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, 19 January 2020

Storm Brendan pays a visit!

The 'dynamic duo' - Faro (left) and Fyta, the best of pals and always together.  Where one goes, the other will be sure to follow.
The start of the week saw Storm Brendan raging over the north and north west of Scotland with very high winds and accompanied by horizontal rain at times.  When the wind blows hard, the boys 'go to ground' in a dip in the ground and sheltered by a nearby hedge.
Whilst Brendan was doing it's best to create problems for humans, we decided to give the boys some extra feed of sugar beet.
Fyta making a meal of his beet!  He usually tips the bowl over with his foot after a few minutes and eats from the ground.
When the wind and driving rain and sleet get too bad there is always the field shelter to which the boys can retreat.
Fergus forgets all about the bad weather and concentrates on eating his hay.  As the boys grow older we note that they spend more time in the shelter during bad weather - clever boys!
And finally................this photo of sunset was taken late this afternoon, looking towards the south west - perhaps we'll have a calmer day tomorrow.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

A cold and windy week.

Fyta, well fleeced up for the winter, keeping an eye on the human and hoping that he brings some tit-bits to eat.
Fergus, still limping very slightly after last summer's injury to his front left leg.  It doesn't appear to bother him however and he keeps up with the other two boys on their wanderings around the paddocks.
Faro in his classic 'ears back' pose.  He presently has a wet right eye which he often has in winter and sometimes a teardrop will roll down his cheek.  We bathe his eye if it appears to become a problem.
Haylage time for Fyta (front) and Faro with Fyta showing just how much he enjoys munching his way through the feed.
And not to be left out, Faro poses too with a mouthful of haylage.  The boys have been on Verm X granules with their feed this week.
This has been a wet and windy week with gales so the boys have been eager to get at their feed when it is offered.  This picture was taken today.
And finally...........it's always a great sight to see bulbs pushing their growth through the surface at this time of the year reminding us that we are slowly working our way through Winter towards Spring.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

New Year greetings

A happy New Year!  Another year, another decade but just another day for the boys as Faro comes to the fence to check out the human activity.
Fyta (left) and Fergus decide to be 'nosey' too in the expectation of juicy carrots being available - maybe!

I think the boys have made a New Year's resolution to eat as many of their favourite carrots as they can!
This has been an exceptionally mild week with temperatures sometimes up into double digits.  Very unusual for this part of the world at this time.  The boys are unconcerned by the mild weather - as long as there are carrots, they are happy!
A long range shot of the 'old soldier' Faro, who like the other two boys will be 14 years old soon and we will have had them for 13 of those years.  How time flies!
And finally............ the Grumpy Gardener was 'excavating' some seasonal veg in the garden this week. You don't see parsnips like this in the supermarkets!

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Best wishes for 2020 - and beyond!

An unusual photo of Fyta showing his furry ears and his 'topknot' as he gets stuck into his carrots and Swede (turnip!) Fergus can be seen in the background.
Fergus has never been the fastest thing on 4 legs and these days he is even slower, but he does make a big effort to get to the 'goodies!'
All three boys, with Faro in front, enjoying their daily tit-bits.  The weather has been very mild over the past few days so the boys can graze easily.
The human has barrowed another two bags of haylage down to the hay store and this creates a bit of interest as always.
The two bags of Silvermoor haylage are inside the hay store and the boys now expect a handful of this tasty stuff.
There is plenty of hay in the store for the winter but the boys prefer the haylage, probably because it's sweeter and more moist than the dry hay.
And finally............. as long time blog readers will know, we usually have a Christmas jigsaw (or three!) on the go over the festive period.  This is the first, 1000 pieces completed over 3 days.  We send our best wishes for a happy New Year to all with the hope that the coming year (and new decade!) will be peaceful for all.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

A happy Christmas blog.

Well, I suppose it's the time of year for snow!  The early part of the week saw a heavy snow shower which only lasted a couple of hours but gave enough snow to make the boys wonder where all the green grass had gone!
This may only have been a small drop of snow but the freezing temperatures kept any melting at bay for a couple of days.  The boys get bored quite quickly when snow is on the ground as they cannot graze.
Fergus making his way to the haylage pile where Faro and Fyta are already tucking into their feed.
When the snow comes, so does the sugar beet - this gives the boys some extra feed when grass is not available. Fergus is on the left, Fyta in the centre and Faro is on the right.
Fyta loves to be a messy eater.  He has dumped the sugar beet out of the bowl and eats it from the ground, just as he does with his granulated feed in the afternoons.
And finally........... a long range shot from this week of the snow covered Strath Glass hills, to our west.  Robbie, the Grumpy Gardener and I wish all our blog readers a very happy and peaceful Christmas wherever you are.

Sunday, 15 December 2019

North to Seafield Alpacas!

Midweek and we travelled north to Portmahomack in Easter Ross to visit Alison and Brendan and their boys at Seafield Alpacas. From the left, Flynn, Chocolate, Gully, Echo and Flynn are a lovely herd and came to the gate to greet us.
Although the sun was shining it was a bitterly cold day so the humans were wearing thick jackets and hats!
Chocolate is standing at the rear with Merlin, left and Flynn.  They really are lovely looking boys who love to have their photo taken!
Flynn - with his big, long eye lashes, what a gentle star!  The boys were all quite happy to stand and be photographed.
And this is Echo (Wee Eck), a real bundle of energy with long eyelashes and curls all over his face and head! He is chewing the cud here. Lovely to see your boys again Alison & Brendan - thanks for your hospitality!
Back home and the cold, wet weather has continued for our boys.  This is Faro (front) and Fergus behind.
Fyta (right) with his two pals.  The boys have been on their Verm-X granules with their feed this week so will probably be glad that is over for another month.
And finally............. we're always astonished at the ability of alpacas to see movement over considerable distances - probably a built-in, hard-wired defence mechanism built up over thousands of years.  In this photo the boys have spotted movement on the road which runs parallel to the forest at the top of the picture, so they all check it out in case it's a threat.  Not this time - only me returning from my daily walk up the hill!

Sunday, 8 December 2019

A wet week for everyone.

You can almost see the expectation in the faces of the boys as they wonder if the approaching human has got any carrots for them or whether he is just going to take photos!
Ah - good human, plenty of carrots!  Faro (front) and Fergus at the rear enjoy their share and Fyta is just out of shot.
Another day - another carrot!  We've had very wet weather this week and the boys are all wet,  Fergus here has been rolling around inside the shelter getting his head covered.
Fyta helping himself to the haylage from his bucket whilst Faro waits outside the field shelter.
Faro, also wet and he's been rolling around the field shelter too getting some mud caked on his back.
A lovely shot of Fergus, posing when the rain stopped.  We find that he spends more time in the field shelter now when it starts to rain - at nearly 14 years of age he prefers to have a dry coat rather than being soaking wet all the time.
And finally............ the Gunnera plant all covered up and cosy for  the winter.  The Grumpy gardener uses the dying leaves of the plant to cover the crown from frost then uses the cut down stems to hold them in position - helped by some Ryelock fencing wire!