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 8 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.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Pastures new

Today the boys were transferred to the lower paddocks and as always when they change, they were very excited.  Plenty of 'humming' noises then Faro led the charge onto new grass.  We usually change them from one set of paddocks to another every 6 weeks which gives the old paddocks a chance to recover.  The boys seem to know when the change is about to take place and line up along the gate, humming and jumping.  We've had very wet weather of late so a change to (slightly) drier ground will be good for them.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Necklaces

I've been making necklaces this week.  The photo shows (left) a necklace of Merino and Alpaca felted balls.  The middle one is Merino and Alpaca swirl.  The necklace on the right is from Turkish and Gotit's felted fleece.  I've also been spinning Ardo Hamish's fleece and it is brown and very soft.  He is being sold by Lorna at Ardo Alpacas and can be seen on the Alpaca Sellers web site (http://www.alpacaseller.co.uk/). About a week ago I put out a bucket of Camelid mineral lick for our boys, but as yet none of them has licked it!  Our weather has been quite wet but the boys are happy to wander about in the rain and only use their field shelters when they want to.  Our sheepish neighbours have now moved on to pastures new leaving the boys to look over the fence at an empty field, apart from an occasional visiting Badger and rabbits.  We try to keep the Badger at bay due to fears of the spread of bovine TB which does affect Camelids.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Visitors

We had a great visit yesterday from John McKenzie and his mother Dorothy who have 4 alpaca boys (Jake, William, Luke & Joel) at their farm in Dingwall.  We had plenty of entertainment firstly watching Gaucho throwing a turnip around the paddock as he tried to eat it, then later, Fergus removing my hat whilst I bent down (that's his party-trick!)  We spent plenty of time discussing alpaca things and we haltered our boys in the catch-pen and clipped Fergus's and Fidget's nails.  We managed short 'walkies' but Gaucho continues to be the boy with the least enthusiasm for being led, although is fine having the halter fitted.  Gully had some more cream rubbed on the dry skin on his forelegs and they all had their daily treat of apples as the photo shows.  We have also received the result of the dung samples from the Vet lab and were pleased that no worm or liver fluke treatment is necessary.  We will repeat the test in the Spring and continue with the monthly dose of Verm-X granules.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Sheepish neighbours

One of our crofting neighbours has put some sheep into one of our fields adjoining the boys' paddock.  He does this from time to time and it certainly helps to keep the grass down.  This influx of woolly animals has created a lot of interest from the boys who have given up using their field shelters and now camp out at night near the fence line!  The photo shows them watching what the sheep are up to.  During the past week we have delivered a pooled dung sample to the Vet lab in Inverness and they will carry out a test for worm and liver fluke.  Depending on the result, we will treat the boys accordingly.  Six months ago following the last dung sample test, no treatment was required.  We give them monthly Vermex granules which is a herbal wormer.  Fergus, Gully and Fyta now appear in the Alba Yarns new web site (http://www.knitnaturelle.com/) on the home and gallery pages and we're grateful to Joyce and Gary Thompson, our ex-neighbours who run the sites, for giving the boys their international exposure!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Nails and things

We put the boys into the catch pen yesterday and trimmed Gully's fringe.  Alpacas are not too keen on having their heads touched so getting the fringe clipped, especially when the fleece is wet, is not easy!  He also has a long term dry skin problem so I rubbed udder cream on his ears and between his front legs.  He was as good as gold whilst this was done.  The two white boys, Fergus and Fidget, had one or two nails each trimmed, and they also put up with it!  The nails of white alpacas seem to grow quicker than coloured animals, and other alpaca owners have also found this.  We always halter the boys in the catch pen as this gets them used to being handled, and we end our session with a wee walk - in Fyta's case this was a very wee walk!  After a couple of yards he refused to budge, spreading his rear legs in the A shape and making it quite clear that he was not in the mood for walkies.  Ah well, maybe next time!