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 November 2013

The winter chill

We were well warned by the Met Office to expect snow on Monday, and they were right. Unfortunately the local council lost the plot so no gritters were in the area - typical.  The boys are in the middle of this photo, in front of their shelters although they are hard to see.  Another snow shower is seen rapidly approaching from the north.
Time to get some haylage into the system to bulk the boys up - although Fidget doesn't need any more bulking up!  His pink top plate is clearly seen in this photo for students of camelid dentistry!
Gaucho is pleased to get haylage as he is not keen on frozen grass.
Rufus, with Fyta as his rear.
Gully always looks a pretty picture.
By Wednesday all traces of the snow had gone and the boys were able to get back to grazing properly.  Also in the picture are some of our neighbour's sheep and the 'pacas are always interested in what the flock get up to.
And finally.............yesterday a delivery van arrived, not bearing a parcel just the driver bringing his wee daughter to see the boys.  This was taken from the new house and you can just see the boys looking at the little girl on the other side of the fence.  Nice!  Finally, finally a word to cheer up an avid blog reader - Sue from deepest Northants who is just recovering from a recent stroke.  Enjoy, Sue!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

New grass again

Not too much happening for 'pacas this week.  Having given them their Verm-X granules last week we decided to change paddocks this week.  After the usual running and jumping about with excitement at new grass the boys soon settled down to graze.  Fergus here enjoying the fresh paddock.
Now that the boys have moved into the top paddocks they are directly under the new house.   As normal, all the boys have their heads down except Faro the guard on the extreme right of the picture, who keeps an eye on the human's activities!
Gaucho on the left and Fyta
Rufus with Gully in the background
Fidget smiles for the camera!  All the boys have big eyes of course but Fidget's really stand out because his big , black eyes are surrounded by pink lids.
Down with the chickens now and they also had a change of hen-house for the winter. Hunkey Dunkey is in the middle here surrounded by his five hens as they all enjoy their daily Digestive biscuits (honestly - they love them!) The moulting has stopped now and their new feathers have come in just in time for the winter.  The chicken on the left with the upright tail is 10 years old now, fit as a fiddle and with excellent plumage.  We've noted over the years that when they moult, the chickens seem to be shy, hiding away as if they know that they don't look their best - Hunkey looked like he's been dragged through a hedge backwards!  Once their new feathers come in they are back to their perky selves though.
And finally.............4.40pm, Friday - sunset!  The sun had dropped behind the hills and this beautiful sunset started off bathing everywhere in a 'yellowy' colour.  By the time I'd got the camera, everything had gone pink!  The picture doesn't really do justice to the rolling, high altitude clouds reflecting the light.  Snow's coming this week - wrap up well!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

It's swede time again.

Brrr, it's been a cold week with lots of frosty mornings then rain and sleet.  Fortunately there have also been nice sunny days and this is Gully enjoying a bit of November afternoon rays!
There is a reasonable dusting of snow on the hills now, so with the colder weather the boys' hay is being supplemented in the mornings with haylage and the occasional swede.  The boys are aware that there may be goodies in the bowl I'm carrying, so come up to see what is on the menu.
It would have to be Fergus who is the first to sample the swede!  He prefers to nibble at it when it is held by a human - he can't seem to get at it if it is on the ground.
"Have you washed your hands before feeding me swede, Boss?" Fidget as always holds back until the last moment then his curiosity gets the better of him and he accepts it.
Rufus looks as if he is spitting in the air as a warning but in fact he is chewing an awkward piece of swede.
Faro keeps an eye on what is going on.  He enjoys his swede too.  Yesterday we had a visit from  a nice lady called Ann who is a member of the Highland Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers who wanted to have some fleece for spinning.  She left with fleece from 3 of the boys so that will keep the wheel spinning for a while.  Unfortunately we forgot the camera when we went to say, "Hello" to the boys but hope you enjoyed the visit Ann.
Wee Eck looks as if he is grubbing for worms!  In fact he has a piece of swede on the ground which he is wrestling with.
And finally..........on Remembrance Sunday these falling Acer leaves remind me of poppies.  Take care, have a nice week.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Visit to Ruilick Alpacas.

We have been promising to take a short drive to see Graham and Kirsty at Ruilick Alpacas since they started their herd a couple of months ago.  They came to see us last year and have a look at our boys when they were doing their homework on alpacas before deciding to get any.  They live above Beauly about 6 miles from us and we can see their white house quite clearly on another hillside - Graham says he can see our house but yesterday it was hard to see anything in the distance because of the poor weather. This wee lady is Lucy with Apricot and Merlin behind.
Also in this picture are Cat and Hope and in the background is the Beauly Firth with the Black Isle on the left, facing across the firth to Inverness.  Graham and Kirsty live in a stunning location with all round views and lots of space for their 'pacas.
This is Cat being coy!  The herd, with the exception of their macho all came from Ardo Alpacas in Aberdeenshire,  so they are used to a bit of driech weather now and then!
 Ardo Enya with her cria 'Chocolate' and they are 'on holiday' from Aberdeenshire whilst the other girls settle into their new home.
The herd takes a close interest in the discussion regarding nail clipping!  Graham and Kirsty are joined by Bethan on Dad's shoulders and Dylan.
Apricot reminds us of our boy Fergus, but we don't think that they are related.
This is Barabbas - 'Barny' to his friends who is just over the fence from the girls and spends a lot of time keeping an eye on them.  They come up to the fence just to tease him - and keep him on his toes!  Barny is a rose grey 'paca but this is not so obvious when he is wet!  This was a great visit to a lovely family who are just beginning their experience with their herd - and loving it.  Thanks for the coffee folks, we'll bring better weather next time!
And finally.............thought you might like to see the autumnal colours bordering the road up through the beech trees to Tigh Mhor.