Our original 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 5 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.


Just a reminder that clicking on (most) of the photos will show them greatly enlarged.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Dinky nails!

Time for some toe nail clipping.  The weather has been good during the past week, the boys are nice and dry so time to see if they are in an accommodating mood!  Firstly they are all put in the catch pen for a quick check over.
There are usually one or two unruly guys, like Rufus above, who we let out of the pen firstly, but we usually keep 3 or 4 in the pen whilst we clip. We do ours by standing next to them and lifting their feet, I handle the neck and head and Robbie clips.  I usually either use the 'bracelet' hold and/or the Camelidynamics neck rub whilst speaking to the boy.  We did Fergus and Fidget our white boys, and Gully who is fawn coloured and they all behaved perfectly - but it does not always go so well!  Julie Taylor-Browne (www.carthveanalpacas.com) has excellent information on nail clipping (click on Magazine Articles) and the bracelet technique.  There is also an instructive US video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=uluc7hRMpdw showing the leg lifting technique. 
We also let the boys into a part of an adjoining paddock, sectioned off with gates, to get some fresh grass.  This is the view looking down on them and away in the distance you can see the heather burning on the far hill line - to allow fresh shoots to grow for Grouse feeding.
Yesterday we let the boys into the rest of the paddock and this is the charge to new grass - instantly recognisable to alpaca owners!
No need to ask who will be first to sample a back scratch on Robbie's freshly laid stone chips at the entrance to the paddock - Gully!
And a sight to lighten the heart after a long winter - a Crocus or two appearing surrounded by Snowdrops.  The sacking at the top right is the winter cover over the Gunnera plant crown and it will be removed during late April when the worst frosts will/should be over!
And finally...........a sight to get Dave at Apple Vale Alpacas excited.  These are the 'Dinky toys' in use at present on the outside area of our house build - the big digger, road roller and dump truck.  Any use for the entrance work to your paddock Dave?


  1. We use exactly the same Camelidynamics toe nail trimming techniques...usually work a treat but, like you, sometimes someone says "Not today thank-you!" so we do one foot, (just to remind them who's boss!), and return the following day to finish the job when s/he is feeling more amenable!

    Everything looks great with the house...what is your move -in timescale?

    1. Judi, we need to finish off the new build firstly (a couple of weeks more hopefully), then sell Tigh Mhor before we move up the track to the new house - so it might be soon, or it might take ages in the present economic climate. We'll just have to keep our fingers crossed! Shirley & Robbie

  2. I think every herd has at least one alpaca ( we have two) who despite any amount of Camelidynamics training just will not play ball...one of ours is Chaska who is otherwise one of most cooperative and friendly alpacas!

  3. A sniff of Spring in the garden and with the Alpacas, can't beat it. The toys look very interesting parked by the new house ... looks lovely ..... Jayne

  4. Thank you for all of the information you have provided in your blog :) I am going to try the bracelet technique this arvo - will let you know how we go :) Lisa