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Is there any way to automatically pick out adult animals (most preferably cows, but if you have info on other species, please share too) from the baby ones?

Specifically, keep the baby animals away while picking out adult ones for automated butchering.

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1  
The poor animals ;.; –  Nathan C Jun 28 '13 at 11:37
    
Is this Feed the Beast? –  legacy Jun 28 '13 at 11:56
8  
@legacy: No, Feed the Steve. ;) (vanilla) –  SF. Jun 28 '13 at 12:07

4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

No redstone, no minecarts... Through 5 minutes of item testing I found that adult animals can fall through a 1x1 hole. There is one item (maybe more, haven't tested them all) that works. Here's how you do it: on the floor of your breeding area, replace some of the floor with open trapdoors, with a room under it.

View from the top:
d = dirt    t = trapdoor

dddddddddd
dttttttttd
dtddddddtd
dtdtttttdtd
dtdtdddtdtd
dtdtdtdtdtd               
dtdtdddtdtd
dtdtttttdtd
dtdddddddtd
dtttttttttd
ddddddddddd 

P.S. closing the trapdoors allows you to expand your population of adult animals without have to force fully grown animals into the pen.

EDIT: I took some pictures.

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here Once I figure out how to make youtube videos i might make an actual tutorial for this and many other of my creations.

Another Edit: I spent another 2 hours thinking how to make the kill machine better. I rewired it so you hit a button to get the cooked meat. After I wire it to have a button for raw meat instead of a switch I might post a new picture.

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3  
Isn't this just the same as the top answer? –  SevenSidedDie Aug 27 '13 at 1:28
    
no it isn't. the top one uses just 1 block hole. the empty space between an open trap door and the next block is <1 a baby animal is small enough to fit but an adult is not. this mean that adults cannot be knocked into the hole by other animals( or players) the original design on here they can be pushed in –  jonny909190 Aug 27 '13 at 2:22
    
The top answer suggests using trapdoors to do the same <1 block hole trick. (Check the blockquoted text.) They're just not in the screenshots. –  SevenSidedDie Aug 27 '13 at 3:30
1  
The text is ambiguous in that matter making the trapdoor sound optional. The image does away with them. I found though that cows do fit in 1-wide hole without trapdoor. –  SF. Aug 27 '13 at 5:55
    
yes, in order for this to work you have to use trapdoors. all adult animals that i have tested will fall through 1x1 square if pushed. the original idea posted here used the fact that animals don't want to fall. using trap doors acts like using signs, meaning that mobs will see it as a solid block and willingly step on it. also without trap doors there is still a chance adults will be pushed in even when trying not to be. with trap doors the chance of such a thing happening is 0. –  jonny909190 Aug 27 '13 at 21:46

On the minecraft wiki i found a statement that may be of use to you. I dont know if its still of any use or if it has been changed but its worth a try.

Dig holes. Dig a hole outside of the farm, at least 3 blocks deep (two for the tunnel, one for the ceiling). Place ladders as needed. Tunnel under the fence, and dig up under the farm. Place more ladders. Since Pigs, Cows, and Sheep are more than one block wide, they will not fit in the hole resulting in them running in circles trying to get in the hole. However, baby animals and Chickens can fit in a one block hole, so you may want to place a trapdoor at the top. In version 12w34a and later, the trapdoor can be placed in the top block of the hole; in older versions, making it level with the farm requires putting an extra block inside the farm to attach it to (don't put it within two blocks of the fence). Of course, the tunnel can also lead to somewhere more distant....

Source

Your farming floor would look something like this.

X X X X X X X X X X X
X B H B H B H B H B X
X H B H B H B H B H X
X B H B H B H B H B X 
X H B H B H B H B H X
X B H B H B H B H B X
X H B H B H B H B H X
X X X X X X X X X X X

X = fancy fencing of some sort.
B = Block or the floor of your pen.
H = Hole in the floor (at least 3 deep)

Then under that layer you would place a water slide to another pen where the young animals can age for slaughter (or more amusing ways of entertainment).

I will try this when i get home and ill maybe even post some screenshots or upload a video for you.

EDIT


here are the screenshot i promised.

the floor where all the mature cows are starting. Note that there is water flowing underneath the holes.


enter image description here


enter image description here


to describe the above images. The holes in the floor allow for the baby cows (calves) to fall in the water and to flow to the gathering area. The mature cows stay on top and are there to be fed.

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1  
I've always been able to push animals into 1x1 holes, so I think this might be wrong. (can't check till tonight though) –  legacy Jun 28 '13 at 13:53
1  
Chickens, dogs, and cats are not mentioned in your wiki quote so they would theoretically fall in. –  Batophobia Jun 28 '13 at 14:45
    
@legacy Yep, animals all fit into 1-block holes. I suspect that this might still keep the adults topside because the "spinning" AI behaviour and ladders will make it extremely unlikely for them to fall, but I'm curious if baby animals don't just do the same. –  SevenSidedDie Jun 28 '13 at 16:44
1  
this is true but i covered the question specific target which were the cows. Cow adults cant fall through 1x1 holes while calves can. –  Marco Geertsma Jun 28 '13 at 17:23
    
But how would you sort the adults from the children once they drop into the collection area? –  Jeffrey Lin Jun 28 '13 at 17:32

You could use the MineFactory Reloaded mod to do this. A Breeder sends carrots, wheat, seeds, etc. to animals in a pen. A Chronotyper would separate the baby animals from the adults, and a second Chronotyper would separate them again after they've grown. A Grinder could be used to kill them, with drops transported using conveyor belts and hoppers from vanilla Minecraft. The Mob Essence from the Grinder can be used in a Spawner to spawn more adult animals from a safari net, which can be killed.


The Feeding Station from RailCraft could also get you a lot of cows with a stack of wheat.


A tier 5 soul shard from the Soul Shards mod spawns adult animals whenever ther is no redstone pulse, so you could use that to your advantage.

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This is easily the best solution using mods, but the question is about Vanilla. –  Coronus Jun 28 '13 at 16:35
3  
@Coronus Aye, but vanilla can have mods added. ;) Unless the asker forbids mod solutions, this is going to be useful to know for someone. –  SevenSidedDie Jun 28 '13 at 16:40

An alternative approach, is to change how you do breeding. For instance, if you have the two adults in mine carts, their offspring drops off away from the mine carts keeping the separation.

Another way, since babies take 10 minutes (IIRC) to mature, after breeding, start a 10 minute timer, and have your automatic butcher system only butcher some of the animals.

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