. If a naturally generated village consists of only job site buildings, then no villagers can spawn, and the structures are not registered as a village.

Employed villagers spend their time working at their job site block, starting in the morning. Unemployed villagers, nitwits, and baby villagers have no job site. Just like claimed beds, once a villager chooses a job site block, the villager remembers its position. They work at morning and at afternoon after mingling at the gathering site.

Transporting villagers[edit]

Minecart technique[edit]

The first technique is the minecart technique, which involves building a minecart track from the village to the end destination. Push the villagers one by one into a cart and push the cart to the destination.

Water tunnel technique[edit]

The second is more tedious but requires fewer resources. Create a tunnel from one location to another, with no exits along the way (2×2, for example), then grab two water buckets. Use water to push them down the path a few blocks, then use the second bucket to push them further, grab the first water, and repeat.

Another possible technique requires ice. Place a water source block and allow it to flow over several empty blocks at the same level. Place an ice block topped with a pressure Plate or sign under the last block of flowing water. Repeat the process until the path reaches the intended destination. (This works best when buried underground and well lit to keep mobs from killing villagers in transit. Otherwise, the villagers need a wall around the path.) To move them upwards, create a soul sand bubble column and lift the villagers to the destination.

Boat technique[edit]

A third technique is to transport villagers using a boat. Mobs may enter boats, and players can enter the same boat and operate it while the mob sits in the back. This allows players to transport villagers over water (also over land, albeit very slowly). Boats can move upward by using a piston to travel up one block or create a bubble column to travel up multiple levels. Alternatively, players can use two boats - by parking the first boat next to the "step" and the second boat on top of the step, and breaking the first boat (carefully so as to not hurt the villager), the villager will go directly from the first boat to the second.

Players in Bedrock Edition can move villagers upwards by attaching a lead to the boat and pulling it up.

Nether portal technique[edit]

The final and potentially least tedious method of transporting villagers is the "Nether portal method". Most entities, including villagers, can travel through Nether portals. Keep in mind that this strategy involves more complications if Nether portals have already been constructed in the Nether (see here for more details). Create a portal in the destination, enter Nether through that portal, and immediately return to the Overworld. Then travel to the nearest village (it must be within 1024 meters of the first portal) and build another portal there. Villagers can enter the portal by minecart or getting manually pushed. (pushing villagers in is easier if the portal's bottom blocks are level to the ground) Enter the portal and push the villagers out of the portal in the Nether, then wait about 30 seconds. After the villagers undergo "cooldown", they can be pushed back through the portal and should exit from the first portal.

After reaching the destination, they may accidentally reenter the portal, so it is a good idea to surround the portal it with a fence or build the portal 2 meters above the ground.

Breeding and population cap[edit]

Villagers breed without player intervention, but there must be at least two adult villagers who can reach each other. If you are starting a village from scratch, or recovering from zombie villagers and there are no villagers left (or only one), then you need to acquire more, using one of these methods:

  • Hauling them in from another village, possibly using a method in the above section
  • Bringing them up from an igloo basement
  • Curing zombie villagers
  • Using commands or spawn eggs

Villagers go into love mode (indicated by red heart particles above both their heads) if they have enough food to make themselves and their partner willing. They enter love mode based on their amount of food, not the population cap (based on the number of beds), but can produce a baby only if they have their own beds plus an available bed for the baby, and the beds have two empty blocks above them (there needs to be room for the baby to jump on the bed). If the population cap is met, or the beds are obstructed, angry particles appear above their heads (along with the heart particles), preventing them from mating. Much like with farm animals, when two villagers are in love mode and can see each other, they pathfind towards the other and stare for a few seconds, after which a baby villager spawns next to them. Breeding villagers does not drop experience. This new villager wears clothing dependent on the biome the village is in. It acquires a job after it has grown up and there is a valid, unclaimed job site.


Villagers must be "willing" in order to breed.

Villagers can become willing if the player trades with them. Willingness is granted the first time a new offer is traded, or at a one-in-five chance on subsequent trades. This does not cause them to immediately seek out a mate, however.

Villagers can also become willing by having either 3 bread, 12 carrots, 12 potatoes, or 12 beetroots in their inventory. Farmer villagers occasionally throw harvested crops at villagers, allowing them to pick them up to obtain enough food to become willing.

Curing zombie villagers[edit]

Players can cure zombie villagers by using a golden apple on them while they are affected by weakness. Players can usually apply weakness by brewing potions. In Nether-disabled servers, a witch and a zombie villager are needed. Witches sometimes throw a splash potion of weakness (if a player is within 3 meters), which you can use to your advantage.

After the player uses the splash potion of weakness and the golden apple, the zombie makes a loud sizzling sound, emits orange swirly particles, and shakes. During the conversion time (up to 5 minutes), they still behave as zombies, so they should be protected from sunlight and kept away from nearby villagers. After a few minutes, they turn into regular villagers.

5% of zombies are zombie villagers, so it shouldn't take you too long to find two that you can cure. Additionally, when a villager is attacked by a zombie (any zombie) they have a chance (50% on normal difficulty, and 100% on hard) of turning into a zombie villager instead of just being killed. Zombie villagers are a great way to start an artificial village, because unlike villagers, zombie villagers follow the player long distances. Then when they arrive at the desired location, they can be cured.


A player's popularity starts at zero and ranges between −30 and 30. The following can alter a player's popularity:

Popularity of Actions
Action Popularity Change
Hero of the Village +10
Upgrading a villager to Expert/Master +4
Upgrading a villager to Journeyman +3
Upgrading a villager to Apprentice +2
Trading with a villager for the last offer slot on their list +1
Attacking a villager −1
Killing a villager −2
Attacking a villager child −3
Killing a villager child −5
Killing a village's iron golem −5

A player's popularity does not reset on death, and players cannot alter other players' popularity. Popularity is stored per village; a player may have a high popularity in one village and a very low one in another. When a player acts directly on a villager, particles around that villager indicate the change in popularity. Conversely, because popularity is stored per village, if the entire village is destroyed, any accumulated popularity, positive or negative, is also eliminated.

If a player has -15 popularity or less, the village's naturally-spawned iron golems act hostile to that player until the player's popularity is increased by trading. Golems constructed by the player, however, are always passive toward the player.

Village defenses[edit]

This section is very important, particularly if you live in a village (This is the section for naturally, non player-built villages.)

Note: this is less of a problem as of Java Edition 1.14, but your village will still be very vulnerable to being wiped out unless you establish proper defenses. Non defended villages are an epidemic and the reason villages are wiped out, leaving you without a place to trade, so please take time to read this section.

As stated above, you need to set up defenses if you want your village to survive. While time-consuming, the reward is a protected village with villagers which unless in extremely unusual and unlikely circumstances, will be forever. The first thing to do is block as many villagers in their houses as possible (make sure the houses are lit up). This is to protect the villagers while building the next (and most time consuming) stage of defenses. Make sure at least five villagers, (with a minimum one farmer, and all preferably non-nitwits) are locked in. The reason for this is your village needs at least five villagers to spawn iron golems, and at least two for breeding.

The next step is building a wall. You will need to mine the material for the wall and then build the wall. Make sure the wall is at least 4 blocks high, so skeletons cannot snipe you and iron golems, and so that zombies cannot enter using elevated terrain. Use fence gates to get in and out of the village once it is enclosed by the wall (villagers cannot open fence gates), as villagers may wander into dangerous areas outside of the enclosed village. You should not include some structures inside the wall enclosure for several reasons; this vital stage of the defenses tends to keep out a majority of mobs once completed, and thus should be completed as quickly as possible, and that some village structures may generate on erratic and elevated terrain, making it not worth it to incorporate them (unless it is an artificial village).

Now that you have completed the wall, the majority of the work is done (unless there is erratic terrain inside the enclosure). Next, make sure there are no places villagers can get stuck/no dangerous places inside the enclosure. This includes lakes/rivers, lava lakes (most important), caves, and two or more block holes/4 or more block drops. (note: iron golems, in particular, get stuck in water very easily) This is so villagers are not accidentally damaged, and because stuck villagers are especially vulnerable to zombies. After that count the beds in the enclosed village (including those in houses with villagers locked inside), and ensure there are at least ten (there need to be ten beds for iron golems to spawn) and that there is a bell inside the enclosure. (the bell is where the iron golem spawns) If there is no bell, then there probably is one around the outside structures, as villages generate with at least one bell.

The last essential steps are very easy. First, ensure the village is well-lit at night to minimize (not completely stop) monster spawning. Finally go and let the villagers out of their houses. These are the essential steps. Rest assured that your village is safe now (NOTE: your village still may get wiped out, but the chances of that are essentially nonexistent unless there is a player who wants to destroy your village. If that is the case, the only essential step that will help is the iron golem.)

You may add additional defenses, such as archer towers, redstone traps and the like, although these will only be generally useful during a pillager raid. (And the wall will keep the illagers from getting in.)

Another defense would be to dig a moat around the village and cover the outside edge in trapdoors, this meaning that any zombies or pillagers that come near the village will fall in.

Artificial village defenses[edit]

This is very similar to building defenses for naturally generating villages, but has its own section for clarity.

Artificial villages can be attacked by zombie sieges and pillager raids too, so you need to establish defenses for them as well, and you can do it before bringing the first villagers there! (Note: If you already have an artificial village populated with villagers, refer to regular village defenses).

First, you need to build a wall around the area where you plan to build the artificial village. As the player selects the terrain, and there is no rush, you may incorporate erratic terrain to your liking, but make sure safety accommodations are made for the villagers including lakes/rivers, lava lakes (most important), caves, and two block or more holes/4 or more block drops. Also make sure to use fence gates to get in and out of the walled area.

Next, you need to light up the area inside the village to minimize hostile mob spawning at night. After that, make sure that you placed at least one bell, making sure it has a considerable distance from the wall. After this make sure there are at least 10 beds inside the wall (It is advised to move the beds inside houses with doors later if they are not already).

Next it is time to bring in the villagers. Make sure there are at least two, and that you have spawned an iron golem inside. Next, do some rapid breeding (or bring in more villagers) until there are at least five villagers (more if the enclosure is more than 80 blocks long or wide or tall (only include tall if you use the air for a multi level village)).

After that, you can build the village to your heart's desire, but make sure that additional areas are also walled, and don't tear down the pre-existing wall until the new walls are up and the new area is well lit.


The number of cats spawned in a village is based on the number of beds in that village. Cats require only one villager, and one cat can spawn for every four beds. The beds don't need to be claimed. Up to 40 beds can be present for a max of 10 cats, and cats respawn based on the number of beds.

If there are two villages, each already with 10 cats, merging the villages into single village does not cause any cats to despawn. However, the number of cats is still capped at 10, so no new cats spawn until the number of cats is below 10.

Cats can be made by the player to run out of the village, thus allowing for more cats to spawn.

Iron golems[edit]

Iron golems always spawn at the meeting point in naturally generating villages. However iron golems can also spawn from villagers who meet near the meeting point later on.

Zombie sieges[edit]

At midnight, there is a 10% chance that a zombie siege might occur. This is when a large number of zombies spawn in or near a village, attacking what villagers they can reach, crowding around and pounding on the doors of those they can't. On hard or hardcore mode, they can actually break down the wooden doors (this is true of all zombies, not just during sieges.) A zombie siege requires a village of at least 20 villagers and at least 10 beds.

Zombies in sieges ignore the 24-block minimum distance from the player, but other than that, behave absolutely normal (i.e., they do not spawn on glowstone or any other transparent or half block, need a 2×1×1 minimum space, etc.). They can also spawn INSIDE doors, making iron golem farms difficult to build on hard, as zombies beat down doors on hard (they'll attempt to beat them down on other difficulties, but not succeed). However, zombies won't spawn 128 blocks away from you, even though the siege is technically happening in the game code, so you're safe if you build it high up. You can make houses virtually zombie-proof simply by taking out one ground block from directly in front of the door, and, if necessary, rehanging the door such that the outside is "smooth," i.e. the door's position on its ground block runs consistent with the outside wall. This is because zombies can break only the top half of a door, and if they have to jump, they cannot get through. In addition, you can fill the hole with two layers of carpet to achieve the same effect as zombies will not pathfind into the door.


When a player with the 'Bad Omen' debuff enters a village, the Bad Omen effect disappears and a raid occurs. Raids are groups of illagers (pillagers, vindicators, evokers, ravagers, and witches) attacking the village with the intent of killing villagers. You can remove the 'Bad Omen' debuff by drinking milk before entering a village to prevent raids; however, you can also defend a village from a raid, at which point you gain the 'Hero of the Village' buff. This causes villagers to give you steep discounts during trading, as well as bestow various gifts upon you.‌[Java Edition only]