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, 20 November 2011

Dunc at dawn

Thought I'd give Duncan (Dunc) top billing today as he is looking good again after his recent moult.  This was taken just before 8.00am today and he looks surprised to be met by a photographer after stumbling out of the hen-house for breakfast!  Dunc is a Buff Orpington, a lovely cockerel and very good with his three hens all of whom have been going through their moult over the past few weeks.  The Maran still looks like she has been 'dragged through a hedge backwards' but her feathers are at last coming back in.  No eggs at this time of year from the hens, it's usually early Spring before they start laying again.
An uneventful week for the boys - no visitors, no penning, just ever watchful for signs of humans approaching with apples, carrots, haylage etc.  Another week of really good weather for the boys including frosty, clear nights which they all enjoy.  Fidget looks as if he needs an appointment with the clippers to even up his fringe.
Fergus bearing the brown spot on his right cheek which he inherited from his mum.  He's about to give a warning spit up in the air as Wee Eck approaches him.  Fergus cannot tolerate Wee Eck being anywhere near him (herd dynamics again, Barbara!)
Gully wearing his quizical look.  He's always interested to see what humans are up to!
Fyta, a lovely natured alpaca.  He does not welcome stroking or hugs (unless he's standing in the water tray) but stands close and is not nervous.
 Gaucho, a wary 'paca who tries to keep clear of trouble!
And finally Wee Eck - we should have called him 'Fearless Fred with the curly head!'  He has curly cheeks and a mop of curls and although the smallest of the boys, fears none of the big fellas!  Enjoys it best when he is in the middle of a scrum, creating mayhem with the big guys.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Heavenly haylage!

Another week of unbelievably good weather with plenty of sunshine to please the boys.    Here are, from the left, Fidget, Gully, Fergus and Fyta enjoying the November rays.  This time last year we'd already had snow to contend with so this spell of weather shortens the winter for us.
We started feeding morning haylage to the boys this week - well it is winter, regardless of the summer weather! They really love the smell and taste of the 'Silvermoor' haylage and as soon as they are given their individual 'pile' most of them lie down and contentedly chew it.  Fyta is at the front, then Gaucho the Fidget at the back.
Fergus prefers his own company but loves his haylage too.
Rufus (front) and Faro enjoy that chewing moment!
This clear weather is giving us some amazing dawns and sunsets.  This was taken just before 8.00am on Thursday, looking to the south east.    If you look closely you can see Fyta in the foreground.
And finally...........an atmospheric shot, taken in the veg garden about the same time but looking towards the north west with the full moon still in the sky.  Dung has now been liberally applied to the plots,  the final total from last week's 'barrowing blog' was 47 barrow loads.  Thanks for the wave of good wishes for Robbie's sore back after this task........well, thanks to Barbara (Beckbrow) and Jayne (Zanzibar) anyway!   'Barrowman' is still lying in a dark corner somewhere!!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

'Dunbarrowing?'

We've had a week of really good weather, frosty at nights but sunny and warm during the days.  It's unusual to be able to do lots of work around the garden at this time of year, but thats what we've been doing.  We also penned the boys, haltered them and gave them a check over.  We cut Fidget's and Gully's nails and they were both well behaved.  Wee Eck has some small spots appearing near this mouth so I've applied 'Ruggle-it' with a base cream - that should give his food a peculiar taste for a day or two!
A nice head shot of Fyta with Wee Eck in the background.
Having cleaned up the veg plots, Robbie has been barrowing dung from  the composting area up to the garden.  This excellent dung is over a year old and looks a bit like the peat bank we had when we lived up in Caithness some years ago. 
The barrow - described by Robbie as one of man's better inventions - loaded and ready to go!   Twenty loads yesterday with even more to go today.  He is threatening to save up his pennies from his old age pension starting next year and buy a quad bike with an attached trailer, which should 'help the aged' with this job.  It will either be a very small quad or the Chancellor will have to do something about the state pension though!
We also had a visit from friends Ann and Duncan, who are visiting in the area for a few days.   Ann is giving Fergus some carrot with Fidget, Wee Eck and Faro waiting patiently.
And finally.........we have lots of Blackbirds around the garden but one came to grief a few days ago when it was targetted by a Sparrow-hawk who frequently patrols the area and suddenly appears and disappears in an instant.  This time he obviously found what he was looking for and this scattering of feathers was all that remained of the Blackie.  That's nature I suppose.