Breeding is a game mechanic which was introduced in Beta 1.9 Pre-release 2. This feature allows Players to produce an endless supply of certain types of animals, as long as they have the required materials to initiate breeding.
If a player right-clicks an animal while holding a certain type of food, the animal enters what is known as "love mode". Giving two of the same fully-grown animal species specific food while they are close to one another, will produce a baby version of the animal. Animals in "love mode" will be attracted to each other, but only for a limited period of time (roughly one minute). Certain animals must first be tamed before they can be bred.
Foods used to breed animals are different for different types of animals.
- Chickens breed after being fed seeds (any kind)
- Cows, Sheep and Mooshrooms breed after being fed Wheat
- Horses breed after first being tamed, and then after each is fed a Golden Carrot or Golden Apple
- Tamed Ocelots (also referred to as "cats") breed after being fed Raw Fish, Salmon, Pufferfish, or Clownfish
- Pigs breed after being fed a Carrot, Potato, or Beetroot
- Rabbits can be bred by feeding each one a Carrot, Golden Carrot, or Dandelion
- Wolves can be tamed (but not bred), by feeding them most types of meat. However, this is technically not the same as breeding, as no new animal is produced.
Animals cannot enter "love mode" if they recently had a baby. Chickens can not only be bred with Seeds, but they can also occasionally hatch when an Egg is thrown (by right-clicking while it is equipped or via a dispenser). Chicken eggs have a 1/8 chance of hatching into a chicken. By means of breeding can be useful for farming. Sheep can have different colored babies depending on the parents' color if two sheep with the same color make a baby of that color.
Villagers can also breed and make baby villagers, but it only happens naturally and cannot be forced unless in creative mode, in which case the player can use a Spawn Egg on a normal villager. Villager breeding is dependent on the number of occupied structures within the village's perimeter. Minecraft calculates the number of "occupied buildings" in a village based on the number of Doors, and then compares that to the amount of villagers currently living in order to. Villager breeding is extremely rare, however as many villagers need to be deceased in order for it to occur, leaving them extremely weak with only 33% of villagers remaining.
In Beta 1.9 Pre-release 3, Notch added baby animals. The baby animals are smaller variations of their parents. They have smaller bodies, normal sized heads (same as the adults), high pitched cries and walk faster. They currently don't drop anything. The infant that is born will usually follow the parents. The baby animals grow into a fully-sized animal after one day in-game (20 real minutes). A baby animal cannot be bred until it becomes an adult.
- Breeding two Horses together will produce a foal, or a baby horse. However, breeding a donkey and a horse together will produce a mule which is sterile (unbreedable) like its real-life counterpart.
- Before 1.2.1, cows and mooshrooms could breed together; the baby would randomly take on the appearance of one of the parents.