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, 17 November 2019

'Pacas, Pike & pods!

Faro enjoying some haylage after a day of rain leaving him looking pretty wet. This week has given us rain, lots of mist and some very frosty nights. 
Fyta in front, then Faro and Fergus at the rear waiting to go into the rough paddocks on a frosty morning.
A long range shot, early morning mid week with the boys near their field shelter.  The sun is coming up over the hill behind and shining on the mountains to the west.
The trio just hanging about waiting for their mid afternoon feed - from the left: Fyta, Faro and Fergus (chewing some haylage!)
Another day, another long range shot of the boys in the rough paddock looking north to Ben Wyvis in the distance.
The neighbourhood super-mouser 'Pike' taken today sitting on top of the composting bins in the garden just waiting for his prey to appear!
And finally.............the annual bursting open of the Peony tree seed pods.  These shiny black pods (almost) look good enough to eat!

Sunday, 10 November 2019

More seasonal weather.

The boys have had quite a mixture of weather to contend with this week having been soaked for most of last week!  Midweek, and the hail and snow started falling and Fyta (left) and Faro were unimpressed!
Fyta returned to the field shelter where he could eat some haylage, in the dry and out of the wintery weather.
Faro is often outside in all weathers, but where Fyta goes then Faro will follow - and vice versa! Being the 'guard' alpaca, Faro always positions himself at the door when the boys are inside whereas the other two tend to stay at the back.
Fergus on the other hand went outside for his handful of haylage. He does not always follow the other two boys and often does his own thing around the paddocks.
Then all three boys wanted feeding outside!  There is either hay or haylage in their buckets all the time but sometimes these guys just want to eat off the ground.
A long range view of the boys to the right of their field shelter with the snowy Strath Glass hills away to the West.  We had a visit from two lovely people this week who hope to own alpacas in the future - the boys enjoyed meeting you and getting their carrots!  Good luck with your project!
And finally.............. during the frosty weather the cobwebs are everywhere to be seen, normally they are never noticed.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

A frosty night.

Midweek and the overnight temperature had dropped to minus 5 degrees. It was the coldest night of the winter so far and after a hesitant start the boys started to emerge from  the field shelter.  Fergus, wasn't too impressed by the outside  temperature!
For the first time this winter we have started giving the boys a handful of haylage first thing in the morning and last thing at night/  Faro (left) and Fyta are enjoying their breakfast!
Eventually, Fergus emerges into the sunlight and frost to enjoy some haylage, like the other two boys!
Later in the morning the boys enjoy their carrots and Swede (turnip) mix. They love to crunch their way through these veg.
Faro surveys his territory on a frosty morning.  We are pleased with the way Faro is eating his feed these days, he clears his dish almost daily - that's a far cry from his worrying, 'picky' eating habits in the past.
Fergus (left) and Fyta at the other field shelters, enjoying the clear, frosty morning and autumnal/winter colours.
And finally....... the Gunnera took a severe hit with the frost.  The leaves were beginning to wilt after the summer but the overnight frost killed them off completely and the Grumpy Gardener, on the following morning, cut them all back and used them as over-wintering protection for the crowns of the plant.  The crowns will stay covered now until late Sporing, 2020.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

It's pumpkin time again!

The boys are naturally inquisitive and take an interest in anything which is unusual.  The pumpkin lantern only comes around once a year so Fyta checks it out to see if it is worth eating!
Whilst Fyta does the checking, Faro (left) keeps a discreet distance from this strange, orange object with the smiling features!
Fergus takes a much more laid back approach to this colourful object and is happy for Fyta to check it out.
After the pumpkin fun it's time to resume grazing on a lovely, sunny afternoon before the sun starts to set.
Faro, ever alert, likes to be bossy and in charge of everything, but he's a big softie really - when he wants to be!
Fergus's appetite has returned after his leg injury and he can 'hoover' up his granulated feed in no time at all. Faro and Fyta are much slower eaters always chewing their feed whilst Fergus seems to gulp it down.
And finally............. the pumpkin, made by the Grumpy Gardener, is off to a Day Centre for adults with Learning Disabilities whilst the boys in the background soak up the last of the setting sun's rays.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Boys, Heron & Sorbus!

The start of another day and the boys are wondering what to do first - eat some hay or do a bit of grazing?  They chose the hay!  Fyta in front, Faro behind and Fergus at the rear.
Fergus with rear leg raised ready to have a scratch!  His front left leg injury means that he still bends the leg quite a bit, but it is getting stronger.
Best pals - Fyta (front) and Faro behind.  These guys always stick together and are rarely too far apart.
Fyta looks like he's studying the 'busy' sky above him.  These clouds produced heavy rain showers and misty mornings this week.
We did have some pleasant afternoon sunshine some days and when this happened, the boys decided to 'chill!'
Midweek and we went to walk along the Caledonian Canal in Inverness where the canal enters the Beauly Firth.  There is a Heronry nearby and one of the inhabitants was on a fishing expedition on a lovely morning.
And finally...............  we have various Rowan (Mountain Ash) trees around the land but this Sorbus has white berries whereas the others have red berries.  It is a young tree and this is the first year we have had a good crop of berries on it.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

A quiet week.

Faro - the main man, strutting his stuff across the paddock!  He has been eating his daily feed well throughout the summer but that has not always been the case.  He has always been a 'picky' eater and rarely guards his food - if another alpaca approaches him whilst eating he normally wanders off leaving the feed.
We can't say that Fyta is a 'picky' eater - should have called him 'Hoover!  Here he is this week checking out the hedge cuttings which the Grumpy Gardener is putting on the bonfire.
Fergus - not at all 'picky' with food - should have called him 'Dyson!'  The boys have all been on their Verm-X granules mixed with the feed this week. Fergus's injured left front leg continues to improve - he's still limping but not so dramatically!
Fyta and Faro checking out the couple of horses and their riders who are passing on the nearby road.
And the two pals once again, this time enjoying their carrot and Swede (turnip) slices in the sunshine.  The Swedes are now nice and tasty and the boys really like them.
And finally..........some autumnal colours in the garden during a very windy day this week.  The Sunflower is one of a few dotted around the garden.  The very big giant Sunflowers have all shed their flowers now so it's nice to see these smaller ones.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

A normal week and a mystery flower.

Faro coming to meet the human who has entered the paddock (with carrots!) Fyta is behind and Fergus behind him.
The boys have enjoyed reasonable daytime weather this week but on 3 consecutive mornings we have had to scrape frost from the car windscreen.  Winter is a-coming!
The Grumpy Gardener has made a start on the annual mammoth hedge cutting project now that most of the wasps have gone.  Faro and Fyta are curious as to why he is taking this photo from the top of an orchard ladder.
Fergus continues to do his own 'thing' around the place, going at his speed and certainly not running about as Faro and Fyta do from time to time.
Fergus again, taken this afternoon at feed time.  Today is the start of a week-long doze of Verm-X granules in their feed - Faro is not impressed!  It is interesting that Fergus inherited the brown mark on his right cheek from his mother who had an identical one.
The three boys, taken on a damp and drizzly day today, after their feed.  The weather forecast for the days ahead is for more rain - oh dear!
And finally.............this bright yellow flower appeared this week and the hand written name tag in the ground nearby says it is a Salicifolium (Yellow Ox Eye). We are not totally convinced as we think it could be one of the Inula family.  None of the photos we've seen of either flower identifies it positively.  Perhaps we'll ask the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) for an opinion.