As a Minecraft player you may already know about the ranching system in the game, by which I mean the animal breeding and harvesting aspect. Maybe you already have a “ranch” of your own set up, or maybe the concept is new to you. Either way I believe I’ve some tips and tricks for you that you may find useful.
Chickens – These often troublesome creatures produce eggs and when killed will drop raw chicken and feathers. Eggs and raw chicken are used in cooking recipes and feathers are used for making a book and quill (in which you can record your Minecraft adventures) and arrows.
Cows – These are larger farm creatures used for producing milk and when killed will drop raw beef and leather. Milk is used in cooking and for getting rid of poison effects and raw beef is used for cooking. Leather can be used for armor, but it’s most useful application is in book making. If you want a successful enchanting program, you’ll need to make sure you keep those cows coming.
Sheep – These creatures are used pretty much exclusively for wool. They’ll usually drop one block when you kill them and two or three when sheered. To make things interesting, they can be dyed different colors and will from then on produce wool of that color and offspring of that color. Breeding sheep of mixed colors can sometimes produce lambs with a color made from the two (white and red sheep yield a pink lamb) or if the colors are incompatible will yield a lamb of one of the two colors randomly. Since sheep can be sheered for their wool, once you’ve got one for each color you needn’t breed any more.
Pigs – Pigs are used for their dropped food item raw pork chops and will drop between one and three when killed. These are an excellent food source when cooked on par with the steak from cows. Pigs can also be saddled and ridden by players using a carrot on a stick to control its movement and make it go faster. This allows a player to travel at speeds of 5 blocks per second. Interestingly, pigs can be turned into zombie pigmen when struck by lightning. It’s a rare occurrence, but it can happen.
Each of the above animals can be bread using different harvestable items. Cows and sheep both consume wheat, chickens consume seeds, and pigs consume carrots. If you feed the appropriate food to two of the same animal in the vicinity to each other they’ll approach one another rub noses for a moment (literally, that’s not a euphemism for anything) and out will come a baby animal of the same type. Baby animals take about 20 minutes to fully mature and adults can be bred every five minutes meaning you can get four generations for each Minecraft day. Chickens can also be bred by throwing eggs. Each egg has a 1/8th chance of spawning a baby chicken when it is thrown. Using some creative redstone systems (a vertical item elevator linked to a redstone clock) and a few hoppers you can actually create a mechanism that automatically collects the eggs and breeds chickens so you don’t have to. Just make sure you have a way to shut the system off if need be as the population can grow to alarmingly high rates rather quickly.
Once again I’m in awe of the vast complexity and interconnectedness of the different aspects of Minecraft. If you need more food, potion cures, or enchanting materials, or perhaps a mount or some wool definitely include a Minecraft ranch in your N3rd C0rn3r.