With proper care, a sheep can live for 20 years. Sheep graze for about 7 hours a day.
You need 1 acre of pasture for every 3 sheep.
On a positive note: sheep will avoid eating poisonous plants.
Sheep need shelter from sun, wind, and rain. They need straw for bedding.
Sheep should be sheared at least once a year.
Clumps of dirty wool, matting, should be removed immediately.
If their wool coats become waterlogged then they become vulnerable to flystrike.
This is where parasitic flies lay eggs on soiled wool and open wounds.
Sheep can get sick. They can get foot rot, respiratory infections, diarrhea,
mites and lice, and intestinal parasites.
Sheep need to be protected from predators.
The most common predator today in the US is the coyote.
A dog, a llama or a donkey within the flock will help keep predators away.
Sheep are communal by nature; without other sheep around they become stressed.
Market price for wool is determined by fineness and coarseness of the wool strands….
measured in microns.
As of January 31, 2017: High grade wool is fetching $4.90 lb.
Low grade wool is fetching $1.23 lb.
Market price for mutton has been climbing over the past 6 months. In July 2016 a pound of mutton was fetching $1.07 lb. In December 2016 it was fetching $1.23 lb.
I hope this information instills in you a little more appreciation for the work required from the shepherd.
I have yet to hear anyone say “It’s a shepherd’s life” as far as minimal work with a large payout.
A good shepherd takes care of the sheep. A good shepherd knows how to properly care for the sheep.
Now, I don’t want to be labelled as an iconoclast (someone who destroys images,
someone who confronts and demythologizes sentimental, romantic, nostalgic notions of reality)
but a shepherd doesn’t keep sheep for their friendship.
The life of the sheep is dedicated to providing for the needs of the shepherd.
If we choose Jesus Christ to be our shepherd, allow him to protect us, feed us, care for us…
then we can’t complain when we are called on to fulfill our purpose:
to feed the hungry and cloth the naked.
The shepherd determines where and when and how the sheep provide and not the other way around.
And not to be too graphic, but I think this gets to the point….
a friend of mine raises cattle. If one of his cows doesn’t become pregnant within 2 years
that cow goes to the slaughter house.
Our prayer today: “O Lord, I choose Jesus, Your Son, to be my shepherd. Help me to hear his voice and follow where he leads. Give me the grace to sacrifice for the good of his mission when I am called upon to give of my substance. Amen!”