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Sheep Herder

Move woolly flocks from field to field with the help of sheep dogs.

What does a Sheep Herder do?

Sheep are often raised for their luxurious wool coats. In order to grow those thick coats, they need protection from predators, and access to abundant food and water. That’s where the Sheep Herder comes in. Sheep Herders watch over sheep and ensure that they have everything they need.

A flock of sheep can eat a field right down to the dirt in a short period of time. As a Sheep Herder, you must move them from place to place in order to ensure that they get enough to eat. A trained dog helps you make those moves. With a whistle and some hand signals, you tell your dog to circle the sheep and nip at their feet to make them move in the proper direction.

During the spring and summer, you move your sheep several times. In the wintertime, though, the air may be too cold to bring the sheep outside. So with the help of your dog, you move them into a covered pen. As you do this, you may sort them by sex and age.

Sheep cannot run very quickly, and they certainly aren’t capable of holding guns, knives, or other weapons to protect themselves. Because of that, sheep in a pasture are vulnerable to coyotes, wolves, or other predators. To make sure they’re safe, you sometimes bed down near them, and your dog alerts you when predators come near. When the sheep are housed indoors, you see to it that the fences, doors, and access points are strong.

The sheep’s owner likely handles major sheep care, such as shaving in the spring and choosing sheep for mating. As a sheep-handling expert, however, you may be asked to assist.