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, 24 June 2012

'Paca mac needed!

We've seen the TV reports of the amount of rain some of you folks have had around UK.  We've had a pretty wet week ourselves but nothing compared to some areas.  Definitely weather for the 'Pacamac'.  As soon as the heavy rain starts the boys head for their shelters and they bed down there during the night.  The result of this is the mess they make in there, requiring several poop-patrols per day.
Gully (left), Fyta with Fergus and Rufus in the background.
Gully(left), Fergus, Gaucho at the rear and Fyta (smiling for the camera!)
Faro, hay in mouth, keeping an eye on things.
The large Poppies are now bursting out of their flower pods and are growing up through the Acer bush.
I'm not sure whether Fyta (facing camera) is passing judgement on our new build (!) or whether he just could not wait any longer.  The tiles are stacked on the roof ready for laying tomorrow - weather permitting.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Chilly weather routine

What to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon, when it's freezing cold and your nice warm fleecy coat is now in a black poly bag up in the loft (with lots of other black poly bags)?!  Nothing for it but to get into the shelters, chew on some hay and snuggle up to your buddies for warmth.  It's now a couple of weeks since the shearing but due to the low temperatures we are still finding the boys shivering a little now and then.  Yesterday was particularly cold and as soon as the rain started the boys hit the hay!  It is surprising perhaps that they feel the cold so much, being high altitude animals, but perhaps the sudden loss of all the fleece combined with unusually low temperatures makes them shiver to keep warm.
Six of the boys were in this shelter, from the left Gaucho, Fidget, Rufus, Fyta, Wee Eck and Faro.
Fidget at the back of the shelter - his favourite bed, furthest from the draughty entrance and surrounded by the others for protection!
'Big ears' -  Wee Eck sorting out a little snack for himself.
In the field shelter next door were Fergus (above) and Gaucho who is just out of shot, with Fergus delighted to have a whole hay bucket to himself.  One unfortunate casualty of the boys being in the shelters a lot is that they tend to mess everywhere so the 'poop patrol' is often in action.  Interestingly, they do not mess in the shelter next door where most of them lie down, or use as a rolling area.
And finally..........Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia) looking great at this time of the year and always guaranteed to bring plenty of colour to the garden.   Lots of little birds feed off the flower heads,  and the chickens in the compound through the fence get plenty of shelter from them.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Results of the EAMAYC diet.

Here are the boys, slightly chilly and waiting for the sun to come out.  I think they are still feeling cold some days  because of the 'un-summery' weather we're having even though it's nearly 2 weeks since shearing.  They are certainly bedding down every night in the field shelters, and taking shelter from the rain which is something they would not normally do at this time of year.  
Here they are waiting to go through the gate into a new paddock which lies just below our new build and which is making good progress.  The hammering and general activity on the site does not bother the boys - in fact they enjoy watching what is going on.  The builders take a fair amount of interest in the herd too.  The two white boys in front, Fergus (L) and Fidget (R) have been on the EAMAYC diet since they arrived here 5 years ago and it's worked very well.  Bet you've all heard of this diet and will have one or two 'pacas on it - Eat As Much As You Can!
Gully doing a pretty good impression of a double jointed alpaca.  Actually looks like one alpaca is bending down with his head in a hole whilst Gully is buried up to his neck looking out of a hole!  In fact he's rubbing his face and neck on the dockins trying to get rid of the midges which were bothering him.  Gully has sensitive skin, especially after shearing and the slightest sensation which he can feel makes him rub himself on the ground.  Faro is in the background.
Looking sleek after the hair cut are Fyta (L) and Gully.
But not so sleek................ in fairness Fidget is on a strict EAMAYC diet!
 

And finally.................a shot of this lovely Iris flower as it emerges from the stem with lots of other flower heads ready to open up.   Chives are growing on the left. 

Sunday, 3 June 2012

The boys get their kit off!

Here are a lot of anxious boys, having been penned in for the night, awaiting the man with the shears!  We are never happy to keep them penned in, but with the threat of overnight rain before early morning shearing, it's the sensible thing to do.  It makes for messy shelters but thats the way it goes.
Faro, being the boss-man, is always first to get 'done' and he always reacts in the same way.  He struts his stuff with his tail up in front of the rest of the boys and the humans with a look in his eyes which says, "Huh - sheering?  Easy-Peasy!"
Rufus is not convinced that he knows the cool dude with the new haircut!
Wee Eck looks a bit forlorn now with all his curls gone, but he soon cheered up.  Can't mistake those 'ET' ears though!
James, helped by Noah in the background gives Fergus a new look.  Shearing is always an anxious time for animals and owners alike and both are usually relieved when it is all over.  The weather has been unseasonably cold, especially overnight, and the boys have voluntarily taken themselves into the shelters.  They are enjoying the sunny breaks during the day and at times begin to run around and pronk, so they are obviously quite happy.
It's Bluebell time around here at present with the verges covered with colour.
And finally.............this is the sight that greets the boys from the bottom paddock at present as the crane off loads the  timber frame kit onto the new house site.  After all the planning to keep the two events separate, the shearing and the arrival of the house kit started at exactly the same time!  We kept a low profile helping with the shearing and left the builders to manage the off-load of the giant jigsaw.