I have created a complex base on a remote island hundreds of blocks from land. It's got everything I want/need except livestock like cows and sheep.

Is it possible to get livestock to spawn in this situation?

If I can't get livestock to spawn what is the easiest way to get livestock to a remote island?

The only idea I've come up with (that doesn't involve a several hundred block landbridge) is to link to Nether Portals via a cobblestone/ underground tunnel and herd the animals through the Nether from a plains/forest biome.

  • Chucks/Chickens are easy, at least. :P Check out gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/15207/… Herding sounds like the quicker option, unfortunately.
    – ZAD-Man
    Jul 29, 2015 at 20:46
  • If you're willing to turn on cheats for a bit, you could always use /summon Chicken, Cow, Pig, etc.
    – Nick B.
    Jul 30, 2015 at 4:38
  • The nether and minecarts. Remember you only need 2 to repopulate except chickens only need 1. The new activator rail mechanic makes it easier now imo.
    – ydobonebi
    Jul 30, 2015 at 7:37

3 Answers 3


here is a quick tutorial that will allow for spawning of animals if you are in the overworld/regular world!

  1. get lot's of dirt and create a 24-30 block long walkway (1 wide is fine) out to a spot away from your island.

  2. Make a 17 x 17 or larger square of dirt past the walkway you built. (More than 24 blocks away from your island)

  3. (Optional) To speed up the process, place some grass blocks instead of dirt if you have some.

  4. Wait for the grass to grow to the dirt blocks (Automatically), and when done, place torches around the grass to light it to a light level above 9.

  5. Once all grown and lit up, animals will spawn, but you must be 24 blocks or more away for them to spawn! There is a max capacity of 15 animals in the square, and they will try to spawn every 20 seconds or so.

NOTE: Make sure the animals have 2 or more blocks of space above the grass to spawn!

Hope I could help,


  • Thanks @Nick - I'll try this out tonight. Just to check - if I build a 17x17 grass block on my island (currently smaller than that) there's a chance the animals will spawn there if I'm more than 24 blocks away? I'm often far underground or sailing about the ocean. Jul 29, 2015 at 20:54
  • 1
    Yes, I don't see why that wouldn't... As long as the grass can grow and you are far enough away, it should work!
    – Nick
    Jul 29, 2015 at 20:58
  • This won't work - animals don't 'spawn' in the same way as hostile mobs. If there aren't any cows/etc. on your island, they won't spawn just from having some grass. See the wiki for details.
    – shanodin
    Jul 31, 2015 at 7:29
  • I setup a well lit 20x20 square of grass and after 10 hours of gameplay no livestock has spawned. I've read elsewhere that livestock don't spawn in ocean biomes - so that might be an issue. Aug 9, 2015 at 20:12

The nether portal approach does work, I've done it in the past.

It's not too difficult, really, to lead the animals to a nether gate, push them in, lead them through the nether, push them out of the exit gate, lead them to wherever they're going once you get back in the real world.

It's a bit tedious pushing them in and out of gates, and you'll want to make sure you have a safe path through the nether (I just had a straight tunnel so it was no issue at all), but it shouldn't take too long; maybe an hour or so. You can bring all the animals in one trip (and I'd recommend a bringing few extras just in case)

  • It sometimes is easier to guide them with leads than to push :) I've transported horses both ways. The best is probably to be in multiplayer with one person leading and one person pushing, but that probably won't help the OP Jul 30, 2015 at 10:12
  • @Yamikuronue Yeah, true; the main reason I did pushing for the nether gates was that they were built against walls; but if that wasn't the case, it very well might be easier to get them in by leading them.
    – Retsam
    Jul 30, 2015 at 16:34

One possibility is using leads and dragging the animals behind you. You can go max speed on the boat and the leads won't break as long as there aren't any obstacles in between you and the animals (which there shouldn't be in the ocean)

This should be faster and less effort than creating a path through the nether and more reliable than waiting for 'natural' spawning

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