I've built a fairly efficient gold farm above the Nether roof. It just requires me to idle near the build limit and the stockpile of gold nuggets (and rotten flesh) accumulates below.

Still, a fairly efficient production of gold nuggets means a couple hours to build up two and a half stacks of gold blocks for a beacon. And I could spend the time more productively than through idling in a closed box.

After sifting through possible small afk farm options to add, with most either requiring water or just not needed (e.g. due to having a superior full auto option in the overworld) I came up with one reasonable option - a sheep (wool) farm.

There's one neat design that keeps the sheep circulating in a closed path over grass blocks using entity cramming, artificial light and spare grass blocks outside sheep-accessible area should keep the grass regrowing. I should be able to have the sheep travel upwards using stairs instead of using bubble elevators. A dispenser with a long timer to replace worn shears, a window in the fences to shear passing sheep through, a hopper to collect the wool (and possibly not picked shears), and this seems like a concept that could work.

Still, one caveat I can foresee is that zombie pigmen may not take well to my attempts at shearing them - and the grass being one of few possible spawning spaces in the area they would definitely spawn given the opportunity. So, first, how can I spawn-proof the grass so that zombie pigmen won't spawn? In particular, so that grass can regrow and sheep can still graze on it? (and baby sheep can spawn when sheep are bred... I'm really in no mood to transport more than 2 sheep through the 1x1 hole in the bedrock.)

Also, what other caveats to look for? For example, spawn-proofing hoppers, droppers, other redstone, or watching out for other blocks being spawnable (stairs, fences?)

  • SF. did you get this answered? I see you didn't accept the one answer. Why not? Cactus, chicken, cow, and rabbit farms can all be worked in the nether if sheep aren't doing it for you.
    – John
    Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 22:28
  • @John: I've found myself without time to test this. Still need to verify if sheep can eat grass under tracks and it will regrow properly.
    – SF.
    Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 7:01

2 Answers 2


Rails prevent spawning. Liquids also do, but they would probably mess with your farm.

Also, most mobs, including pigmen, can't spawn in a 1 block high area. So you just have to make sure that all grass blocks either have an opaque block 2 blocks higher or a rail on them.

Alternatively, you could just cram everything so full of sheep that there's never a full block of space, mobs cannot spawn inside other mobs.

  • Well, considering water is out of question in the Nether, lava as means of spawn-proofing grass would quite likely mess with my farm. :) I'll have to check if sheep can breed on rails... and eat grass from underneath them.
    – SF.
    Commented Feb 18, 2019 at 18:48
  • 1
    @SF. Sheep can breed EVERYWHERE. If they're stuck in obsidian and you breed them before they die, the baby sheep spawns in the obsidian. Commented Feb 18, 2019 at 20:25
  • @SF. Correction: Sheep can not spawn inside blocks. And there are also some restrictions to breeding, for example they do not breed while suffocating in a big block of obsidian. Commented Apr 28, 2019 at 20:37

Rails work, indeed - sheep can be bred on them just fine, grass spreads under them and sheep can feed off that grass to regrow pelts, and obviously mobs don't spawn on them - but I found stone buttons to have the same properties while being vastly cheaper.

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