Cows are one of the first mobs you’ll turn to when you start a farm in Minecraft. They provide a source of meat you can cook, and are a pivotal addition to your survival adventure. Besides a source of nutrition, cows are loyal companions and just a bundle of joy to behold, especially in groups. Though they technically do not require sustenance to survive, food is an integral part of their life and plays a key part in multiplying their numbers. We are, of course, talking about breeding cows to form a herd. For that to happen, you must know the answer to, “What do cows eat in Minecraft?”
Food cows eat in Minecraft
Cows are neutral mobs that won’t attack you even if attacked first. However, they respond to food instantly and en masse. Cows in Minecraft eat these food items:
Cows consume grass that grows on top of Dirt blocks in Minecraft. This is something players cannot intervene or control—grass grows at a predetermined pace, and players cannot feed it to cows. Cows may also eat the foliage atop a Grass Dirt block, which makes this feeding habit hard to spot. However, as soon as players create a pen around a herd of cows, this activity becomes apparent from the appearance of barren dirt beneath their hooves.
Cows can eat Wheat provided by the player, and player alone. They can neither consume planted Wheat nor the Wheat item that drops on the ground. This is intentional, to prevent players from using a Dispenser to create a fully automatic Wheat feeder. The commands to feed Wheat to a cow, after making sure it’s in the crosshair, are as follows:
- On PC and Mac (Java/Bedrock/Educational Edition), use the right-click of your mouse.
- For Nintendo Switch, press the ZL controller button.
- For Pocket Edition, tap the cow on the screen.
- On Wii U, press the ZL button on the gamepad.
- For Xbox consoles, use the LT button on your controller.
- On PlayStation consoles, press the L2 button on the controller.
Facts about feeding cows in Minecraft
Now that you know what cows consume in Minecraft, it’s time to elaborate on when, why, how often, and more. Here are several interesting details about feeding Minecraft cows you should know:
- Whenever the player holds Wheat in their hands, cows in the vicinity (up to 6 blocks away) will take a sharp turn and stare while rushing toward the player. Cows will continue staring as long as the player has Wheat equipped and only stop when fed.
- Feeding wheat is a key mechanic for breeding cows. We’ll elaborate on that separately. However, it’s important to note there’s a 5-minute cooldown before the same cow can consume Wheat again.
- You can feed a baby cow Wheat to speed up its growth, which is set at 20 minutes without intervention. Every time it consumes food, the time to reach maturity is reduced by 10%.
- Minecraft cows cannot die of starvation if you don’t feed them.
- Before you start amassing cows in one spot, you should know there’s a limit to the number of mobs in a given area within a Minecraft world. If you noticed you cannot feed a cow, and it’s been over 5 minutes, you reached that threshold.
- Contrary to what you may believe, cows don’t require grass from a Dirt block in Minecraft to produce milk.