Nantucket Island, Massachusetts
Sheep Grazing Project Technician
The Nantucket Conservation Foundation (a private, non-profit conservation land trust) has been utilizing sheep grazing as a grassland management tool on its Squam Farm property since 2005. The use of sheep is a historically-accurate conservation tool for Nantucket, as the past impact of European settlers and their grazing animals influenced the development of the island’s unique sandplain grasslands and heathlands. These habitats now support one of the highest concentrations of rare and endangered species in the Massachusetts, and developing and using land management tools for protecting and restoring them is a top conservation goal of the Nantucket Conservation Foundation. For additional details about this project, please visit the Foundation’s website at: https://www.nantucketconservation.org/research/sheep-grazing-research/
The Sheep Grazing Project Technician is responsible for all aspects of maintaining and managing the Foundation’s flock. Specific responsibilities are summarized as follows:
- Conduct a daily check of all sheep, providing feed, water, and/or nutrient supplements and ensuring that fencing is intact and sufficient.
- Implement rotational grazing within sections of the property that are targeted by Science and Stewardship Department staff for treatment during the active growing season (early May – early November), including setting up and moving portable fencing, water tubs, and nutrient supplements and moving sheep in between pastures. Experience with sheep herding and use of a herding dog is highly preferred.
- Conduct regular health checks on each individual sheep to ensure that body condition is being maintained, working with veterinarians as needed to regularly administer vaccinations, monitor and treat for parasite infestations, and identify potential health problems at the earliest possible stage.
- Maintain detailed health records for each individual sheep to be used for breeding and overall flock management decisions.
- Maintain detailed records of management actions taken and areas of the property that are grazed in conjunction with Science and Stewardship Department staff.
- Conduct regular pasture and barn yard clean-up and maintenance activities, including management of manure piles and identification and management of invasive weeds, working with Properties Maintenance and Science and Stewardship Department staff members as needed.
- Organize and neatly maintain all equipment, fencing, supplies, medications, tools, etc. related to sheep grazing project activities, communicating repair and replacement needs when necessary.
- Oversee decisions regarding flock culling at the end of the active grazing season (late October) so that an efficiently-sized flock of the healthiest sheep is maintained and possibly bred over the winter.
- Oversee the breeding of selected ewes in November to produce lambs in April, maintaining accurate records of genetic lineages and breeding performance.
- Provide adequate hay and nutrient supplements for winter flock maintenance and pregnant ewe health from November – later April while the flock is maintained within permanently-fenced pastures in close proximity to the barn at Squam Farm.
- Schedule and organize shearing (conducted by a local sheep shearer) of all sheep just prior to lambing in the spring and those that will be culled from the flock at the end of the grazing season.
- Oversee all aspects of lambing, with veterinarian assistance as needed.
- Interact with individual and group visitors to the property to provide information about the sheep grazing project and the Foundation’s overall conservation goals.
Please submit a cover letter, resume, and references to: Karen C. Beattie, Science & Stewardship Manager, email@example.com