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, 29 August 2010
Most of the blogs are mentioning hay at present and the problems which some folk are having in getting it cut and dried. We cheat - and buy it in! We took the trailer to Karen & Dave's farm shop at Beauly (http://www.robertsonstomichfarmshop.co.uk/) and managed to get 22 square bales loaded during a lovely day and just before the rain came that evening. Our boys like their hay. Karen also has 3 alpaca boys at her children's farmyard attached to their farm and shop.
The boys endured their weekly roundup and penning and here they are with their halters on. Wee Eck held his head up with the halter fitted (he's been dropping his head with the halter on) and he can be seen in the middle of the group. He and Rufus are getting much better during these sessions.
Shortly after being penned we moved the boys to the lower paddocks and to new grass. There was the usual stampede and jumping around with excitement at being moved. Aside from the fact that it's fresh grass we think the alpacas like being in a different spot as they seem to get bored after a few weeks in one area. Being intelligent and inquisitive animals, boredom does become a factor and we noticed it particularly last winter during the heavy snow when they couldn't move around.
Robbie has been busy this week turning his compost and getting ready to spread it on the garden for the winter. This is one of the alpaca dung piles, the oldest at over a year and looking good and ready to spread. It looks a bit like Anne and Iain's peat bank at Isle of Lewis alpacas! We compost chicken manure and household waste and try to be as organic as possible and never use sprays on the vegetables. This does mean that we spend a lot of time squashing caterpillars on the veg which doesn't do a lot for the fingernails! Yuck!
And finally......here is wee Hamish in between his auntie Freda (L) and mum Lola (R) and we can see that he is growing well. They are quite tame now and the boys like to be near them, lying on the other side of the fence from the cattle.