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.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Lassies - but not the Camelid kind!




When a car and trailer pulled up at the entrance to our field adjoining the paddocks last weekend, the boys really got a shock when two different  girls jumped out and ran the length of the field before hiding in the bottom corner!  This is the boys' reaction when the trailer was opened.

A long range shot of our two guests, Freda (L) and Lola (R) who are 20 months old Highland heifers.  Our near neighbour Colin has put them in the field to keep them away from his bull, for a while.  Freda and Lola are quite shy staying in the bottom part of the field but venturing up to the paddock fence line now and again.  Our boys have seen 'Heilan Coos' before belonging to our neighbour, but I doubt that Freda & Lola have ever seen Alpacas before!  They look at each other through the fence quite a lot, but they still getting used to each other.  We'll get more close up shots of these lovely girls in due course.
 
We also had Anne & Duncan as visitors and Anne is seen stroking Fergus's bonnet a couple of days before the boys were sheared.  Gaucho is lying in front of Fergus with Faro to the left and Fyta in the rear.  We've had Gaucho for almost a year and during that time he has always had a heavy fringe which gave him a piercing look which was a cross between frowning and scowling
Now look at him after being sheared and fringe trimmed - what a poppet eh?!  We had a visit from James Dixon and assistant John mid week and they did a great job of shearing the boys.   We also visited Karen & Dave at Beauly to shear their 3 boys and John McKenzie at Dingwall to shear his 4 boys.  All the animals were the better of being relieved of their fleece as the weather recently has been hot and humid.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Valeting time!





Yesterday was a lovely day and in fact by mid afternoon it had got really hot.  Robbie threatened to stampede the animals by putting on his shorts - apologies to all sensitive blog viewers - and give the boys an undercarriage spray.  They love this and I had earlier done the same thing with them.  Fyta is in the foreground with his back feet in the tray.

The boys stand around as they wait their turn to have the spray played on their lower legs and bellies. These are usually caked in mud and sand as they try to cool down.  Left to right are Gaucho, Fidget, Faro, Fyta and Fergus.  Gully still has not succumbed to the temptation of the cold shower, so usually stands watching from the background.   Gaucho has only recently started standing in the water trays but now enjoys being splashed.

The boys move around so that they can get the water on different parts of their undersides.  We don't wet their main fleece, only underneath where the have little fleece and can feel cool.

And finally...........a kiss from Fidget for the boss-man on his bald spot for a job well done!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Right hand down a bit!




Something of interest is happening here. (L to R) Faro, Fergus, Fyta, Gully, Gaucho and Fidget can't believe their eyes..........

Yep, it's Mum vandalising the buttercups again - right hand down a bit!   The buttercups are now becoming a real menace by encroaching on all the grass so we are about to get soil tests done and take action to get rid of them.  We will avoid herbicides if we can.  An application of lime will help - anybody got any ideas for getting rid of buttercups?   We had a Countax sit-on mower for many years but the paddocks were just too much for it so the new Iseki is now doing the business.  Note the mid-summer clothing to keep out the cold wind!

Front to back, Gully, Gaucho and Fidget charge through the gate to look at the freshly mown paddock.

And finally.................when Robbie was about to put dung on the garden, he lifted the polythene cover and look what was underneath!  I hope they will decide to go away of their own accord before drastic action is taken to move them - permanently!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Ears, nails and milky mouth!







Fidget had been lying in the early morning sun with his chest and chin in a water tray when the boys were led into their catch pen. Here he is, suitably wet, with Gully by his side and Gaucho behind.  Fidget had some nail trimming done and he was well behaved.

Faro is having a focus put on his itchy ear!  I put some udder cream on his ears as they get quite dry.  I put some fly ointment on them last week.  Fergus at the front left is giving his usual "Give me space" warning!  Shortly after this Fergus also had some nail trimming which he tolerated!

Faro gets a neck rub for being a good boy after his treatment!  All the boys like having their necks rubbed and we do this a lot when they are in the catch pen.  Outside of the pen, Fergus, Faro and more recently Fyta will stand to have their necks rubbed.  Fyta likes it best when he is standing in the water tray!

We received a couple of photos of Lorna's latest cria at Ardo Alpaca and this one shows him with his mouth covered in mum's milk!  No name for this wee chap yet but it will start with a J when it's given.

Another terrific photo of the wee chap with mum and all his aunties in the Aberdeenshire hills.