I would like to set up some way of autmatically farming wool from sheep in Minecraft. I have a farm, but unfortunately, sheep do not shed wool when they die. So all I get is leather, feathers and eggs. There was a suggestion involving pressure plates, dispensers and snowballs, but there is no more snow in beta. Does anyone know if sheep shed wool when they are damaged by cacti?

Any other suggestion on how to pull this off?

[I know that farming spiders is an alternative. But I would really prefer to use sheep.]

Does anyone know how far away you may walk from a mob before it despawns?

  • 4
    You could probably use arrows instead of snowballs. Since sheep don't regrow their wool once they are shorn, it hardly matters if you kill them. Feb 6, 2011 at 14:24
  • Eggs work too, I believe. Feb 6, 2011 at 16:36
  • "No more snow in beta". When did that happen? A world I created about a week ago still had snow.
    – user4040
    Mar 16, 2011 at 2:50
  • 1
    @user4040 he mean it doesn't snow in beta, so snow is a finite substance, this makes collecting lots of snow difficult.
    – Ronan
    Mar 16, 2011 at 8:09
  • 3
    Well, since 2011-04-19, Beta 1.5 has weather, and thus we have both rain and snow again: notch.tumblr.com/post/4746701552/… Apr 25, 2011 at 2:34

5 Answers 5


Here's an elaborate solution involving trapping a skeleton that appears to work well. It seems that this setup could easily be changed to use a snowball/arrow dispenser instead of a skeleton, however the business of keeping it fueled, and firing at the right time would be an issue.


The only way to shear a sheep "automatically" is to confine (wild) wolves and sheep in an enclosed area. I'm working on a bubble in which all animals fall into, then depending on their size and shape are sorted then slaughtered.

I will have a glass dome with a 1x1 hole in the bottom and water leading to the hole. Wolves naturally occur in my spawning grounds, and fall in with the others. Wolves shear the sheep, wool falls down the hole to a collection point, at this time I don't really care about the wolves so they oddly enough filter through the pig separator and end up in my collection point. Then the other animals are sorted then killed for their drops.

(based on Ethos design)

  • 6
    I'd love to see some plans for this, or a video.
    – fredley
    May 8, 2011 at 0:04

AFAIK, the only way to automatically shear a sheep is to have a skeleton shoot it. Etho has a video briefly explaining how that would work. Basically, you need to have two skeletons, stand in the middle of them so they start to shoot each other, and then place a sheep between the two, using water streams and stuff. I'd guess it's pretty complicated.


In recent versions of Minecraft, sheep drop wool only on death or when shears are used on them, meaning that the above answers will not work.

The only way to automatically and nonlethally farm wool from sheep is to place them next to a dispenser containing shears. When the dispenser is activated, it will then shear the sheep, producing wool.


You can get a mob spawner with sheep in it, spawn some wolves, and add a minecart with a hopper running under the grass (yes, grass/dirt is required). You can use this command to make the spawner bring in the sheep.

/setblock ~ ~ ~ mob_spawner 0 replace {SpawnCount:10,MaxNearbyEntities:50,SpawnRange:3,Delay:20,MinSpawnDelay:20,MaxSpawnDelay:100,RequiredPlayerRange:50,SpawnData:{id:Sheep,Health:1,Attributes:[{Name:"generic.movementSpeed",Base:0f}]}}

It will spawn many sheep within 3 blocks. You can always change some of the command if you need to. Here is a picture of what it can look like. Of course you can always make it bigger to get a better result.Minecart putting items in hopper connecting to chest.

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