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, 24 March 2019

Lovely sunshine!

We've had some nice, sunny spells this week although the wind still has a 'bite' to it.  Faro is enjoying this moment in the sun.
Fergus sees the human approaching with the carrots in a lower paddock so runs to meet him.   Food is the only thing which will make Fergus run!
Fyta - the cheeky chappie - fancies some carrots too and is not scared to get up close to the human and the camera.
Fergus (front) with his mouth full, Faro and Fyta enjoy their carrots in the sunshine.
Whilst all three boys enjoy the sun, Fyta is the one who always sunbathes, lying with his belly facing the sun.  This long range shot shows him lying down being watched over by his pal, Faro.
Another day in the sun and another chance to sunbathe for Fyta whilst the other two boys carry on grazing.
And finally............. some of the fruit growing areas of the garden are showing some progress in the sun.  The rhubarb in front is coming on now, the black currant bushes behind are showing leaves, there are strawberry plants to the left and a gooseberry bush, with brambles (black berries) growing along the fence line on the right. The greatly increased hours of sunlight are doing wonders.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Wet and windy

Here's an interesting shot of Faro, taken from a lower paddock on a wet and windy afternoon this week, with rainbows appearing frequently.  Fyta is lying on the ground but his head can be seen behind Faro, peering at the photographer!
The three amigos - Faro (left), Fyta and Fergus.  We've had plenty of sleet showers this week but no snow to speak of although there is plenty on the hills beyond.
Fergus (left) and Fyta, chewing the cud and having a rest.  Our boys never lie close to each other, except when they are in the shelters, when they are outside they always keep a distance from each other.
Fyta - a lovely alpaca with a laid-back attitude to life,  Why should he worry, he's got his pal Faro to look out for him!
Taken today, Fergus like the other boys has had a good soaking over the past few days during miserable weather.  Today's sunshine will give them a chance to dry out.
Spring is on it's way and this Tree Peony (Paeonia) is already bursting it's buds to reveal the flower heads which should open in May or June.
And finally...........this is the top of the south facing gable end of our house and there are normally 3 House Martin's nests at the very top under the eaves.  They are usually damaged by winter storms but last week the gales brought down all the nests so there will be considerable re-building going on when the Martins return in late April.  Sadly one of the nests had the bodies of 4 young Martins within but we don't know the reason for this.  Something may have happened to the parents, or possibly it is was a late brood just before migration time last Autumn and they were deserted, but it was sad to see.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Dropping temperatures this week.

Faro (left), Fergus and Fyta behind, on the lookout for titbits as usual.  There must be carrots somewhere! The boys have been having their Verm-X granules in their feed this week.
Happy bunnies!  The threatening skies behind the boys hold hail and sleet which has been falling regularly this week.
The boss of everything he surveys!  Faro overlooking the veg plots and Keder greenhouse with Fergus and Fyta in the background.
Last week I couldn't up-load the photos of the boys enjoying themselves rolling in the dust as the Grumpy Gardener was cleaning our their shelter.
Here's another photo of the activities which the boys really enjoy.  They become covered in dust then they stay out in the pouring rain and the dust washes off - perhaps this is a way of cleaning their fleece, who knows?
And finally..............the first couple of bright green shoots of the Giant Himalayan Lily (Cardiocrinum Giganteum) have started to appear, the main one is in the middle of last year's dead plant and the other is below it in the photo. The stem which grows to over 8 feet tall is a hollow tube and the remainder of last year's dead stem can be seen.  The plant dies back completely over winter then the new main stem starts it's remarkable growth which supports large trumpet-like flowers in the summer.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Just a normal week.

Fergus, looking like the bonnie boy that he is!  Look at the length of his eye lashes on the left of the picture.  He looks remarkably dry after the amount of rain we've had this week.
Faro - the boss - looking relaxed but definitely interested to know what the photographer is up to, and not too keen about the camera!
When the Grumpy Gardener goes into the field shelter with a barrow, the boys know that something is happening!  In fact they were being moved to another shelter which causes them to go 'ballistic', rolling about and having plenty of fun.  Unfortunately I'm unable to upload the photo I took of all this hilarity!
However, the boys never lose that sense of being alert to any dangers - in this case they are watching three horses in the adjoining field galloping around their paddocks, so no threat.
And finally............taken this morning at carrot feeding time.  Fyta can't wait to get at his favourite tit-bits, but Fergus looks a bit disgruntled!

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Time to visit the nail bar!

This is a nice shot of Faro taken earlier in the week.  He and the other two boys have enjoyed the mild weather and warm temperatures which we hope to have during the coming week too.
We've often said on this blog that Faro, being the 'guard' alpaca is the boy who is always alert, always inquisitive and always checks out what any human is doing in the paddocks.  This picture tells the story - the Grumpy Gardener appeared pushing a barrow with three buckets of soil, Faro checks it out and the other two boys just carry on grazing, completely unconcerned because they know that Faro is the one who is watching out for them.  Strange - but true!
The other two boys doing what they do best - grazing!  Fyta is in front with Fergus at the rear.
It was a lovely morning yesterday so we decided to clip Fergus's nails.  Normally we would have had to clip the two white boy's nails but as we lost Fidget a few weeks ago, Fergus was on his own.  His nails have always been problematic because some of them do not grow straight and end up becoming twisted.
Fergus does not like having his nails clipped and can be a handful sometimes, like this occasion when part of the 'quick' under the nail was cut, drawing some blood.  Fergus was not concerned by this and was quite happy just to stand and chew some hay!  The bleeding clotted quite quickly and we have been keeping an eye on it since.
Fergus is on his own in the catch pen whilst Fyta takes an interest in what is going on from the outside.   Faro is grazing in the background.
And finally............ our neighbours moved a couple of their horses into an adjoining field and this is 'Crackers' (left) and his older pal 'Blue' getting used to their new surroundings and hoping to get a piece of an alpaca carrot.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Spring-like temperatures.

Fergus and the other boys have been enjoying Spring-like temperatures this week - I think that alpacas and humans can't believe it for this time of year!
Faro, with Fyta and Fergus behind.  Faro has his tail up reminding other alpacas - and humans - who is in charge!
Fyta looks  a bit like a pony in this photo which was taken during a very windy day when his 'top-knot' was being blown from side to side.
Looking down from the house into one of the paddocks.  Fyta and Faro are on the left with Fergus on the right.
Fyta is focused on our neighbour who is walking up the track and close to the trees.  Fyta spends long periods staring at distant objects, trying to work out what they are - and if they are a threat I think!
And finally......... it's great to see the garden slowly coming back to life and the rhubarb has started to show signs of growth.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

An improving week.

It was 'back to square one' at the beginning of the week when we had an overnight dump of snow which deprived the boys of their grass again.
They had plenty of other things to eat however and here they are with their sugar beet.  Unlike sheep, our boys do not scrape the snow to find grass - maybe other people's alpacas do and we just have clever animals who know that the humans will keep them well fed!
By the end of the week most of the snow had disappeared to be replaced by ice.  At one point we penned the boys in one paddock to keep them away from the worst of the ice as they had been sliding badly with Faro falling onto his knees then onto his side a couple of times. This is Fyta enjoying his carrots.
By today the paddocks were largely cleared of snow so the boys were able to graze again.  Fergus doesn't look too impressed, but he is a happy bunny really!
Faro reminding the human that he is in charge of the paddocks and giving a very good facial expression of a camel!
The three boys after having been fed this afternoon.  They have been having Verm X granules in their feed over this past week.  Fergus and Fyta don't mind them but Faro isn't too keen on them - he can usually smell them at the bottom of the bowl and under the feed!
And finally.............snow brings hard work, but it also brings some beautiful images, like this Birch in the garden.