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.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Lonesome Doves

Here is Fidget doing his 'Lonesome Dove' routine!  There are times when he really does prefer his own company but some of the other boys do that too.  Often Fergus or Rufus will wander off to the far side of a paddock, kush down then stare into space, chew a bit of cud, happy in their own wee world and keeping an eye on the other boys from a distance.
This is Gully, suitably covered in hay and straw after rolling in the field shelter.  The boys have endured another week of terrible weather for May - the 60+mph gales, lashing rain and today is the first day that they have been reasonably dry all week.
Faro, having just had a roll in the field shelter.  It's dry and dusty in there and the boys love it, taking it in turns to have a roll, especially after their supplement feed.  They then give themselves a shake and clouds of dust rise off them.
And finally........ we were delighted this week to welcome the supported learning group and their staff support from Inverness College, on a trip out to meet the boys.  Robbie worked for many years (and still works) with adults who have Learning Disabilities and we are both involved in a local charity which raises funds to support them.  Last night we had our monthly fund raising disco and lots of these adults and their staff come along to have a great time.  They are lovely people who unfortunately are seeing many of their interest activities being curtailed due to severe cutbacks in local authority funding.  It was a real pleasure to see them enjoying their socialising with the boys.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Duncan and the Highland boys.

Today we travelled a few miles across Glen Convinth to visit friend Deborah who has two 8 years old boys.  Paddy (L) and Bo look totally at home amidst the wonderful Highland scenery with distant views of the River Beauly and the various peaks of Strath Glass.  This week has seen plenty of rain, gales and light snow down to 2000 feet with 60mph gales forecast for tomorrow!  The boys share their home with some chickens and plenty of deer on the other side of the boundary fence.  
Bo (front) and Paddy get to meet a chilly visitor!
Back home, this is Faro en route to new grass in a paddock.  He does not have great depth of fleece, but he is a lovely colour.  Faro is a really friendly chap, always alert and usually up for a stroke or cuddle from his favourite humans.
Several blogs this week have been mentioning the size of alpaca rear ends - so we thought we'd  add another couple of bums.  On the left is Fyta and on the right, doing a pretty good impression of a polar bear, is Fergus.  They all look pretty big at present but after shearing in a few weeks time, they will shrink considerably.
And finally...... when we were at Deborah's she told us of the problems she was having with her two Buff Orpington cockerels.  'Dora', pictured above, was so named because at birth she was thought to be female - however 'she' blossomed into a fully fledged male giving no end of aggro to the other male.  As we love Orps and have owned both hens and male Orps in the past, Deborah's offer to us to take 'Dora' home with us, and out of harms way, was too good an offer to reject.  So Dora is now 'Duncan' - and that will probably become 'Dunk' as all Duncans get called in this area, and the photo above is of him in his new home having just spotted our three hens on the other side of the fence.  Shortly afterwards he was able to introduce himself to the ladies in no uncertain manner!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

It's the pits!

At times this week the weather has been the pits!  We went from T shirts and shorts  back to woolly jumpers  and jackets as a dusting of snow appeared on the hills and Friday saw hailstones. On the days when the sun shone however, it was nice and the boys enjoyed it - they don't like hailstones!  Another type of pit is the 'sand pit' and these are frequently used by the boys.  Here are L to R, Gully, Gaucho, Rufus, Wee Eck and Fidget enjoying the feel of the sand.  We are often asked why we put sand pits in the paddocks and it's because we read somewhere ages ago that alpacas like them.  Sand is much cooler than grass on hot days, they seem to like the feeling of the sand on their pads and they love rolling around in the sand.  They also like playing 'pushing and shoving' games in the sand. 
Rufus (rear) and Fyta are enjoying a lie down but Wee Eck is intent on getting into the pit.   He looks as if he is saying something threatening to Fyta, like  "Move, big man, or else!"  Nobody messes with Wee Eck!
See what I mean?
The boys look like average sized alpacas until they get on their hind legs and rear up, then they look more like bears!  Gully and his pal Gaucho engage in some macho activities. 
It's all too much like hard work for Fyta (L) and Fergus who move to another pit for a bit of peace and quiet!  Finally, our community newspaper has produced an article and a couple of photos of the boys this week, which is nice.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Doing our bit for tourism!

The Highlands plays host each year to thousands of foreign tourists and each year we have a few coming to visit the boys.  I had a phone call yesterday from an Inverness taxi firm asking if it would be possible to bring some Chinese tourists out from Inverness as they wanted to see alpacas.  No problems!  Here are our guests getting an inspection from Faro, the herd guard.  He ended up being more interested in the polythene bag than the people!
Our guests loved the look of the boys' faces and were obviously pleased at being able to be in close contact with them.  The lady was a little nervous of them however.
Plenty of photos were taken so we hope that they enjoy them when they get back home.    They have visited our blog and will email some photos in due course.  After having a look at the spinning wheel and various garments and fleece, they continued with their touring holiday.  Hope you enjoyed your visit to Scotland - haste ye back! 
Sister and brother in law, Sheila and Jim, also paid a visit but from just along the coast at Nairn.  Sheila had just been feeding a carrot to Fergus and Gaucho who were now looking for more.  We've also had several friends visiting the boys during the recent spell of lovely weather so they have been on their best behaviour and using their water trays to maximum effect!
But showing off to an audience can be pretty tiring work in the heat, so Fidget decides to cool off and have a roll in the sand.