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, 5 April 2020

Happy Spring days.

First photo this week is of Fyta, seen here with his pal Faro behind him.  This was taken first thing in the morning so Fyta is still a bit sleepy and wondering what is going on!
Fergus enjoying his haylage as always.  We gave the boys some sugar beet this week too as it has been a very cold week and they would benefit from the extra feed.  They are all well fleeced up at present however.
The sun is shining on one of the rough paddocks and whilst Fergus lies down and chews the cud, Fyta and Faro carry on grazing.
The boys were in a low lying part of the paddocks so did not see the Grumpy Gardener changing their field shelter.  This is something the boys love to be involved in because they can roll around and enjoy themselves in the shelter.  So when they are called, the boys are a bit hesitant wondering why they are being called - because there is no food on offer!
Eventually, Faro the leader decides to check out why they are being called up to the field shelters......
 Now all the boys have arrived so the fun can begin!  Faro is first to roll, followed by Fyta whilst Fergus watches.
Fergus soon gets into 'rolling mode' with Fyta lying behind Faro.  Soon the dust begins to fly!
Happy days - the boys have all had a good roll and Fyta decides to leave Fergus and Faro to get on with it!
And finally.........adding a touch of Spring colour along the fence line is this Forsythia which is an early flowering shrub.  Best wishes to all blog readers everywhere - hope you are all taking care during this Covid-19 emergency.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

British Summer Time

Faro (front) with his pal Fyta behind on a pretty miserable, wet day - one of several we had at the beginning of the week.
On this particularly miserable day the Grumpy Gardener had decided to hammer in some strengthening posts on a part of the fencing which Fergus loves to rub against!  The 'dynamic duo' were there to witness the proceedings!
Now all three boys are interested with Fergus joining the audience.  Actually he was more interested in whether any food was coming his way!
Almost feed time and water changing - Fyta is always interested in the watering can and often lifts it up in the air when empty.
Taken early this morning whilst the boys were still sleepy - nobody told them about the clocks going forward an hour!
Fyta can hardly wait to start eating his breakfast haylage and the human's hands almost get nibbled in the process!
And finally......... the buds on the Paeony bush burst open this week to reveal the budding flower head on top and all the leaves around it. It's the start of British Summer Time - wish the weather knew that, it's still very cold.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Fun in the sand pit.

Fyta doesn't look too happy but he is really!  Every night this week has been clear and frosty then the days have been sunny with a cold wind - the boys like that.
The sand pit doesn't see a lot of action during the winter, just occasional days but the recent sunny weather has got the boys interested again.  This is Faro (left) and Fyta checking out the sand.
Faro has settled down being quite happy about the sand but Fyta still wants to sniff around for a while.
Eventually Fyta decides that the sand is good enough to roll in - and upsets Faro who has to move.
Fergus comes to check out all the activity in the pit and give Fyta a good sniff!  Faro stands guard!
Happy bunnies at last!  Fergus and Fyta lie on the warming sand and it is not too long before Faro also lies down.
And finally.............. the unmistakeable silhouette of a Red Kite, flying too high for a decent photo but being seen several times a day with his mate.  We have normally had Buzzards nesting in nearby woods, they seem to have disappeared this year and their place has been taken by a pair of Red Kites who are often mobbed by the resident crows.  To finish just a word about the current Coronavirus pandemic.  We have blog readers all over the world from the USA to the Isle of Man, from Taiwan to Germany, from France to Greece - to all of you we ask that you take care of yourselves during these troubling times - please!

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Spring sunshine - and snow!

It was a bit of a shock to the system again at the beginning of the week to discover some overnight snow had fallen.  The boys were so anxious for their breakfast haylage that Faro almost came into the hay store!
Here he is again with his two buddies, Fergus left) and Fyta who are waiting patiently whilst Faro hassles the human!
It wasn't all cold weather this week and by mid-week we had some real Spring weather.  This long range shot shows Fergus and Fyta having a sunbathe whilst Faro, as always, keeps alert in the next paddock.
Faro and Fyta grazing in one of the rough paddocks overlooking Tigh Mhor then away to the Strath Glass hills to the west.
At the other end of the rough paddock Fergus is catching up with some sun-bathing again - after all the wet and dismal weather this winter, the boys deserve it.
As the sun sets in late afternoon, the boys have their pelletised feed then they have some haylage before it gets dark.  The boys also had their Verm-X granules mixed with their feed this week.
And finally................A different shot of Fergus who is lying in a dip in the paddock but still manages to keep an eye on the human who was sitting nearby in a chair, also soaking up the Spring sunshine.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Frosty morning fun.

Fyta - a lovely boy who is ageing gracefully.  All the boys are 14 years of age this summer so they are allowed to slow down a bit!
Fergus on the left and Faro who is Fyta's best pal.  We've had a good week of weather but the frost can still be seen on the ground in this series of photos.
Most of the nights have been frosty but first thing in the mornings the boys get into a paddock which gets the early sunshine.
First thing each morning is when the 'poop-patrol' appears with the human!  Fyta is just checking out the contents!
Faro doing his usual trick of looking in one direction but in reality is keeping an eye all around to see what is going on.
A long distance shot of the boys in their paddock with fresh snow covering Ben Wyvis to the north.
And finally...............at last, some colour appear in the garden again with these crocus plants.  They struggle to open sometimes if there has been a hard frost until the sun warms things up again!

Sunday, 1 March 2020

First day of Spring!

Another week of wintery weather with some snow in the mix.  Fergus has just finished his bowl of sugar beet.
Fyta looks suitably wet and muddy as he too enjoys his beet. The sun has shown on different days however and this has dried the boys' fleece.

There is never much beet left in Faro's bowl - he likes to get every little bit out just in case the others try to steal it!
A peaceful scene!  We find that when there is snow on the ground the boys will not go and forage for grass as sheep do, these guys just wait around to be fed by the humans!
This photo was taken late this morning and it just shows how quickly the snow has melted from the paddocks - and the boys are very pleased!
And finally............ the one (only!) good thing about the snow is that we get to see a great number of animal foot prints around our land when we have overnight snow.  We are used to the deer tracks and lots of rabbit tracks and this week we had a visiting fox leaving his prints but these were from last night and are badger tracks.  Look at the imprints of the claws! I wonder what the alpacas make of all this nocturnal activity near their paddocks?

Sunday, 23 February 2020

It's still very wet!

Another really wet and windy week - we keep wondering where all the water is coming from!  The boys have been wet for most of the time but a little sunshine and wind soon dries them.
Faro - team captain and all-round security guard, always alert and checking any movement anywhere near the paddocks.
Faro's best pal Fyta - looking suitably damp after all the rain.  The boys have had Verm-X granules in their feed all of this week.
The third boy - Fergus, who is also very wet as his top knot shows.  He inherited the brown mark on his right cheek from his late mum who also had one there.
Three wet boys getting stuck into their sugar beet which they've had several times this week when the grass has been very frosty.
What every animal owner likes to see - finished bowls! The boys rarely leave any beet in the bowls, especially in cold weather!
And finally..............taken first thing this morning as the snow was beginning to fall and the boys were having their haylage.  More snow is forecast for tonight then also tomorrow.