OUR SMALL HERD

Our original 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, 22 September 2019

Summer returned - for 2 days!

Faro (left) and Fyta in the sand pit which has been in full use this week as we had a couple of days of scorching sunshine. Faro's nose shows he's been rolling in the sand!
And here he is in close-up, his nose and whiskers covered in sand as were his legs and under-carriage.
The water trays were also in full use this week.  Fyta is getting splashed here with Fergus waiting for his turn.  He is still holding up his leg when he stands and is not taking his full weight on his fore-leg yet.
Even the Grumpy Gardener was called in to hoze the undercarriages which the boys all love when the heat gets too much.
After the hozing-down comes a lie-down in the sandpit once more.  Fergus enjoying the sunshine and sand!
A long range shot of all the boys in the sand pit at once.  When we had 4 boys they couldn't quite all fit in comfortably, but these 3 boys can.
And finally.....................the sunflowers have burst into flower this week with the strong sunshine.  Plenty of butterflies around the garden and this flower has attracted lots of insects including the wasp at the bottom.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Autumn has arrived.

Fergus - still limping around the paddocks after his accident 7 weeks ago, but getting on OK and grazing well.
If there is one thing that Fergus hates it's if another alpaca comes close to him when he's eating his carrots!  This is the result - Fergus indicating to Fyta to move away or he will spit!
All three boys are normally quite happy grazing alongside each other however.  Fyta is in the background and Faro is in the middle.
We've had gales for most of this week and horizontal rain yesterday, but sometimes the sun appears and it gets hot for the boys.
This looks like the middle of the night but in fact it's only 8.00pm, Fergus photographed as the boys' paddock is being closed up for the night.
Another windy day as indicated by the raspberry bushes blowing about and with Faro keeping an eye on the human taking the photos!
This is the last large flower on any of the Buddleia bushes around our garden and the Peacock butterfly is making good use of it!  The Swallows and House Martins have all flown south now - hope to see them again next Spring.
And finally...........success with his runner beans for the Grumpy Gardener.  He hasn't been as lucky with his brassicas - the caterpillars have won this year!

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Late summer sunshine.

The 'dynamic duo' - Fyta (left) and Faro on the hunt for carrots or tit-bits from the human.
A long way behind is Fergus who can be seen in the background, still limping badly but getting around. Faro is alert - tail and ears up!
Fergus makes it to the carrots and soon finishes them off.  The boys have been on their Verm-X granules with their feed this week, the last doze was today so they will be pleased not to have any more until next month!
We've had a couple of nice days this week (for a change!) so whilst the humans are busy in the garden and cutting grass, the boys take it easy in the sunshine.
Fergus again - another day and another handful of carrot slices!
Cheeky boy - Fyta, always wanting to get his nose into the camera lens and pose for a photo!
And finally.........A view down on the boys in their paddocks from a different angle.  Faro is easily seen walking up hill, Fyta is behind a small pine in the middle and Fergus is at the bottom left, in front of the Gunnera plant.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

A wet start to the day.

Early morning in the field shelter after pouring rain overnight.  The boys stay in the shelter if it is heavy rain so they are nice and dry!  Fyta (left) Faro and Fergus wait for the human to fill up their hay buckets again for breakfast.
A picture taken from inside the shelter with rain still falling outside.  The boys will finish their hay before venturing out to get wet! We've had heavy downpours during this week.
Fyta (front) and Faro - the 'dynamic duo', always up to a bit of mischief and chasing each other around the paddocks.  They have different natures from Fergus who is much less energetic although all three boys are the same age.
A familiar pose from Faro who, if he is disturbed during his hay munching, will stand like this with a mouthful of hay!
Fergus - gradually getting more mobile after his leg injury.  He still limps badly but gets around all the paddocks now, following the other two boys and grazing well.  He's a lovely boy.
A feature of the weather this week has been the gales and when this happens the boys tend to lie down in a hollow in the paddock below our house. Alpaca owners will be familiar with the 'burnt' grass area around the poo piles, seen here at top right.
And finally..........part of the Grumpy Gardener's haul of onions this summer which is better than he expected.  They are laid out in the garage to dry before being hung from the rafters over winter.  The varieties are 'Red Baron' (front) and 'Sturon'.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Better weather - and visitors from Greece!

The sand-pit is a favourite place to be for the three boys, Faro (left), Fyta (middle) and Fergus.  On warm days they like to lie on the sand and with better weather this week it has been much in use.
Fergus is still limping with his injured left front leg but he manages to get into the sand-pit now, something he has not been able to do comfortably for a while.
The weather has been better this week and we've been able to cut the grass in the paddocks for the first time in weeks.  The grass has grown thick and long with the amount of rain we've had and the fact that it has not been cut.
Due to his injured leg we've held Fergus and the boys in two paddocks so that he did not have to walk too far. This week we have opened up another paddock for them to graze in.
As if to show that he is able to stand up and walk even on this sloping paddock, Fergus obliges by posing for the photographer!
Now here is a lovely story.  We are used to tourists stopping nearby to look at the alpacas but yesterday, three campervans stopped en route to Loch Ness and this extended family from Greece visited to look at the boys.  They were a lovely group and even used a drone to film their visit - much to the surprise of the alpacas, that was the first time they had seen and heard a drone. This photo was taken after I had done some impromptu spinning to show them how the fleece is used.  The children especially liked the soft fleece and took away some samples to take back to their schools.  Thank you all for your visit, it was lovely to meet you, and thanks for the lovely gift which you gave us from Greece.  We hope you found Loch Ness and 'Nessie!'  Take care and enjoy the rest of your holiday in Scotland.
And finally............ the Echinops (Globe thistle) flowers on the left attract lots of bees and they make a nice contrast with the red berries of the Rowan (Mountain Ash) behind.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Fergus improves - weather does not!

The rainy weather continues here unfortunately with grass growing thick and lush and everyone struggling to get theirs cut.  The boys are not concerned by this - more for them to eat!
Faro (left) and Fergus whose leg injury continues to improve - albeit quite slowly.  He has some chunks of carrot to eat here.
And here he is chewing the carrot!  His left front leg is still bent but he is putting more body weight on it now.
Of course he still likes 'Mum' to give him a cuddle and to hand feed him every afternoon!  Faro and Fyta look on.
The damp, muggy weather this summer has made all the plants grow well and Fyta and Faro are shown here with the Gunnera plant behind them.  The plant was quite damaged by late frost but has made a terrific recovery.
And finally........... another photo of Fergus who has been spending quite a lot of time recently lying down in his favourite field shelter.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

More rain than sun this summer!

Faro (left) Fyta and Fergus enjoying a rare sunny morning lying in the sand pit together. The weather has been generally miserable this week with lots of torrential rain and thunder - we even suffered power cuts one day when a thunderstorm broke right over this area.
Fyta (front) and Faro who have been very supportive of Fergus during his recent struggles with his injured left leg.  We have opened up a third paddock to allow them to wander more freely, but not too far, as Fergus can only still walk a short distance without lying down.
The three boys with Fergus on the right, still not putting full weight on his injured left leg.
Faro, always the security guard and always ready to run to the aid of his two pals if he thinks that a human is going to interfere with them.
Fergus, taken a couple of days ago with a handful of hay to keep him chewing! He enjoys his hay and because he hasn't been grazing so much as the other boys since his injury, we make sure that there is always hay available for him.
And just to prove that he does enjoy his hay, he gets up and starts eating it!  Note his injured left leg.
And finally............ this is a daily gathering of some of this summer's House Martin broods, under the eaves of our house.  We've only had six mating couples this year but they have produced some lovely youngsters who are all now on the wing and getting stronger ready for their migration south in a few weeks time.