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, 26 January 2014

No change in the weather.

Ah, the joys of being soaking wet on a driech, winter's day!  Gaucho seems unimpressed by our latest spell of wet and windy weather.
Wee Eck with Fidget behind and Faro and Rufus in the background.  Eck's only bit of non-black colour is the white patch behind his left front foot.
Gully always manages to have a roll in the mud, although he doesn't look too happy about the conditions.   Behind the fence is the veg garden with the Keder polytunnel and in the background is the north gable end of Tigh Mhor (the house hasn't sold yet - anyone out there interested?)
Rufus -a little nervous and  always on the lookout.
Fyta boy - he's also been rolling around getting dirty.
And finally............a shot of the dripping wet Monkey Puzzle tree.  It's about 20 years old now, spent a couple of years in a large pot before we planted it in a corner when we moved here 18 years ago.  The leaves are extremely sharp and hard so it's in a corner where we won't brush against it.  On the left is a 'mile-a-minute' plant (Polygonum Baldschuanicum) which covers a garden seat and pergola and during the summer completely covers the Monkey Puzzle in white flowers.  It has to be drastically pruned back every year otherwise it would take over the complete garden I think!  The Royal Horticultural Society encyclopedia of garden plants says, "it is frequently rampant and may be difficult to control!"  No kidding?!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Heads down

Following all the rain we've had in recent weeks the water had started bubbling up through the ground in places.  Then last weekend and for a couple of days heavy frost set in turning parts of the paddocks into skating rinks.  Trying to get the boys to avoid these areas is hopeless - perhaps they enjoy sliding around!
I'm always surprised when I see the boys eating frozen grass - must be harsh on their lips and mouths, although they don't seem to mind at all.
The other thing which is surprising is the amount of time they take over nibbling the tiniest shoots and blades of grass when longer grass is available.  Thats what they are all doing in this set of photos.
The boys have been having their monthly quota of Verm-X granules mixed with their supplement this week and whilst one or two of them initially turn their noses up when they smell the granules, they all usually manage to finish it all off.  Then it's back to nibbling tiny green bits!
I don't suppose we should expect Fidget to keep his head down when there is a camera in the vicinity - what a poseur!
And finally..........although frosty, we've had some lovely sunny days this week.  This is the steading for storing the hay etc with the open shelter in the bottom paddock, with the field shelter next to it.  On the extreme left are the chicken compounds, home to  Hunkey Dunkey and his hens.  They like it when the boys are in the bottom paddocks, not only for the company but because they get thrown a handful (or two) of alpaca supplement. It makes a change from the Digestive biscuits!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Boys will be boys.

Boys will be boys!  Rufus (left) and Fergus giving each other the audible and visual warnings to get out of their respective personal space!  Plenty of huffing and puffing going on here, but that was it, no aggression.
At this time of year when the paddocks are pretty bare of grass the boys are always looking out for something to eat.  There is always hay on offer, daily haylage plus daily supplements and sugar beet when it's really cold but that doesn't stop them looking at humans in that doleful manner trying to get more food.
Gaucho (back), Faro and Fyta's rear end in front!
Fyta, front, with Fidget.  Weather wise it's been a much better week and the boys have been able to dry off in the wind and occasional sunshine.  It's back to a more 'normal' winter now with frost and snow showers.
And finally...................down in the chicken compound Hunkey Dunkey is looking 'the business' with his new set of feathers ready for the Spring.  I think we're all ready for a bit of Spring, don't you?

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Squelch, squelch!

Fyta looks as fed up as all animals and humans with the present weather conditions.  Squelching about in muddy paddocks is no fun.

Earlier in the week we decided to change the boys from the top to the bottom paddocks, to give them fresh grass but also to give them drier shelters.  This is Faro waiting for the gate to open so that he can lead the charge, with Fergus looking on from the left.
There they go with Faro in front and Wee Eck dancing around behind him!
They need no second bidding to run and certainly don't need a map to find their way around the paddocks!
A wet looking herd, but at least there is some fresh grass to nibble.
And finally.........normally this is a sand pit, with this weather it looks more like a paddling pool.  Stay dry and safe wherever you are in these conditions.