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, 14 November 2010

More knitting and stuff!

Bad weather this week meant more time for knitting indoors!  This shows a neck band (top left) and a cable scarf I've knitted.    Fergus's fleece was used for the scarf whilst the neck band is Fidget's fleece.    The scarf is completely reversible and has a loop to hold it in place if necessary.
We moved the boys to the top paddocks this week to let them get at the better grass before winter really hits us.  Here are some of the boys with the Highland cattle Lola, Freda and (wee!) Hamish further up the slope.  Faro is approaching and displaying his usual recognition signal when he sees us of his tail thrown up over his back.  The reference books say that this is also a sign of submission, and/or aggression but Faro doesn't present either a submissive posture or aggression.  Being the herd's guard this signal is obviously also for the other boys' information as well as a sign to us.
A rear shot of Faro with his tail flicked over his back again.  Rufus is also in the photo and you may have to magnify this to see it more clearly.  Faro is the only one of the boys who uses this tail signal, we've never seen any of the other boys use it.
And finally......... I think Robbie could have used a different camera setting when he took this photo which would have lightened the scene a bit.  However, perhaps a bit of magnification will show the boys in their paddock (middle left) with the Highlands lying down in their part of the field (middle right).  The shot was taken facing west towards Glen Strathfarrer, Strath Glass  and Glen Affric with patches of mist rolling up the hillsides.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Autumn colours

Faro, with Rufus behind waiting for their halters to be fitted.  Of all the boys, Faro has the least bulky fleece but I can still spin and felt it although it has to be washed and carded first.  He's a lovely chap, always on guard but also very friendly.  He's also the chief apple cruncher!
Here are the boys being herded up to the catch pen for some halter work and nail clipping this week.   They were still damp from lying outside in the overnight frost.   The routine pooled dung sample analysis carried out by the Vet lab was satisfactory and no worming is required.  We have this test  carried out twice a year and only worm when necessary but are diligent in giving them monthly Verm-X and cleaning of their paddocks and water/food trays. 
 
The boys like to have a handful of hay in the morning, especially a crisp, frosty morning!   They have a handful of hay last thing before dark and their hay buckets are filled for overnight.  Like cattle, they can be quite wasteful with their hay leaving some of it lying around uneaten so a handful suits them well.

I made Robbie a pair of felted slippers which he has been wearing for a few days (indoors!) to try them out.  I need to make a few adjustments to the next pair e.g. thicker soles, slightly wider.  Robbie says that a matching pair would be handy......cheek!
And finally.......the colours this Autumn are terrific and the recent gales have only partially bared the trees.     This is a view of a beech hedge we planted some years ago leading down to our wee orchard.  The boys are not allowed into this field otherwise we would have no hedge or apples!