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, 14 July 2019

Shearing time again.

The boys always know when something unusual is going to happen in the paddocks because the humans start shifting gates and hurdles around.  They hang around looking concerned and wondering what is going on.
Fyta and Faro know that if the hurdles are being shifted then there is every possibility that they will end up in the catch pen for something - maybe nail trimming, maybe haltering - and maybe shearing! We've had these boys for 12 years now so they know what to expect.
Fergus is a pretty laid back kind of guy who will let other herd members make the decision and he will follow them.  Being sheared isn't his favourite pastime however so he likes to scream a bit!
Today, the morning of the shearing and the boys are waiting the arrival of the shearer - real anticipation showing on their faces now as the catch pens are waiting to hold them.
Number two on the shearing list is Fyta who is shown here being sheared by James Dixon who has sheared varying numbers of alpacas for us over the past 11 years and always makes a great job of it.
And finally..............Faro was first on the shearing list as always, and also had his teeth attended to so I guess a mouthful of hay is welcome to take the taste of the dentist away!

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Not exactly summer weather!

I think Fergus is looking forward to being sheared next weekend! Mind you, with the cold weather we've had over the past few days, the boys are probably better off with their coats still on!
Faro (left) and Fyta enjoying grazing amongst all the wild flowers.  The boys have all been on their Verm-X granules this week, mixed with their feed.
Fergus (left), Faro and Fyta with Fyta in the long grass which he likes.
Feed time and the boys all scramble downhill and across the paddocks to get fed.
We've had a couple of decent, sunny days during the past week and when that happens, the boys hit the ground with Fyta and Fergus in the sand-pit.
It's the daily poop-patrol and Fyta and Fergus check out what the human is up to with his barrow and scoops!
And finally.................Delphiniums amongst the other flowers and grasses.  A lovely splash of colour.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Phew - it's been hot!

We have had a couple of scorching days this week but thankfully not as hot as some places in UK.  The boys won't be sheared for another 2 weeks so they have to try to keep cool.  This is Fyta (left) and Fergus keeping cool, lying in the long grass specifically left uncut for them - and the bees and insects. We've also had lots of thundery downpours this week so it has not been wall to wall sunshine!
Fyta's favourite pastime in the heat is to be in the water tray, this time being watched over by his pal Faro.
A kiss for the human from Fyta as more cold water gets poured into the water tray. The water hoze has been in action too this week, sometimes at 8.00am after another balmy night.
Fergus carries a heavy fleece and spends a lot of time in the sandpit or in the field shelter if the sun is blazing down.  All three boys tend to just lie down in the heat and move around as little as possible.
The heat does not put the boys off their daily feed.  Fergus (left) and Faro run towards the feeding area, leaving Fyta sleeping nearby in the sun!
After repeated calling, Fyta wakes up and gets the food message.  Here he is running to catch up with the other two boys.
We have had hares in the paddocks for some weeks and this is very unusual.  We see plenty of rabbits around but hares are rarely seen, so we take plenty of interest in them.  We've seen one leveret in the long grass so there are probably others around. We think this is Mrs Hare who ran out of the paddock as the mower passed and decided on some shade in the garden.   you may have to magnify this shot to see her more clearly.
And finally...........the strong sunshine has brought out these Irises planted in pots in a wall.  Lovely colours, aren't they?

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Not bothered!

We are still having plenty of rain in the north but we are also having some good sunny periods.  The boys love the sand pit and Faro (left) and Fyta are taking advantage of it in the sun.
The sun and wind have also dried out a lot of the grass which we haven't been able to mow so far this season.  The boys are not bothered by the sound of the Iseki sit-on mower in their paddock.
Faro (left) and Fergus just putting up with the noise of the mower as it gets closer.  They do eventually get out of the way!
An initial strip has been mowed and Faro decides he quite likes that and lies down. We moved to another paddock to give them a bit of peace after this !
The boys have not yet been sheared so they are still carrying their winter fleece which must be hot for them.  Fergus has the right idea here!
Mid-afternoon and time for the daily, pelletised feed.  Fergus at the rear, then Fyta and Faro at the front - and that is the order in which they always get fed.
And finally - aren't these purple Iris lovely?  There are still some to come out but unfortunately they do not last too long - especially in the rain.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

The ageing process.

Another day, another photo of Fergus! At 13 years old he is beginning to slow down a bit now and likes to lie in the field shelter quite a lot.  We are certain that he misses Fidget in the herd quite a bit.
Fyta (left) and Faro.  These two rogues are far more energetic than Fergus although they too have slowed down a bit now - they are also 13 years old.
Time for a group photo I think!  Faro in front of his pals in his usual protective stance!
During hot weather and before the boys get sheared they often look to have the hoze spraying their underparts.  Fergus and Faro here hoping that the hoze will get switched on soon.
Fyta - an alpaca with a lovely nature, and very inquisitive.
Faro - an alpaca with a slightly more robust nature - and very protective!
And finally.......... these Irises have been in flower for some time but now they are beginning to die back.  They are a lovely colour.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

'Tail-end Charlie!'

A human approaches with carrots and the boys are instantly interested!  Faro (left) is always first to arrive, followed by Fergus and Fyta has now taken over as 'tail-end Charlie'.
The Grumpy Gardener has been hard at work during the week using the Grillo to cut the longer grass on the sloping paddocks.
It's been a week of weather extremes from scorching sunshine to thunder and lashing rain but the boys have coped with it all.  This time last year we were in a heatwave - I don't think that will happen again any time soon!
A picture of the boys taken under a very busy sky mid-week.
An inquisitive Faro keeping an eye on the photographer.  The boys have been on their Verm-X granules with their feed this week - not a combination which Faro enjoys!
The boys spot 'Mum' approaching the gate with their daily feed, and go to get it.  Fyta (Tail-end Charlie!) again at the rear.
And finally..........Euphorbia,  a lovely colour of red in the garden at this time of year.  It dies away to ground level over the winter then there is terrific growth during spring and summer.

Monday, 3 June 2019

One misty morning.

We haven't been able to share the hot weather which many parts of UK have had over the past week.  We've had lots more rain and some misty mornings - like this one in these photos.  Here are the boys waiting for the gate to be opened to allow them to wander the paddocks.
As I've mentioned before, there is a great dealing of sleepy standing around first thing in the mornings - and the usual scratching!
A typical sight in the morning outside the field shelter with hay buckets all over the place.  Fyta usually manages to carry this one outside to be dumped!
Morning routine is getting under way with the boys having breakfast hay!  From the left, Fyta, Fergus and Faro.
It wouldn't be feeding time without a bit of an argument.  Fyta, lying down is warning Fergus to keep off his purple bucket!
Faro, looking alert - as always!
And finally..........the Ligularia on the right is growing well and yellow flowers will emerge in due course.  On the left is the Rodgersia with badly affected leaves after overnight frosts a couple of weeks ago.