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I'm still pretty early-game, haven't got a solid village or any real farms set up yet, but I confirmed a turtle beach a few miles away from the area I'm setting up shop.

I know that turtles return to their birthplace to lay new eggs… this would seem, on paper, as I currently understand it, to imply that there's no way to transplant a turtle colony from Lagoon X to Lagoon Y without getting that enchantment first.

I'm hoping my understanding is flawed, however, and there's some way for a player who hasn't yet got Silk Touch to coerce turtles to lay their eggs in a new location. Is there?

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  • (If the answer turns out to be precisely the same for Java and Bedrock edition, I have no objections to retroactively adding the latter tag to the question as well, for indexing purposes) Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 20:56

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Unfortunately, your understanding is correct. I just tested this on Minecraft Java 1.18.1 and the turtle with the egg never lays it if unable to make its way back to the home beach.

I grabbed two turtles via boat and fenced them in on a new beach a short distance away. The wiki says "No matter how far away the turtle is, it always attempts to return to its home beach to lay its eggs after breeding", so I was hoping it would just lay it on the spot once the attempt fails. But it just waits indefinitely and only once I broke the fence did it go back to the home beach and lay eggs there.

Turtles must have hatched/spawned on your beach for it to be considered their home beach. The most reliable option would be getting Turtle eggs by using a Silk Touch tool. You could also try to just wait for some to spawn naturally under the following conditions:

Turtles spawn on the sand in the Overworld on beaches with daylight, but not in its snowy variant or stony shores, occasionally in small groups of up to 5 individuals.

In Java Edition, turtles spawn at light levels greater than 8, on sand blocks less than 4 blocks above sea level (typically at Y=62).

In Bedrock Edition, turtles spawn in groups of 2–6, at light level 7 or higher, at Y=60–67.

One guaranteed (though tedious) way to get Silk Touch is to just re-roll trades on a Librarian villager till Silk Touch is sold. It's not too hard to craft a lectern and they are sometimes already in natural villages. You'll just need to get enough emeralds, probably by trading with other villagers.

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    +1 for actually testing this
    – pinckerman
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 22:11
  • I do wonder what a turtle's definition of "beach" is -- I have a pond with eight turtles in it now, and when having them lay as many eggs as I could in quick succession, so that the eggs overflowed the block they were hatched on, they would climb up the shore to access sand blocks with room on them Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 0:14
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    I assume it refers to the Beach biome, which means any sand in that area works fine. If it's working with a player made pond surrounded by sand, then that's great too. The turtle entity stores homeX, homeY and homeZ attributes which you can check using the /data command. Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 0:26
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    Turtle "Beaches" are any sand with water nearby. you can do that with artificial beaches indoors, too (even deep underground)
    – masterX244
    Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 13:49
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    The wiki says that once the pregnant turtle returns to its home, then attempts to find a nearby sand block. It could be possible, although very tedious, to remove nearly all sand leaving one block in the direction of your village to lay eggs on. Wait for eggs to hatch and grow up, breed and repeat. If I get around to testing and confirming I'll add an answer Commented Feb 4, 2022 at 1:00

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