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It seems that animal mobs (sheeps, cows, pigs) are trying to break out of my fence instead of going in the middle and moving around. This makes it really frustrating when trying to mate the animals because they break out right when I open the fence gate. Is there a way that I can keep them from scrunching up on the side of the fence and frustrating me, or is this something I'll have to deal with?

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Does this still happen when you are not holding wheat? – murgatroid99 May 26 '12 at 20:39
Yes, they seem attracted to my house and the wilderness. Like The Call of the Wild. – parion May 26 '12 at 20:41
How big is your fenced of area? – cedi May 26 '12 at 21:08
It is pretty big, I'd say 16*12 blocks – parion May 27 '12 at 1:46
up vote 9 down vote accepted

There are only a handful of things that can compel a passive mob to move in a specific direction:

  • Light, so if your pen is dark they may be moving towards lighter areas.
  • Grass, so if your pen floor only has dirt or stone they may be moving towards "greener pastures". This could easily happen with sheep, since they eat the grass and it needs time to grow back.
  • Wheat, so if you're holding wheat you need to switch to another item to safely get in your pen gate.
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Yes, I understand. But when I walk up to them with, let's say a sword, in my hand, they still attempt to break out of the fence. – parion May 26 '12 at 20:48
@parioscreations: Updated my answer. Hope it's more helpful now. ;) – gnovice May 26 '12 at 21:54
The ground is snow... Ok, I'll see what I can do. Thanks! – parion May 27 '12 at 1:46
@parioscreations: If you put some torches on your fence, it should melt nearby snow as well as supplying light. – gnovice May 27 '12 at 2:28

I put in multiple gates on different sides of the fence, the farm animals never block all of them. try putting in gates on every side of the fenced in area and going through the least crowded one

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Yes, the "airlock" gate design is very effective. – SevenSidedDie May 5 '13 at 17:26

As mentioned above, putting a light source in the center of the pen will attract them and keep them away from the edges. Alternatively, you can remove your gate, and replace that section of the fence with wood blocks however high your pen is. You can then put ladder on the inside and outside of those blocks, so you can climb in and out, but the animals are permanently trapped.

Side note: I have left the gate on my pen, and placed the blocks with ladders NEXT to the gate. This is useful because it means you still have a gate in the event that you accidentally kill one of your animal species down to a population of 1 and they can't mate, leaving you with no other choice but to lure in more of that animal.

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Animals will climb ladders. They won't try to path to them, but if their random wandering pushes them against a ladder, they'll go up it. A cow got on my roof this way; scared the hell out of me. – SevenSidedDie May 5 '13 at 17:25

I heard knocking out a section of the fence and replacing it with nether brick fence instead of fence gate makes it so you can pass through but animals cant. please note ive never tried this myself so it may not work. horses cant pass through gates, theyre not programmed to pass through gates yet, so dont worry about them.

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