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, 25 August 2013

Visit and visitors

Early in the week we paid a visit to Wendy Churcher at Wood Leigh Lodge Alpacas on the Black Isle, near Inverness.  Husband Paul was at work but Wendy did a great job in showing us her small herd which she has recently brought up from the south of England.  We are with 14 month old 'Baby' in this photo.
This is the lovely mum-to-be Prudence who is due to give birth any day now and that will be a very exciting time for Wendy & Paul.  It's a paddling pool in the background by the way - not a birthing pool!
And this is 13 years old Snow King in all his glory.  A lovely fella and slightly nervous as he adjusts to his northern surroundings (he's probably struggling with the Invernessian accents!)  Thanks for a lovely visit Wendy, hope Robbie managed to leave enough cake for Paul on his return!
We had a flying visit yesterday from Lorna and Sandy of Ardo Alpacas in Aberdeenshire as they were in this area delivering some 'pacas to a new owner family (more about that in a future blog.)  All of our boys came from Ardo and the routine is always the same when Lorna visits - plenty of snogging with the animals - especially the four older boys who spent the first year of their lives at Ardo before coming here.  They seem to recognise Lorna's voice and are not shy in coming close as they can be with other visitors. Faro getting up close and personal with Lorna here!
Wee Eck is checking Lorna out here and even with Sandy standing close-by, the boys are not inclined to move away. Fidget (1st left, rear) usually keeps well back from visitors but we've noticed that when Lorna and Sandy are around he comes in close.  Nice to see you folks, make it a longer stay next time please so that we can have a proper blether!
And with the visitors gone, the boys have a tete-a-tete about the visit.  From the left Fidget, Fyta, Wee Eck and Gully who reckoned they should get some fresh hay for being good boys!
And finally......... you've all seen the pictures of the three flying ducks, famous in various Coronation Street living rooms - well, here are the three lying alpacas doing their imitation!  Couldn't resist this photo taken this afternoon in the warm sunshine and just after feed time.  Bless!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Another week

I've mentioned before that our boys are a sleepy-headed lot who take their time in the mornings to get going.  Gully yawning (3rd left) just about says it all for this lot as they make their way from the shelters to the paddock.
Never too early in the morning for a bit of nonsense from Fyta  however as he starts chucking the watering cans about - just to make sure that the human is awake!
It's been a week of good weather really with plenty of sunshine, occasional very heavy (but short) rain showers and a couple of days of blustery wind.  The boys seem to enjoy this mixture of weather although they are not keen on high winds.  They've had their monthly ration of Verm-X granules in their feed.
Wee Eck with Rufus behind.  These two are just as likely to be spitting or moaning at each other one minute then lying side  by side chewing the cud, the next!
We had a couple of instances last year of a nocturnal foraging Badger making short work of wasps nests in the orchard. This week look what greeted us at the side of the track - Mr Brock has been scraping again with a lot of very annoyed bumble bees still flying around their destroyed nest in the ground!  Lots of Badgers around this area as frequent road kills confirm and even our local hostelry is connected - it's called Brockie's Lodge!
And finally...............this small tortoiseshell butterfly looks lovely in the sunshine, feeding on the Marjoram in the back garden.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Dog day doings!

Nothing very exciting happening for the boys this week but they have been penned a couple of times so that Fergus's eye can be attended to.  The arrival of humans in the paddock carrying white sticks results in humming from Rufus and Fergus because they all know that it will be a penning exercise - again!  They all know where to go but occasionally Faro will decide that he does not want to be penned and will charge off in the opposite direction creating indecision in the herd resulting in the scattering of alpacas.  This time they were all good boys.
Fergus has just had the ointment put in his eye so it is still slightly closed but overall it is a lot better this week.  He is taking his medication very well, standing still whilst it is being applied.
Dog watch!  When one of our neighbours walks along the road with her two dogs, the boys start paying attention in case of a threat.  In the background from the left Gully, Rufus, Gaucho and Fyta watch the dogs whilst Fidget in the foreground pays more attention to the humans in the paddock.  You'll note that Fidget's diet doesn't seem to be working!
In the field shelter Wee Eck is blissfully unaware of dogs, or anything else, as he lies amid the chaos of hay buckets and chews the cud.  Being deaf he is reliant on the other boys to be alert but they often wander off and leave him.  This brings on a panic attack when Eck suddenly realises he is on his own and he jumps up and charges off to find them.  When he does, he does little jumps of happiness..........aaah!
Not chewing the cud but still watching the dogs is Fyta.  He's a lovely, friendly boy who comes and stands next to us but who does not usually like being touched or stroked.  However if he is eating tit bits from the hand he gets tickled on the underside of his chin and he likes that!
Enough dog watching for one day and Rufus decides on a nap.
And finally............Gully displaying this odd way of lying down with his rear  'elbows' sticking in the air.  Maybe he lies like this so that he can move quickly if required - or maybe he doesn't want his 'bits' on the cold ground, who knows?  Have a good week.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Keeping an eye on Fergus.

A photo of Fidget (left) and Fyta with Faro and Wee Eck in the background.  The boys have been penned several times this week as we've been paying close attention to one of Fergus's eyes.  We like to pen all or most of the boys together for company whilst we are working on one of them and in Fergus's case, put his head collar on.
And here he is with his partially closed left eye.  At first we thought that he had something in his eye e.g. a seed or piece of grass, but we could not find anything after several inspections.  The eye occasionally weeps clear tears and there is no sign of pus or infection and Fergus is not unduly blinking or appearing to be in discomfort.  The bright sunlight has been making the weeping worse so we got a tube of Orbenin from the Vets to see if this would help.   Eventually however we got the vet to visit as the occasional weeping was continuing.
Here he is in profile and showing the offending 'droopy' eye problem.  The vet confirmed that it was  conjunctivitis and recommended continuing the Orbenin on alternate days so we'll see how he gets on with that. 
Gully (left) and Faro.
On Wednesday we had a visit from some of our adult Learning Disabled friends and their support staff from their day Centre in Inverness.  Unfortunately it was pouring with rain during their visit so their feeding of the boys had to be 'short and sweet!'  Several groups from the Centre have visited in the past and enjoy seeing the boys.  Robbie and I are involved in running a registered charity for the adults (www.corbettvip.btck.co.uk) so we are always pleased to welcome them.
Time to get some produce out of the veg garden this week, including this lot of onions which are now being dried off ready for storage.  Lots of black currants and raspberries this year, I've stored plenty of rasps in the freezer but have already made some jam. 
And finally............we've had a couple of days of really windy weather.  Yesterday we were in the veg garden when we heard a loud 'crack' then a very large 'woosh' sound as part of this very large beech tree collapsed in our neighbour's field!  Fortunately his cattle were some distance away when the branch came down.