Shepards normally look after sheep, but they may also look after goats. They often work alone or with the assistance of herding or security dogs in remote regions. Many sheepherders must be ready at all times for their flocks. Sheepherders are subject to US Department of Labor regulations because they are typically employed on a visa and are not US citizens.
The shepherd’s main priorities are the flock’s protection and care. Thousands of people can be found in certain flocks. The shepherd will graze the animals while keeping an eye out for harmful weeds and directing them to feeding areas.
Sheep are frequently housed in trailers or other makeshift structures. When a pasture’s fodder runs out, the shepherd will move his sheep and his living quarters to a new pasture.
Every day, the shepherd and his dogs will normally take the sheep out to new pasture and return them to the same area every night.
Protecting Sheep against predators
To protect the sheep under his care, a shepherd may use guard dogs or other security animals. Sheep predators include coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, bears, and domestic dogs, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
According to the USDA, domestic dogs are a greater hazard to sheep than many larger predators because they can tire ewes and drive them to abort their lambs. In addition to protective animals, many sheepherders carry firearms to shoot predators who attack the sheep. Cell phones and radios can also be used to summon assistance if necessary.
Sheep, like other animals, are prone to disease, thus during the lambing process, they must be properly monitored. They may also be bothered by insects, some of which carry disease. Sheep are frequently the cause of minor injuries requiring basic medical treatment, particularly in remote areas where veterinary services are lacking. Insecticides, worming treatment, and vaccines may be administered by shepherds.
During lambing season, the shepherd will routinely check on the ewes at all hours of the day and night, and may assist the sheep if she is having problems giving birth. Shepherds may also dock or chop the tails of young lambs.
The flock has been shorn.
Unlike other animals that shed their hair in the spring, many sheep breeds must be sheared, or their fleece hacked off using shears or clippers. Sheepshearers, who specialize in shearing, may be appointed to this task, or the shepherd himself may be in charge. Sheep can be sheared either outside or in holding pens. According to the Mountain Plains Agricultural Service, a competent shepherd can shear up to 125 ewes each day without nicking or cutting the skin, and the fleece can be taken intact.
In the Bible, what does a shepherd do?
Let me respond to that query by recommending Timothy Witmer’s The Shepherd Leader, the single best book on the subject that I am aware of. Shepherding is broken down into a scriptural and practical approach for performing four things on two levels, according to Witmer. “Know the sheep,” “feed the sheep,” “lead the sheep,” and “protect the sheep” are the shepherd’s four broad responsibilities. The shepherd must perform these four jobs on a large and small scale.
Knowing the sheep requires significant human interactions and relationships with the herd. Jesus proclaims, “I know my sheep, and my sheep know me” (John 10:14). The Lord’s words inspire the committed shepherd. On a larger scale, the shepherd must know the entire congregation. To acquire a wide overview of the flock, the membership method and directory are essential. Witmer explains, “This is where shepherding begins.” Shepherds must be intimately familiar with each individual. Sheep must be aware of their beliefs, travels, and requirements. Some form of visitation is required for this micro-level comprehension (James 5; 1 Thes. 2).
“Feeding the sheep” refers to teaching God’s word to the sheep. Macro-level feeding is defined as any large group public teaching, such as on Sunday mornings, during Sunday school, or through a church newsletter. Micro-level feeding takes place in intimate, smaller settings. It includes one-on-one discipleship, small groups, and counseling.
Leading the sheep entails establishing a vision, defining the church’s mission and purpose, and establishing policies. Worship, education, fellowship, and evangelism can all help shepherds lead at a macro level. The most important micro-level path to leadership may be setting an example for the flock (1 Pet. 1:3). The shepherds’ ministry, according to Witmer, “failure here sabotages the rest.” Shepherds should be role models in their personal connections with Christ, their families, and their church family ministry.
Finally, shepherds must protect their flocks from the numerous hazards they face. At the macro level, protection entails public warnings from God’s word. Because of the micro-level security, the ninety-nine safe sheep must be left to search for the one lost lamb. Shepherds must recognize the importance of a robust fence and maintain vigilance over their flock.
Sheep can be shepherded in a variety of ways.
In verse two, the shepherd adds, “He makes me lie down in verdant pastures.”
Sheep must meet four conditions in order to lie down.
- Sheep must be fearless in order to survive. If a jackrabbit comes too close to the sheep, they will be scared and may even stampede. They must be free of this terror before they can sleep. Do we put our faith in the shepherd to protect us from our fears, or do we flee in terror? Instead, we should “cast all our concerns on Him, for He careth for you,” according to 1 Peter 5:7.
- There should be no squabbling among the sheep. If there is disagreement in the flock, the sheep will not lie down and rest. In fact, because they don’t eat enough and don’t get enough rest, their health may suffer. The shepherd tries to bring peace to his sheep flock for the sake of his flock.
So, how about we try it? Do we let the shepherd provide calm and peace to our interpersonal relationships? Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”
- Pest-free sheep are required.
Bugs and little insects irritate the sheep occasionally, and one of them even lays eggs on the sheep’s nose. It’s called a “nose fly.” These eggs will hatch into a larva-like organism that will burrow into the sheep’s head and cause severe discomfort in a matter of days. When a sheep is in pain, it may go insane trying to get rid of the pest, even smashing its head into trees and dying itself as a result of the damage produced by the impact of its skull on the branches. We can be pest-free right now, according to God’s promise. “I will declare to the Lord that He is my refuge and fortress, and that I will put my trust in Him,” Psalms 91:2-3. “He will undoubtedly keep thee safe from the fowler’s trap and the deafening pestilence.”
- There should be no hunger in the sheep. A starving sheep will not stop until it is adequately fed. God encourages us to come to Him now to quench our thirst. “Come to the rivers, all who thirst and all who have no money, buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price,” Isaiah 55:1-2 says. Why do you waste money on anything other than bread? You toil for something that makes you unhappy. Pay attention to what I say, consume what tastes good, and let your spirit delight in fatness.
In each of these four requirements, the shepherd plays a role in providing for the sheep. He eliminates any small critters that might terrify his sheep. He is attempting to reconcile with his flock. He makes great effort to keep pests away from his flock. He also guides his sheep to the lovely green meadows where they can graze.
Hello, I am Siddartha Reddy . A fulltime farmer and blogger who love to share all his farming experiences. Also, a strong supporter of sustainable farming practices. Thanks for visiting our site, let’s make this world a better place to live. Say No to Chemicals and plastics.