Everything you need to know about cows in Minecraft

So you’ve launched Minecraft and found some cows. They’re actually pretty useful to have around and we put together the ultimate guide for cows in Minecraft.
Everything you need to know about cows in Minecraft

You’ve hit play on Minecraft and it's not long before you come across some cows in game. These passive mobs have a tendency to wander around in herds. The real question is, what can you do with them? 

Well, there are actually quite a few ways that you can make cows help you out. They are especially handy if you’re in survival mode since they can provide leather, raw beef, milk and even xp orbs.

Think of this as an all-in-one Minecraft tutorial about Minecraft cows.

Where do cows spawn in Minecraft?

Cows spawn in grassy and mushroom biomes. They spawn above grass blocks in small herds when your world is generated-later on they show up on their own.

Interestingly, if you are on the Bedrock edition, cow herds of 2 to 3 will only spawn on grass blocks with a light level of 9 or more. In the Java edition, a light level of 7 will do for a herd of 4 cows.

Minecraft cows

If you’re on the Pocket Edition, have a look around forests and grassy biomes where cows are commonly found

Most cows will also spawn as adults but there is a 5% chance of them spawning as a baby cow.

In villages, cows can spawn in the animal pens and even spawn inside the butcher’s house. Sounds like it would make a fun house guest.

Can you tame a Minecraft cow?

That’s right Minecraft players, you can absolutely tame a Minecraft cow. It is also surprisingly easy, first collect or craft some wheat and then follow these steps.

Taming Minecraft Cow with wheat
  1. Locate the cow that you would like to tame
  2. Hold the wheat in your right hand- the cow will notice the wheat and follow you 
  3. With the wheat, right click on the cow

After this, hearts should appear around the cow to indicate that it is now your friend, congratulations, you are on the way to forming your very own herd!

What can you get from a Minecraft cow?

Minecraft cows can give you a variety of loot to use in your game. The resources are the results of either drops when the animal is killed or can simply be taken. These include:

Drops from Minecraft Cow
  • Raw Beef
  • Leather
  • Milk
  • XP orbs
  • Mushrooms

Pro tip: if you are after resources from a cow, go after the adults, the babies do not have any drops.

How to get beef from a cow

An adult cow can drop between 1 and 3 pieces of raw beef. To obtain the beef, all you have to do is kill the cow. 

Raw Beef from Minecraft Cow
Cooked steak from Minecraft cow

Drops can be increased by using the looting enchantment on your weapon, drops will increase by 1 per level of looting. The maximum number of raw beef you can obtain at a time is 6 by using the Looting III enchantment.

If you kill a cow that is on fire, you go straight to having steak in your inventory.

How to get leather from a cow

This is another drop when you kill a cow, and between 0 and 2 pieces will be dropped. Drops will also increase by 1 per level of looting enchantment.

Leather from Minecraft Cow

A maximum of 5 leather can be obtained if using the Looting III enchantment when you kill a cow.

How to get milk from a cow

To get milk from a cow, you are going to need an empty bucket and a cow that you have befriended. Once you have your bucket in hand, right click on the cow.

Milking a Minecraft cow

The bucket will instantly fill with milk which can be used in cooking recipes and to neutralize the effect of potions.

How to get XP orbs from a cow

When you kill any mobs in Minecraft, they drop XP orbs, cows are no different. Simply killing one yourself or with a tamed wolf will give you between 1 and 3 orbs.

Minecraft XP Orb

If you kill a cow that you have bred, orb drops can be between 1-7. 

How to get mushrooms from a cow

If you have heard of mooshrooms, you will also know that these are not like normal cows in Minecraft. Found in Mushroom biomes, Mooshrooms are cows that have mushrooms growing on their backs.

Mooshroom before being sheared

Shearing a Mooshroom with a pair of shears will turn them back into a cow and drop 5 mushrooms. More than enough for a bowl of stew!

How to Breed cows in Minecraft 

In the event that you do not want to find cows to grow your herd, breeding cows is your next option. The process is simple and all you need is some wheat and two cows.

Minecraft Cows and Calf

If you’re ready to start breeding cows, first pick a pair and follow these steps:

  1. Holding the wheat equipped, right click on the first cow and then the second
  2. Hearts will appear around both cows
  3. The cows will now be in ‘love mode’ and a calf will appear!

Breeding cows will also give you experience orbs of between 1 and 7. You can breed more cows after a cooldown period of about 5 minutes.

Accelerating the growth of a calf is possible. To do this right click on the calf with wheat. The calf will now have a reduced growth duration of 10%. 

Feeding wheat to Minecraft calf

A baby cow will also pathfind to the nearest adult cow if separated from its parents. A calf will also take about 20 minutes to reach adulthood if not fed to speed up the process.

Traveling with your Minecraft cows

Sometimes you just need to move your base around in Minecraft. Don’t worry, you can take your cows with you too. 

Minecraft Cow in Birch Tree Biome

We have two methods you can use to steer them around, keep reading to find out what they are.

Steering a Minecraft cow with a Lead 

If you were able to get hold of one or more of these, leading your herd will become much easier. 

This is how you do it:

  1. Equip the lead 
  2. With it in hand, right click on your cow-you can click on more than one cow if you have many leads- to leash them

Now you can walk and they will follow you. Just make sure that you stay close to the herd when walking so your leads don’t snap!

Leading a Minecraft cow using Wheat

You can lure a cow after you using wheat too, however this method can be somewhat of a hit or miss as cows can lose interest if you are two far away.

Luring Minecraft Cows with wheat

If you still want to try this method out:

  1. Grab some wheat
  2. Go up to a cow so it sees the wheat in your hand
  3. The cow will follow you if you move away from it slowly-it just wants the wheat

Calves are not as receptive to being baited with food so make sure you are keeping a close eye on them if you are trying to travel with them this way.

Are Cows hostile?

Cows are passive animals. This means that no matter what, you are not going to have to worry about one going on a rampage. 

Minecraft cows in Birch forest

Cows will not attack players or hostile mobs either- if anything they need the rescuing more.

More fun cow facts

Before you go, here’s a few more comments with cow facts.

Minecraft Cows near water
  • A cow will look at players for a few seconds if they are within 6 blocks of distance
  • They do not walk on Minecart rails, avoid water (unless led by a player) and they do not walk off high cliffs
  • Will avoid cacti, sweet berry bushes, dripstone, fire and lava...but not explosions

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