A shepherd


Shepherds manage the welfare and movement of livestock, especially sheep, goats and other grazing animals, in a variety of surroundings.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to shepherd:

flock manager
sheep herder
sheep flock manager
sheep flock specialist
flock movement specialist

Minimum qualifications

No formal educational credential is generally required to work as shepherd.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Shepherd is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Shepherd career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to shepherd.

cattle pedicure
footwear factory warehouse operator
footwear hand sewer
footwear stitching machine operator

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of shepherd. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of shepherd with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

footwear quality control laboratory technician
passport officer
footwear quality technician
import export specialist in china and other glassware
import export specialist in electrical household appliances

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of shepherd.

  • Provide flock medical treatment: Treat livestock medically, providing adapted medical treatment and administering medications and vaccinations when required.
  • Provide nutrition to animals: Provide food and water to animals. This includes preparing food and water for animals and reporting any changes in the animal feeding or drinking habits.
  • Examine animals: Examine animals in case they are injured, sick, or having a disease. Check up on physical characteristics, such as rate of weight gain.
  • Move animals: Move grazing animals between pastures to ensure that they have enough fresh grass to eat.
  • Ensure flock safety: Protect the flock from wolves and other predators. Keep them from eating harmful plants.
  • Care for the flock: A shepherd needs a gentle touch and warm demeanour to make the sheep comfortable and receptive to her care.
  • Move the herd: Move the animals safely to another location. Lead them to grazing locations, managing their journey and accommodation needs.
  • Organise shearing: Set up a woolshed for the shearing of sheep. Work with the shearers to reach standards described in the farm policy manual.
  • Milk animals: Milk cows and other farm animals, manually or using mechanical means.
  • Maintain pastures: Ensure that animals on pastures or grazing lands have enough feed. Employ pasture-conservation measures such as grazing in rotation.
  • Assist animal birth: Assist in animal births, and care for newborn livestock.
  • Work independently in agriculture: Perform tasks individually in livestock and animal production services by taking decisions without help. Handle tasks and tackle with issues or problems without any outside assistance.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of shepherd. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Create solutions to problems: Solve problems which arise in planning, prioritising, organising, directing/facilitating action and evaluating performance. Use systematic processes of collecting, analysing, and synthesising information to evaluate current practice and generate new understandings about practice.
  • Maintain farm equipment: Use oil, grease guns, and hand tools to lubricate, adjust, and make minor repairs to farm equipment.
  • Carry out cheese production: Carry out onsite and on farm milking and processing activities for cheese production.

ISCO group and title

6121 – Livestock and dairy producers

  1. Shepherd – ESCO
  2. Featured image: Photo by Patrick Schneider on Unsplash
Last updated on October 28, 2022

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