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.


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

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Missing Fidget in the wintry weather.

We've had a change to much more wintry weather here over the last few days. Only a dusting of snow but the overnight temperatures have been down to -6 degrees.  The three boys are enjoying their carrots and apple in the mid morning sunshine. It's now just over a week since Fidget went to sleep and we can tell that the boys know that he is missing and Fergus, middle, above appears to be missing his white pal.  We often notice him just standing looking into distance. As a sense of smell is so important to alpacas in identification of other herd members, especially around the poo piles, there is no doubt that they will smell Fidget around the paddocks for some time.
Fyta (right) gets his teeth into  a bit of apple.   We had such a good crop of apples last year that we still have a box of cookers (Bramleys and Howgate Wonders) which the boys enjoy with the carrots.
Not a very clear photo but this was taken about 8.15 on a very cold morning this week as the boys get stuck into some breakfast haylage.
During the couple of days when the ground was frozen and the grass was covered, we gave them sugar beet as a supplement and they enjoy this.
And finally.............meet the boys' neighbours, always foraging for food and when we go out to feed  the alpacas, as if by magic they appear at the fence!

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Fidget RIP

We had a very sad day yesterday when we had to call the Vet to come and put Fidget to sleep. Not a nice decision to have to make but one that animal lovers everywhere will understand.
For some time now as we've said on past blogs we've been keeping a close eye on his condition.  He was having difficulty going to the toilet and whilst he was eating and drinking well, he had lost weight and condition.
Our vet had recently given him a thorough checking over but we decided against any intrusive exploratory surgery for Fidget.  Instead we kept a close eye on him deciding that at the slightest sign of distress or pain we would recall the vet.
In the event he kept eating and drinking well but became less willing to wander between the paddocks.  On Saturday he was clearly unable to go to the toilet, had stopped eating properly and was lying down frequently.  The Vet's conclusion was that his heart had weakened considerably and agreed with our decision not to allow his deteriorating condition and quality of life to continue.  We could not allow Fidget to become distressed.
Here is Fidget in his usual place at the back of the line up with Fergus in front of him, then Fyta and led by Faro.  Fidget always did his own thing, was always at the back of the queue and often enjoyed his own company knowing that the other boys were nearby.  These boys are nearly all 13 years old and we got them together from Ardo Alpacas in Aberdeenshire, when they were around 1 year old.  Now that he has gone, his three pals have been quiet today and appear to be looking out for him, but this will pass with time.
And finally...............Fidget, looking good in the sand-pit during 2016 when he was at his best.  He'll be missed by us for sure, and by his alpaca pals.  Rest in peace, Fidget.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Into the New Year

Another week of reasonable weather, often with sunny periods like this photo of Fidget enjoying some carrots and apple on the ground beside him.
Fidget is a slow eater and the other boys have finished their rations, so they look as if they may try to get his share.
No chance, as Fidget chases them away!  Ah well, maybe next time.
BOOO!       (Faro with Fyta behind)
The grass is getting well nibbled now and there is very little growth, even though the weather is mild. There is a reserve paddock in the background just in case the grazing dies completely over the winter - note the fresher colour!
And finally...............Faro, the main man, ignoring the human with the camera, which is unusual.  Maybe he's made a New Year's resolution to be more accommodating to the photographer!

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Festive fun!

You can almost hear Faro saying, " 'ello, 'ello, what have we here then?" as he surveys two gifts given to us over the Christmas period.
Now you can almost hear Fergus saying, "Are they chocolate - can we eat them?!"  Lovely gifts, but not edible, Fergus!
Fyta takes a much more cautious view of these gifts and keeps his distance from them.  Fidget, as always, is a long way off at the bottom of the paddock.
We've been blessed with very mild weather during Christmas week, daytime temperatures of 10 degrees c are pretty unusual at this time of the year around here.  Faro (left), Fyta and Fergus are in this shot.
Not really the 'awkward squad' (unless they want to be at nail clipping time!), Fidget (right) has joined his three pals for this photo.
After operating the digital camera for years, the Grumpy Gardener has found out how to set the date........!  This is Fyta waiting for Hogmanay and the New Year.
Blog readers will know that we usually have a jig-saw, or two, on the table around Christmas as an antidote to the seasonal TV programmes.  This is one of this year's efforts, a 1000 piece jigsaws entitled. 'The Bake Off.'
And finally...........people are so generous with their Christmas gifts.  From the left, this lovely Llama to hang on the tree (thanks Amy), the trendy alpaca lunch bag (thanks Alison & Brendan) and the little alpaca who is nice and snug wrapped up in a hand made blanket and ready to hang on the tree (thanks Julia). Best wishes to all our blog readers for a peaceful and successful 2019.  Take care.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Christmas greetings.

The four boys, from the left Faro, Fyta, Fergus and Fidget, on a gloomy day hoping that the carrot and apple mixture will taste nice!
Fidget has the most intense stare of all the alpacas - especially if he thinks that the human is hiding more food!
Aaah, nothing better than a mouthful of haylage!  This is Fyta, tucking into his favourite breakfast and enjoying every strand.
The boys had their shelter changed this week and they know instantly that a change is coming when we start to undo the gates.  Fergus is waiting for the gates to open because he knows what comes next.............
It's 'roll in the dust' time again!  Faro (right) is already rolling with Fergus and the other two boys are getting ready.
A few minutes of this rolling activity in their wet fleece and the inevitable happens..... Fergus is on the ground and covered in wet dust!
Faro - another intense stare, but not quite so piercing as Fidget's stare.  We've had these boys for almost 12 years but Faro still likes to check us out, always inquisitive and protective of his pals.
And finally.................to all our blog readers, wherever you may be in the world, we wish you a very peaceful and happy Christmas.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Sunrise, a visit and a Kestrel.

Considering the dire weather warnings this week, we were lucky to have escaped the storm which hit further south. We've had a mixture of weather, including sunny days like this when Fyta (left) and Faro were more interested in a passing cat than they were in the human!
At the beginning of the week we had amazing sunrises, this was taken just after 8.00am when it was still quite gloomy and the boys were being fed.
The boys are not interested in fiery sunrises, only food, and they are at the bottom right of the photo eating their haylage as the light display goes on above them.
We had a lovely visit mid-week from Alison and Brendan of Seafield Alpacas at Portmahomack.  Visitors mean 'goodies' and the boys soon gather around.
Alison feeds Faro whilst Fyta and Fergus both try and get their heads into the bowl which I am holding!
Fidget is also with the group, on the right, but as always he tends to keep a respectable distance from humans!  It was lovely to see you once again Alison and Brendan, thanks for the visit.
By the end of the week the clear, starlit nights meant frost so the first morning task is to get rid of the ice from the water troughs.
And finally..............a sad ending to the blog.  Last weekend we had seen a Kestrel sitting on our garage roof then on the roof of a neighbour's house.  Normally a human coming close to a Kestrel would mean that the bird would immediately take off, but this one seemed to be unwilling to move, but eventually it did.  We felt that the bird was either unwell or injured. On Tuesday we found the bird lying dead in a paddock at the foot of a fence-post where presumably it had been sitting. It appeared uninjured so the cause of death is unknown.  We buried her with dignity in the garden.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Munching swedes and things.

This is Faro (left) and his big pal, Fyta - the Terrible Twins, the Dynamic Duo, they are never very far from each other.
Fergus pictured here and Fidget are white alpacas and have different natures all together from Faro & Fyta. Fergus is enjoying some swede (turnip) in this photo.
You can't help feeling that Fyta (right) is getting a telling-off from Fergus!  The boys are still wet after days of rain and mist so a good dry breeze is needed now to dry them off.
Fidget is also enjoying his swede.  This week the boys have had a daily mixture of Swede, carrot and apple - not pampered are they?
What happens when Faro (right) comes into the personal space of Fidget whilst he, Fidget is enjoying his swede?  The camel-like motions start, the head is lowered, the neck is outstretched and Fidget makes camel noises.  If Faro does not back away he is likely to be spat at by Fidget.
And Faro decides that he will do without a bit of Fidget's swede today, and walks away!  The boys have had their Verm-X granules mixed with their daily feed this week and Faro is not keen on this, unlike the others.
This is Fyta's 'superior' look where he looks down his nose at the human with the camera!  He's not shy, he's very photogenic - I think he needs an Agent!
And finally............the Grumpy Gardener has been doing his 'All muck and magic' routine this week by spreading the composted 'paca dung onto the veg garden.  Good crops are assured in 2019!