OUR SMALL HERD

Our four boys came from Ardo Alpacas in Aberdeenshire. We are not alpaca breeders and have our boys purely as pets. Our experience is that you don't need to be a breeder and that a 'batchelor herd' can give much pleasure to the owner. We have 5 acres including our big garden and grazing for the boys, 15 miles north of Inverness, Scotland. I spin, knit, felt and crochet with the fleece from the boys.

Clicking!!

Just a reminder that clicking on (most) of the photos will show them greatly enlarged.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

A change of shelter

Every couple of months we move the boys to a different overnight field shelter and this was the week that the latest change took place.  Here they are, waiting outside the shelter waiting for the human to get the inside organised.
As soon as the gates are removed, the boys go in and explore, usually rolling about for a while before settling down.
The moving-in routine is interrupted by the arrival of our neighbour's cat, 'Pike' on the hunt as always for rabbits! Faro is in front looking macho with Fyta and Fergus still in the shelter.  The hay buckets weren't in the shelter at this stage but the boys had managed to tip them up and spill the hay. 
Here they are, looking as if butter wouldn't melt..........!  Fidget is lying down at the back with Fyta in front of him, Fergus is in the doorway and Faro is at the front.
Some days were hot this week and the boys like to go in the sandpit then.  This is a long range shot of them all in the sandpit at once!
On Friday we had a visit from three lady tourists who had been staying locally and who had seen the boys from the nearby road.  This photo is for you ladies - hope you enjoyed your holiday in the Highlands.
And finally.................. the Cardiocrinum Giganteum (Giant Himalayan Lily) is growing strongly again this season.  It is now nearly seven feet tall, it can grow to nine feet,  and we've had to secure it to the fence during recent high winds.  The growth of this plant is quite amazing considering that during the winter none of the plant shows above ground level.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that once again we'll have the 'trumpet' flowers on top later.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Another day, another route march!

We've often mentioned that the boys take their time in getting organised for a new day.  Fidget more than the others likes to wait until the last minute before he gets going.
The morning procedure remains the same, the gate is opened between the overnight paddocks and the other paddocks and the boys line up waiting for the order from Faro in the front, to advance! Fidget is 'at ease' in the background!
Fyta (left) and Fergus look a bit fed up waiting around for Faro to get going at the front of the file - but they do eventually move.
'The leader of the pack' - Faro gets himself organised to give the order to move.  If you magnify the picture you will see that he has a clover leaf sticking out of his mouth - funny!
Fyta sees some fresh grass over the fence in a part of the paddocks they are not allowed to enter.  Whilst having a chat with Fyta, his pal Faro gets jealous and decides to come and find out what is happening.
The Grumpy Gardener had the Grillo mower out this week.  He says that it's a beast of a machine but does the job on the sloping paddocks, with forward and reverse gears to drive it.  We try and keep some of the paddock uncut as the boys like a bit of long grass.  Fyta and Fergus are in the distance.
Here's what the uncut strips look like in the near paddock and the further away one.  On the next cut, this strip will be cut and a new strip left uncut.
And finally................adding a lovely splash of colour are these Irises with the Gunnera now beginning to spread it's leaves in the background.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Still sweating!

Fergus amongst the buttercups!  It's been another very hot week with a heavy shower of rain yesterday afternoon - the first rain for weeks.
It's been some years since we've experienced prolonged periods of sunshine in this part of the world, so we're appreciating it.  Fergus (left), Faro and Fyta are pictured here.

 
In the next paddock is Fidget, enjoying the sand pit as always. All the boys enjoy lying in the sand during very hot weather.
Find one - and you'll find the other!  Faro (right) and his pal Fyta.  We're pleased that Faro is eating much better these days and he is looking much better for it.  They have had their Verm-X granules in their food this week.
Fyta (left), Faro and Fergus posing in front of the 'homestead' which is looking trim as all the grass was cut this week.
And finally............ this 'Rodgersia' plant is growing  very well in the garden and since this photo was taken, the leaes have changed colour to a deep bronze.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Wow - it's been hot!

This has been a week of lying about for the boys, preferably near the water trays.   We've had excellent weather and experienced none of the thunderstorms or downpours that have been so common elsewhere.  But it's been hot!!
The heat does take its toll on the boys and it is still several weeks before shearing.  So frequent use of the hose is called for.  Fidget (front) spends long periods lying in the water trays as can be seen by his wet chin and undercarriage.  Faro (left) prefers to be close to the water trough into which he dunks his head from time to time!
This week has also been a time of mega-grass cutting across all the paddocks and garden.  The boys are totally unconcerned by the noise of the tractor mower, strimmers or hand mowers around them.
Fidget (right) has his feet in the tray and all the boys hang around the humans hoping that the hose will be brought out once again - it was!
And here are a couple of happy bunnies in the sand pit, Fyta (left) and Fergus trying to stay cool.  It's quite common for three of the boys to be in the pit at the same time and very occasionally, all four.
And finally......................all the young apple trees are covered in blossom this year, no late frosts for a change so we are hoping for a good harvest later.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Life in the water tray.

This peacock gave the boys something to look at this week when it ventured into the garden near a paddock.  It is one of five birds owned by a neighbour, two males and three females so at this time of year the males' mating calls go on from first light until sunset. The boys are not bothered by the mating calls but they are fascinated by the size of the birds.
Some days this week have been very hot and the boys have been hosed down underneath several times.  Fidget does like a soak when he gets too hot.

Here he is again, just testing the water in the tray before making himself comfortable.
Whilst Fidget takes a bath the other three boys retreat from the heat into the shelter for a roll in the dust and. like Fergus, to chew some hay.
And finally..................the downside of lying in the water tray is that it doesn't do a lot for the appearance of the animals, as both Fidget and Fyta behind, show.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Nail trim time.

At the beginning of the week we decided to cut Fergus's nails as they grow so quickly.  They will be cut again in several week's time when the shearer arrives, but as Fergus has the 'curly' type of nails we thought a trim was necessary.  Nothing quite like being told that you are a good boy, is there Fergus? 
He was such a good boy that he was quite happy to stay in the catch pen after the trimming whilst his three pals waited outside for him.

So after a nail trimming there is nothing quite like a foot bath.  Having ejected Fidget (left), Fergus gets into the tray for a bit of a soak.
Any type of water activity will attract the other boys, so Fergus gets ejected, Fyta gets in and Faro keeps an eye on the proceedings.
A nice photo of Faro taken in the evening just as the shadows begin to fall.  The boys had their monthly Verm-X granules in their feed this week and Faro is not too keen on them at all.
And finally....................this Berberis shrub is in full bloom at present, giving plenty of colour.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Lazy days.

Even though the weather has been mild this week the boys still enjoy their hay, both in buckets and also on the ground. Here are Fergus (left), Faro and Fyta having their breakfast hay when during the winter months they used to enjoy their breakfast haylage.
So where was Fidget when the other three boys were eating hay?   In the adjoining paddock, doing his own thing near the water trough and water tray.  Fidget also likes hay but he seems to prefer it later in the day.
After breakfast it's time to wander off to another paddock for a bit of grazing, a bit of sun-bathing or maybe just a snooze.  What a life eh?
We've had some hot weather too this week and as soon as the boys hear the hose filing the water containers they want a spray.  The Grumpy Gardener is giving their 'undercarriages' a hosing down here (he's the one with the sun being reflected off the bald patch!)

Faro with his legs, neck and underside dripping wet before he runs off to roll in the dusty field shelter!
Fyta, also dripping wet, likes to push the other boys out of the way so that he can get wet.  He also rolls in the dust afterwards then normally he and Faro start 'pronking' through the paddocks.
And finally................the Gunnera is coming back to life after the whole winter sleep.  We were also pleased to see the House Martins and Swallows returning last week so they are late in arriving this year.  They are already re-building their nests from last year which are normally used by House Sparrows during the winter - much to the annoyance of the ejected and complaining Sparrows!