I am a beginner Minecraft player playing in survival mode (Minecraft Java 1.18) and I just wanted to make one iron farm and all the construction are done except keeping the zombie from despawning and I am not that familiar with searching for nametag as it is usually rare.

So, are there any other ways in which I could prevent the zombie from despawning?

  • Hi, I wonder what kind of a farm it is --- iron farms are usually built based on iron golems instead of zombies. To say that zombies are incapable of iron farms would be to mean for them but certainly, they are less efficient than iron golem farms. So I am curious as to how your question can be raised in the first place. Suppose that you have built the zombie iron farm, don't you have auto-killing mechanics? E.g. fall damage, tricky lava systems etc. Lastly, farms wouldn't work if you are too far away from them to the point that the chunks are not loaded at all.
    – hfanatic
    Jan 30, 2022 at 16:20
  • @hfanatic zombies are used to scare villagers in order to spawn the iron golems. Jan 30, 2022 at 16:22
  • @VikneshTPK are you following a tutorial of some kind? There are designs where a nametag would be the only working option. But if you have the space, putting the zombie in a boat will prevent despawn (ianxofour has a design of this type). Jan 30, 2022 at 16:25
  • Re finding a name tag: Try fishing. Eventually, you will either catch a name tag, or you will catch a fishing rod with various helpful enchantments on it. Make sure you're fishing in an outdoors/aboveground body of water which is large enough (the bobber should be surrounded by three blocks of water in all four directions, the water should be at least three blocks deep, and the whole thing must be exposed to the sky), or else you won't catch treasure items at all. Overall, this strategy is slow but relatively low-risk and low-cost.
    – Kevin
    Jan 30, 2022 at 21:29

3 Answers 3


According to the Minecraft Wiki, mobs can be unable to despawn in the following conditions, filtered out for your needs:

  1. Is a passenger to another mob.
  2. Is riding a boat or minecart.
  3. Spawned as part of a generated structure
  4. Had something added to their inventory including having something dispensed upon them (such as a saddle) or something they have picked up, but never for anything they spawn with.

I also read about how Villagers even summon Iron golems, simply put, when they are panicking, with two other villagers who both also desire golems, they will attempt to summon one.

Villagers will panic when they see a mob that is hostile to them. To "see" a mob, the villager must have an unobstructed view towards the mob, and be within a certain range (for a zombie, it's 8 blocks).

First, let's consider the first option. Assuming you want to do everything in survival, no cheats, the only way for it to work is having a Chicken Jockey, which is extremely rare, and you're better off having a name tag.

For the second option, it could technically work, the villager and see the zombie, and will panic and summon an Iron Golem, you should test this, since I'm not sure. In most Iron farms, the zombie is jumping or moving up-and-down, but I'm unsure if this affects the summoning behaviour.

Third option, only Drowned is applicable, since they spawn in Ocean Ruins. I'm a bit suspicious about this 3rd rule, since I'm pretty sure they will despawn, so this is the last ditch option.

Finally, the fourth option. This should work pretty well, when you get your zombie in, use a dispenser to give them armor, or a sheared pumpkin. So this is the one you should use. Note that if you're throwing an item to a zombie to have it pick it up, there is only a chance it will pick it up, for more information, see here.

I hope all of this helped :)

  • I am pretty sure the third option refers to evokers/vindicators from woodland mansions (or elder guardians from ocean monuments). that won't despawn nor re-spawn. as for the second option, yeah, just a zombie in a minecart that moves in a loop is equally efficient. see e.g. the setup at 10:10 here: youtube.com/watch?v=BSwe-jerWX8
    – Federico
    Feb 1, 2022 at 9:51

Some zombies are capable of picking up items. This is determined when they spawn and doesn't change afterwards. If you find a zombie that has this property and drop him any item, it wont despawn anymore.

Note, that this will not work if you've set gamerule mobGriefing to false.


You can make mobs not despawn by either making them hold something (like a zombie, won't work for skeleton, pillagers, etc.), using commands to give them a nbt tag of persistent or, probobly the easiest in your case, putting it in a boat or minecart. The only thing this can't work for is a wandering trader.

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