Productive tasks: shepherding (Spain)

Productive tasks: shepherding (Spain)
1990. Communal pasture. Quintanilla de Somoza. León (Spain) © AEEH

Productive tasks: shepherding (Spain)

A woman takes her flock to the communal pasture (“vecera”) where neighbours took turns to graze everybody’s flock.

Livestock has been essential to the economy of family farm units as can be seen from the regulations of rural councils which, from their origins in the 11th century, have many indications about shepherding and different livestock, for example: pregnant and recently calved cows should not be grazed on the vecera (…) cowherds must be over 20 years old and not 14 as is the case for sheep and goatherds. (Ordenanzas de Andiñuela).

The yearly sale of young livestock still provides important economic help for families. A census of livestock in Castilla y León shows this, as around 80% of animals are under 12 months old, 17% are females for breeding and 3% are studs.