OUR SMALL HERD

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.

Clicking!!

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

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!

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Sunshine and showers

Fergus (front), Faro with Fidget in the background.  You can almost hear the question that Fergus and Faro are asking themselves......."Has this human got any goodies to eat?"  Fergus in particular has an intense stare when he thinks that food might be in the offing! 
Not far away from the other three boys in the paddock is Fyta, also quite keen to be fed some goodies, like apples, Swede (turnip) or carrots.  They got some apples!
Although it's not the clearest photo of Faro, this still shows him in a normal pose with his ears back and not looking directly at the camera.
We've had quite a bit of rain this week but midweek saw some good sunshine which helped to dry the boys off a bit.
This is what 'in your face' looks like with Fergus!  He's got plenty of head adornment and a mouthful of grass but he's still looking for goodies to nibble!
Fidget - still wet after a couple of days of rain.  We continue to watch him closely due to his weight reduction but he continues to eat and drink normally.
And finally.........a long shot, taken this afternoon with the boys in the farthest paddock with Ben Wyvis to the north in the background.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Missed in the mist!

The misty weather has been with us for most of this week and sometimes early mornings have been worst. Fidget is waiting for his breakfast here, now that he can see the human appearing through the mist!                              
Fyta is always up for a laugh and often does this when the camera is pointed in his direction, even with a misty background.
This is Faro giving the human and the camera a good checking over, with Fyta behind! The boys have been permanently wet this week because of the mist.
At last the sun is beginning to climb and will soon be shining over the nearby trees.  Fergus (left) and Fyta waiting for breakfast too.
Fyta (left) likes to have some of his haylage hand-fed then he gets the under side of his chin tickled.  Fergus (right) is not interested in chin tickling!
Fidget demonstrates the correct way to eat haylage!  Fyta is at the rear and the boys appear happier now that the mist has lifted.
The Grumpy Gardener has been in the veg garden a lot this week, turning over the plots before the winter weather arrives and also re-positioning some fruit bushes.
And finally............ the boys at sunset today near their shelter, with a dusting of snow evident on the hills and a forecast of windy weather for the coming week.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Chillier weather

Daily feed time around 3.00pm is always a highlight for the boys.  From around 2.00pm onwards Fergus starts to look intently towards our house hoping that a human bearing food will appear! From the left, Fergus, Faro and Fyta.
Fidget - last as usual but no less interested in his food.  Sorry about the quality of this photo, it's a bit hazy.
Fidget again. This time enjoying a handful of haylage before bedding down for the night.
All four boys have heads down and tucking into their haylage.
This photo was taken around 8.15am one day earlier this week.  We've had some frost this week so Fyta (left) and Fidget are ready for their morning haylage.  They have a big handful in the mornings then late afternoon and their hay buckets are also filled for them to help themselves.  They can be messy eaters in their shelter with their hay, but outside they are 'hoovering' up every piece of haylage off the ground.  I think they enjoy it!
And finally.............Fergus enjoying his morning haylage with Faro behind him.


Sunday, 11 November 2018

Pronking!

Two of our boys, Faro and Fyta, often take off 'pronking' across the paddocks.  For those readers who have never seen alpacas 'pronking', the animals seem to bounce on all four legs at once instead of running normally.  It's lovely to watch and we think the boys are happy when they are doing this.  In this photo, Fergus is in the background, watching - he doesn't pronk!
Faro and Fyta go pronking off, overtaking Fidget who is in front here, taking  a leisurely walk.  Fidget doesn't do pronking either!
In a couple of seconds Fyta and Faro are pronking in a far paddock with Fyta deciding to chase a crow on the ground!
After all the excitement, Faro decides to have a break and watch the others catch up.  Faro can outrun all the other boys, followed by Fyta, Fergus then Fidget (who normally doesn't do running either!)
The other three have now caught up with Faro - Fyta in front, Fergus and Fidget at the back (as usual!)
This week was Verm-X granules time for the boys but that is not why Fergus is putting on a face.  Yesterday we trimmed his and Fidget's nails and Fergus decided to spit in the air as a warning to alpacas and humans that he was not impressed by this activity!  The spitting produces this open mouthed, dripping scene which lasts about five minutes.  We give him a handful of hay which helps and he is eating normally after about ten minutes.
And finally............this was the scene at 8.00am today, Remembrance Sunday, as the sun was climbing and the boys were waiting for their haylage near their shelter.  The white in the middle of the photo is not water or the sea, but mist rising from the River Beauly below.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Still enjoying the sun.

Another sunny day and the human has approached one of the field shelters pushing a barrow - that's enough activity to get any alpacas interested!  Faro leads his pals Fergus, Fyta and Fidget to see what is going on.
Faro can always be counted on to be first to check out any human or any activity going on in the paddocks.  He's a 'one-off' and has a totally different attitude to the other three boys.
Fergus (left) and Fyta with the strong morning sunshine getting in Fyta's eyes.  By now the boys suspect that they might just get into a closed off shelter for a roll in the dust as the human is working in there!
Here they are waiting outside the shelter, from the left Fidget, Fergus, Fyta and Faro.
Give these boys an inch and they'll take a mile!  All four get into the shelter and do what they love best - rolling in the dust.  Fidget and Faro are rolling with the other two about to start.  They really enjoy this activity.
For the earlier part of the week we had sharp overnight frosts but that meant clear, sunny days.  This long range shot is of the boys in the farthest away paddock enjoying the sun with the bulk of the snow capped Ben Wyvis in the distance.
And finally............ yesterday and today have produced gales for us and when this happens the boys tend to hit the ground in a hollow in a paddock and let the wind blow over their heads.  Clever 'pacas!

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Seafield Alpacas and snow!

We paid a visit further north this week to see Alison and Brendan at Seafield Alpacas in Portmahomack, Ross Shire. This was a nice visit with lovely friends and very photogenic boys.  In front is Flynn, then Chocolate behind him and Echo (Wee Eck) at the rear.  The white boy at the rear is Gully and in front of him is Merlin.
This is Gully who is the tallest in the herd and just as good looking as always.  He's a lovely boy with a terrific 'top knot!'
And just look at these two cuties - Flynn on the left with Chocolate who has a piece of clover sticking from his mouth.  Aren't they lovely?
This is Merlin getting up close and personal with 'mum' Alison with Flynn behind.  Merlin is such a friendly character and not at all phased by humans in close proximity.  In fact this is a very laid back herd, obviously very happy with acres to run about in and being well looked after by the humans!
Isn't Flynn a really handsome boy?   Like all alpacas he's also very inquisitive. Thanks for being lovely hosts, Alison and Brendan - great to see the boys again and Milo & Jasper the dogs too.
Back home again and it's that time of year once more for Halloween and pumpkin soup.  Faro, Fyta and Fergus aren't sure whether to eat the pumpkin or run away from it!  Fidget is way back on the sky-line, he's not coming any closer!
As forecast, yesterday morning saw a dusting of snow around so the boys were keen to get more hay to eat for breakfast.  They had already emptied the four hay buckets.  We'll start giving them some haylage as well as their hay next week as we get into a winter feeding routine.
And finally.............. this was the scene viewed from our house early yesterday morning and before the sun had properly risen.  Winter's a-coming!