Jesus - The Reason for The Season

Reason For Season

Feeding Sheep Logistics


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MYTH: Too cold for shepherds to Tend Flocks in December

Previous articles have shown that the temperature range for Jerusalem is very similar to the area from Lake City, Florida up to Valdosta, Georgia based upon historical weather statistics. The previous articles have also shown in Genesis we are told that Jacob tended Laban's flock even when there was frost on the ground. For any people that are currently nomadic or have a nomadic occupation like being a shepherd - these temperatures are well within a manageable range.

Weather statistics also show that roughly 75% of the rain in this area occurs in December, January and February. When would water and forage be most available?

Logistics of feeding a flock of sheep.

The sheer logistics of caring for a flock of sheep will show that shepherds would have been grazing their flocks in all but extreme weather. An adult sheep eats between 3-6 lb. forage a day and can drink up to a gallon of water. So lets put this in perspective of the labor to tend to a flock of 100 sheep that are not abiding in the fields:

Water: 7lb, a gallon of water weighs just over 7 lb.
Feed: 3-6 lb., lets use the lower limit, 3 lb.
Total per sheep, per day: 10 lb.

Flock (100 sheep) total per day: 1,000 lb.
For December-February: 90 days at 1,000 lb. per day - 90,000 lb. or 45 tons.

So if you were a shepherd with a flock of 100 sheep and it was not so cold that it was life threatening would you take your flock to the fields and let them graze and use available water - OR - would you want to haul 45 tons of forage and water to their enclosure?

Putting this is relative human manual labor terms. If a sturdy shepherd could haul 50 lb. a trip and had to only go an average of a quarter mile to gather forage or water:

50 lb. per trip and 90,000 lb. needed:

1,800 trips, a total of 90 miles.

1,800 trips over 90 days would be 20 per day.

The logistics of caring for a flock of sheep would point to the flock abiding in the field in all but extreme cases.

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