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.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Chill Out!




More snow again this morning and interesting to note how the boys like to 'chill' when having their morning haylage. Fergus and Fidget, our white boys, like to lay down and enjoy their hay/haylage at a leisurely pace. Top left photo shows Gaucho laying on the ground with Fergus peeping out of the shelter. Faro is in the shelter eating hay. You can also see their catch pen. Top right photo is of Fidget who prefers to eat slightly apart from the others because he likes to guard his food! Gully is bottom left (more snow coming on the horizon behind him!) Gully has fleeced up well, including his ears - I had previously had to rub on udder cream/fly cream on them due to skin condition/mites. We've received the 'Camelid herd & movement record' book from the British Alpaca Society for our use - great idea!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Neeps!



























 'Neeps' (Swedes!) are usually associated with haggis for Burns' Suppers at this time of year.  Our boys enjoy their neeps, anytime, any place and the top photo shows Fergus (left) today getting stuck into his whilst Gaucho is thinking about it. Gully is in the background. The bottom photo shows Fyta enjoying his piece of neep.  The boys normally eat them off the ground but prefer them hand fed as they can nibble them easier.  Once they start, they leave nothing.  If you click on the picture Fergus's top plate can easily be seen
Its a misty day, cold and with lumps of snow still lying around.  It was raining earlier so the guys look a bit bedraggled.  They are beginnning to roll on the ground again after the snow, so you can imagine how they look covered in mud.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Some grass - at last!



We moved the boys today from the bottom paddocks to the top paddocks as grass is beginning to re-appear due to the snow melt.  It also gives us a chance to clean up the paddocks after weeks of frozen droppings.  These guys could poop for Scotland!  Top photo shows the boys enjoying their supplement feed just before dark with their two field shelters in the background. Lower photo shows the broken joists in our main steading in the lower paddock caused a couple of weeks ago by the weight of snow. This steading is where the hay and straw is stored so is well used.   We've had the joists supported with a number of upright posts and now that the snow is melting, the downward pressure is being relieved.  Fortunately we heard the joists cracking so were able to quickly place uprights in position so we did not suffer a total collapse.  We had to close off the steading, part of which is used as a shelter by the boys in case it collapsed on them, so they used their field shelter instead - quite happily.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Sno(w) joke!

The deep snow and frost have been with us since before Christmas, with no break.  The boys remain in good spirits, although seem to be bored with the white stuff.  Today they followed me around the outer paddock and started to chase each other, galloping through the snow with their tails held up.  The 'gallop' is more like a canter and is really funny to watch.  To give them a break from the hay and haylage, we have started giving them daily sugar beet pulp, soaked overnight, as a supplement.  They were wary of the beet on the first day, but now they scoff the lot and are looking for more!  Photo shows husband Robbie scraping away snow along the fence line and the boys eagerly eating the tufts of uncovered grass which remains unfrozen under the deep snow.  Also photographed is Horace our 8 years old cockerel, with his sister Tiddles being fed warm porridge.  Like the boys, Horace and his 7 hens are not spoiled (much!)   Horace in particular does not like to put his feet on the cold ground so he stays on his perch most of the day, giving the occasional 'cock -a-doodle-do' to let everyone know he is still in charge.  We keep the hens in separate enclosures from the boys because we are unsure of what bugs may be in the hens' droppings.