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, 27 May 2012

Beware - overheating!

After hailstones last week we are now into scorching temperatures this week, like lots of you throughout UK, as we see from the various blogs.  The first couple of photos were taken earlier in the week when it was hot, but nice.  Hitting the sandpit to keep the 'bits' cool are (left) Fergus, Gaucho and Gully with Wee Eck (back left) and Rufus.  The boys are not due to be sheared until this Wed (30th), so there is always concern about overheating.
At the same time, Fyta does his 'sunbathing thing' with his belly facing towards the sun.   Always cause for concern when we see them lying like this just in case something is wrong.  This time it was OK and he was soon on his feet. 
He's up on his feet now and joined by Faro who wants to know what is going on!  All the water troughs and water trays have been in action as temperatures soared throughout the week with water changes many times each day.
 
At 8.00am today the boys were sunning themselves in the early heat - including Fyta,  but whilst all the other boys were moving around, Fyta remained on the ground.  Closer inspection showed his eyes moving and he lifted one hind leg and gave a grunt.  Something wrong here - overheating, probably due to falling asleep in the heat.  We got the hose out, got him on his feet and pulled a water tray closer.  We hosed cold water on his underside and over his nose and soon he started to be more alert and less drowsy.
Here he is now fully alert and lying in the water tray.  The hose attracted the other boys who wanted to join in the 'wet belly' fun and for the rest of today it looks like the hose will frequently be in action. 
Fergus has taken up his position next to his personal oasis!
On a slightly different theme, we had a visit from two red squirrels this week who cheekily looked into the conservatory and helped themselves to the nuts in the bird feeders.  The appearance of Pansy Potter our cat didn't deter them and in the end we had to take Pansy indoors incase of injury to either species!
And finally......Clematis Montana in full bloom and reaching over 20 feet to the top of this pine in our driveway.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Hair today - gone soon!

After enduring rain, wind and hail like pan-drops (or mint imperials or M & Ms if you're not old enough to remember pan-drops!) the week finished off in more Spring like weather.  Poo samples were delivered to the Vet lab in Inverness for worm/fluke counts and the result is awaited.  We also opened up another paddock to give the boys a bit of variety in grass before shearing in just over a week's time.  Here they are, less Faro who is out of shot, waiting for the gate to be opened. 
'Bonnie Boy' Gaucho sporting a nice mop!  His look will change completely once the shearer has done his job.
Fergus showing off his fringe and hoping that the photographer has a carrot in his jacket pocket (mind you any old snack would do!)
An interesting shot of Fidget's 'tutu' of guard hairs around his lower neck.  If you magnify the photo you'll see what I mean!  He'll benefit from a fringe trim too.
A bad hair day or just a new style?  Faro's fringe is a number of different shades but still a lovely colour.  It will be a pity for him to lose this curly mop. 
And here he is in normal pose.  Faro is a slender animal who does not have a dense coat like some of the other boys.  Always alert, he was the first boy onto the new grass and checked out the fencing and exits whilst the other boys just enjoyed eating or running around in excitement.  He's an intelligent chap!
And finally.......despite the recent cold weather this 'Canary bird' Rose is doing well at the front of the house and is a mass of yellow flowers.  Elsewhere in the veg garden Robbie is 'doing his nut' because a wee bunny got in and ate all the leeks which he had planted a day or so earlier.......(tee hee!!)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

When will the warm weather arrive?

A last feed of hay for the boys before moving them from the bottom to the top paddocks.  The square bales of hay didn't seem to be moving a few weeks ago when the weather was nice, now with the wintry weather we're having, the boys are tucking into it once again.  We note from the various blogs that everyone seems to be having either a cold, or wet time of it at present.  The boys don't seem to mind but for their sakes we're not looking forward to shearing at the end of the month if this weather doesn't warm up.
We had a visit earlier in the week from brother and sister in law, Jim and Sheila who seem to be speaking Fergus's language (anything to do with food!) with Wee Eck and Faro looking on.
Fergus realises that Sheila's chat up line is all hot air - no food involved, no snacks or tit-bits, so interest is fast waning !
Gully showing off his dense fleece.
For those interested in house building sites, this is where we are at present with ours - foundations and concrete pouring this coming week, weather permitting.  The boys can be seen in the middle distance near their field shelters.  They have got quite used to the comings and goings of lorries and machinery onto the site and like to lie chewing the cud watching the builders get a good soaking!
And finally.........some of the flowers and plants are struggling in this cold weather.  This is Solomon's Seal which would normally all be out by now with their rows of hanging white bells, but as this photo shows, some are finding it hard to grow tall and hold their heads up in the cold.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

It's cold - no shearing yet please!

The boys are well fleeced at the moment with our shearing due at the end of the month.  This is Gully with Fyta in the background needing all of their fleece because of the dramatic drop in temperatures  -  again!  The past week saw some lovely days then a draught from Siberia blew in getting us all to run for woolly hats and jackets again.
Fyta bulking up with some hay.  He is now becoming a bit of a rogue at feed times as he turns over his bowl, eats a bit off the ground then starts charging around upsetting the others as they feed.  Faro in particular is a fussy feeder who walks away from his bowl every time Fyta starts to perform.
Gaucho nibbling hay and staying below the radar!  He's a lovely boy who never causes a problem within the herd and is pretty laid back about life.
Wee Eck (left) and Gully taken through the veg garden hedge.   Any time we are in the veg garden there is always  great interest from the boys as they hope that there might still be turnips or carrots to chew! 
A different shot of the boys in their top paddocks taken from the nearby road.  Two of their field shelters are on the left, Tigh Mhor is behind that and the mountains of Strathglass in the distance are stretching away to the west.
The veg plots are almost ready for planting.  Onions and some early spuds are already in the nearest plots.
And finally........... a shot of the boys in their top paddocks taken from the new house plot, the levelling of which has been severely disrupted due to the wet weather in the last couple of weeks.  Ben Wyvis is in the background, behind the boys.  You may need to magnify some of the distance shots.  And.......the Swallows arrived this week - yippee!