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, 28 February 2010

Who's a bonnie boy then?

Plenty of snow still around but it gives an opportunity to take some photos featuring Gaucho who is 2 yrs old, and will be 3yrs in July.  When very young he was quite small and always at the back in a large herd  but has really come on as part of our smaller herd. With his head up he is now the tallest boy in the herd and looks like a 'Jack the Lad' with an attitude to match!
Due to the snow, the boys' movement around the paddocks is restricted, so they appear bored.  However when we are there they will follow us into the deeper snow then start playing and charging round!  We'll be pleased to see the end of the snow even though it is beautiful in the sunshine.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Here we go again!

Here are the boys at 8.00 am today waiting for their haylage breakfast. They had a boring day yesterday with continual blizzards which confined them to their shelters for most of the day.  We don't shut them in, they make their own decisions about when to stay out or go into the shelters and this works well - hail or heavy rain sees them racing towards the shelters in a long line.

Here are Fidget (left) and Fergus having just sheltered from yet another snow shower.
 
This shot was taken at lunchtime today, at the top of the track leading down to our house and the paddocks, after the snow-plough had passed.  The 3 'top' paddocks can be seen in the middle of the photo running left to right.  The two field shelters are in the centre paddock, in front of the hedge.  If you magnify the photo you will be able to see the boys being nosey as usual and looking up at us.   By the end of today the weather had calmed down and we are hoping for improved weather and no more snow for a while.  Our track is filled in with snow drifts at present which even our 4 x 4 can't handle.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Red sky - more snow!

This sunset a few days ago preceeded another dump of snow and very low temperatures.  We did manage to get the boys into the catch pen, halter them and do some nail clipping.  Once again there is no grass for them to graze so they are on a daily mixture of hay, haylage, apples, swedes, sugar beet and their camelid supplement - lucky boys eh? The snow is really hard and frosty now with chunks of ice everywhere but the boys seem quite content to walk on it.  Lovely clear blue sky during the days - and sunny, but very frosty nights.
Here are the boys being hand fed today with their apple slices.  This is the last of our dessert apples from last year from our small orchard, so we are pleased that they have lasted through most of the winter.
Hi girls - Fergus here - I'm the main man around here!

Hi ladies - I'm Fidget - I'm really the main man around here!

Hi Everyone - I'm Gully - I'm not the main man but I'm the youngest and the bonniest!!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Water Boys


On Saturday it was a lovely day with sunshine so we put one of our water trays out in the paddock. These are builder's cement mixing trays, about 2 inches deep and aprox £15 each from B & Q. We usually store these for the winter but Fidget had been putting his hooves in the water buckets, so we thought it was time to get the trays out again for them to use.  The 4 older boys (Fidget, Fyta, Faro and Fergus) all enjoy using these trays to get their bellies wet but Gaucho and Gully are still wary of using them.  The boys also like to be splashed from the trays. This is Fyta about to show the other boys who are just out of camera range, how to use it to keep cool.
Firstly, knees bend in the praying position!
Pay attention Faro - next drop the bum and 'bits' into the water!
See - easey, peasey!

Okay Fyta, I get the picture - now let me try!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Wee, coorin' tim'rous beastie

Now that the snow is melting we find that voles and field mice have been burrowing and tunnelling around some parts of the garden under the deep snow. Robbie Burns would have been proud of these beasties! The damage will recover with the new grass.
Here are the boys enjoying some grass with Gaucho in front with his deaf pal Gully behind. Gaucho is always at the front of photos as he is so inquisitive. In the far distance the snow is still lying on Beinn A' Bha'ach Ard (2900feet - 880m). This week the boys have had Verm-X every day for the week with their feed and we'll continue this monthly and have dung samples tested in the Spring. The catch pen will be in operation in the next few days for nail trimming - weather permitting! For those interested, Monty Don's TV programme 'My dream Farm' on Channel 4 will be about alpacas and someone trying to start a business with them. It will be screened on Thurs 11th February at 8.00pm.