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, 10 March 2013

Winter fleece and Spring chickens!

The weather is 'Baltic' but at least it's dry so the boys are able to show off their fleecy coats this week.  This is Gully who should have been named 'Dyson' for his ability to polish off his own food then tour the bowls for the leftovers.  Gully doesn't like his fleece to be too clean, preferring to cover himself in dust or mud depending on the weather conditions.
'Big boy' Fergus has a dense coat on at this time of year too.  When he is completely dry he is white all over but when he is damp there is an area on his back where the ends of the fleece are pink coloured!  Strange.
Gaucho and his lovely coloured fleece.  None of our boys would win any prizes for the quality of their respective fleeces but we don't mind and I am still able to spin and use fleece from most of the boys.
Wee Eck has that short, thick fleece which obviously keeps him nice and warm but is not much use to spin and any garments made tend to felt easily.  He looks a totally black boy (apart from one small patch of white behind one ankle), yet the tips of his ears and the ends of his top knot are ginger coloured.   Cool!
Rufus also has some interesting fleece around his head.  The combination of a white, over-layered with brown top knot is attractive but his white tipped ears are special.
A 'chicken and egg' story now!  'Buttercup' our oldest chicken at 9 years has always taken to flying over the 8 feet high compound wire during Spring and Summer to lay a clutch of eggs somewhere around the garden.   She doesn't sit on them for long but adds to them on a daily basis and it takes us ages of watching and searching to see where she is laying.  We normally remove the eggs when we find them as we don't want them to hatch, even though they will be fertile as a result of Hunkey Dunkey's actions!  Recently she has started flying outside again and we knew she must be laying away somewhere.  Yesterday I happened to find her, under a Leylandii hedge not too far from the compound and if you look closely you can see her red comb as she watches me with her beady eyes!  She was bred here, her parents were a Welsummer cockerel and a Sicilian Buttercup hen and she remains in excellent condition regardless of her age.

And finally..........this is what she was doing - laying her eggs in a natural nest of dead leaves and twigs!  There were five eggs in this clutch and you can probably see them left of centre in the photo.  One year we discovered a clutch of 22 eggs which she had laid, day after day!

2 comments:

  1. Isn't it great to see instinct kicking-in, as they make a secret nest.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We have to play hunt the egg here too, and I have a broody battery hen at the minute!!

    ReplyDelete