I have a zombie spawner set up to farm exp, and I also have a skeleton spawner set up to do the same.

Because I'm using them as exp farms (getting them down to half a heart and then punching them to death), I also occasionally get rare drops from them both.

Around about a quarter of the bows that drop come with a Power I enchant, and I've gotten two enchanted golden swords from Zombie Pigmen (regular kills), but I've never had an enchantment on any of the hundreds of swords/shovels/helmets that the Zombies have dropped.

Which items have a chance of being enchanted upon their drop?

  • 5
    This is going to require some SCIENCE!...
    – fredley
    May 10, 2012 at 10:07
  • @fredley: You mean it's not already in the wiki?
    – MBraedley
    May 10, 2012 at 10:34
  • @MBraedley The wiki is contradictory. At one point it says that all weapons can have enchantments, and another it says only bows and golden swords can. That's why I want an answer.
    – Mr Smooth
    May 10, 2012 at 10:36
  • @MrSmooth: That sounds like you're confusing drops w/enchantments vs. items that you can enchant yourself. I don't have first hand experience, but I remember from somewhere that only pigmen and skeletons could drop enchanted items.
    – MBraedley
    May 10, 2012 at 11:19
  • 2
    @MrSmooth I've addressed your actual question in my answer, but regarding the contradiction, I assume that Zombies don't drop enchanted weapons, since if they did people would be all over themselves to update the wiki. I've edited the information on rare drops to more accurately describe the observations from the code and experience, removing the contradiction.
    – Kevin Reid
    May 10, 2012 at 12:08

2 Answers 2


The only items that can be enchanted are Golden Swords from Zombie Pigmen and Bows from Skeletons.

The swords, if enchanted, have their enchantment chosen randomly as if it were a level 5 enchantment from an enchanting table. The following enchantments are therefore possible:

Sharpness I–III
Smite I–IV
Bane of Arthropods I–IV
Knockback I–II
Fire Aspect I–II
Looting I–II

Bows, if enchanted, will always have Power I.

  • 1
    Any source other than the wiki?
    – Mr Smooth
    May 10, 2012 at 11:32
  • @MrSmooth No, I won't have a chance to test for myself until the weekend unfortunately.
    – fredley
    May 10, 2012 at 13:30
  • The bit about bows is definitely correct. Don't have any experience with the golden swords.
    – SaintWacko
    May 10, 2012 at 15:34
  • @SaintWacko I know the enchantments are correct, I was more worried about whether they're the only items that can be enchanted, which Kevin Reid's answer seems to indicate that they are.
    – Mr Smooth
    May 10, 2012 at 16:06
  • 3
    @MrSmooth After examining the decompiled source code, I can confirm this answer is correct. The relevant function is EntityLiving.func_48085_j_ and its overrides.
    – Kcats
    May 16, 2012 at 15:20

Thanks for being concerned about sources! I was involved in writing the wiki page on rare drops, which we did based on this decompiled source code. I cannot vouch for that code being the actual code in Minecraft (especially as it may change in the future), but what it indicates is this:

First, whether the drops are enchanted is chosen, with 20% chance modified by Looting.

Then, the item to drop is chosen depending on the above choice. That is: If a Zombie Pigman passes the chance to get rare drops, and the chance to get enchanted rare drops, then the item will always be a golden sword. If the item is not to be enchanted, then you get an equal chance of all three possible drops.

I don't have the code for zombies, so I can't say exactly what their drops are set up to be, but no one has ever reported enchanted armor, so I assume it does not happen. Skeletons of course only drop (possibly enchanted) bows.

  • I'm sure the code has changed in the last 3 years but last night I had a zombie drop an enchanted golden chest plate w/Protection II. I was somewhat floored on this.
    – Dan
    Dec 27, 2015 at 2:49

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