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.
Sunday, 2 May 2010
Here comes the Cavalry
The boys are always interested when they hear the 'clip-clop' of horses' hooves on the road above our house. They often move from paddock to paddock following the horses along the road. Here is the Cavalry getting 'eyeballed' by (L to R) Fidget, Faro and Fergus - you may have to magnify the page to see the horses though.
Today it was time for the 'Poop Patrol' to carry out it's work (Robbie, actually!) and you will see the rather old fashioned equipment employed, being inspected by Fyta. Both Fyta and Faro regularly check out the barrow when the poo is being shifted, probably wondering why humans do this! The boys do produce plenty of the stuff, and it is clear from other alpaca owner blogs, that they have similar experiences. We have looked at and priced mechanical 'pooper scoopers' but find it hard to accept the cost, so have stuck with a barrow and hand cleaners. Time consuming probably, but still does the same job. Anyone out there got any experiences they want to share of mechanical paddock cleaners? Is the cost justified - do they do a better job, is a hand pull version better than the hook-up version for small paddocks?
Once the dung is collected, we store it in dumps until we use it on the garden. We built a basic three part storage area with older dung (1 year +) on the left, newer dung in the middle ( 6 months +) and the 'working pile' on the right. The left pile is under polythene sheeting, the middle is under old hay and the right pile is open. Once the oldest heap is used, all the heaps move to the left rotting down as they go. In the background is Beinn a' Bha'ach Ard (Hill of the High Byre.)
A closer shot of the two older dung piles and in the distance is Ben Wyvis with (yet another) fresh dusting of snow from last night! These dung heaps must have the best location in the Highlands! We've also delivered dung samples to the Vet laboratory in Inverness this week for routine checking, so we await the results.