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, 23 February 2014

Tooth fairy visit

Wee Eck with head adornment!  Followers of this blog will know that Eck has always had a baby tooth lodged in front of his main teeth and that if he stood in the shadows or against a black background it was hard to see the animal but easy to see the one glowing white tooth!  Have a look at the thumb-print photo of him (Echo - his real name!) on the right of this page. However this week we've discovered that the tooth fairy has visited and Eck has now lost the baby tooth. We haven't found it but suspect that he dislodged it on a fence post as he often nibbles on them.  It's taken a long time to go as he is now about 6 years old.
Another shot of Eck and his long eye lashes, but no protruding tooth.  He looks very much like his dad, Aymara Gottit who was previously with our herd.  Wee Eck is one of those alpacas with curls covering almost the whole face including the cheeks and at this time of year and before shearing, looks very attractive. We noticed today that he is scratching one ear so we'll get the boys in the pen and have a look at him - just as soon as it stops raining!
Mid week and the boys knew they were going onto new grass - don't ask me how they know, they just line up at the gate on the day we've decided to move them!  They are very inquisitive and observant animals.
Open the gate and there is a mad dash onto fresh grass - a chance to start jumping around and show that they are happy!
And then there is a chance to be re-acquainted with their field shelters in the top paddocks and they all take a turn to have a roll.  Fidget is about to roll with Rufus (left) and Wee Eck looking on.
And finally.............Gully is about to have a roll but he looks as if he's got a leg down a rabbit hole and searching for bunnies!  Fyta is just in front of the camera.  Have a good week and hope it's dry where you are.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

A little snow, a little sun

Beginning of a cold week, a snowy Monday.   Fergus looks a bit pensive as he probably thought the last of the snow had gone and that Spring was springing!  Wrong.
Rufus decided that lying down in the cold snow is the thing to do whilst Gaucho is next to him and Fyta is looking on.
Whats good for Rufus is good enough for Gaucho but Fyta just can't bring himself to get his belly onto the snow.
Same scene, different angle with Wee Eck and Faro in the background.
Hunkey Dunkey is not a lover of the 'white stuff' and often stands on one leg warming the other leg in his feathers!   If the snow has any depth he prefers to stay in the henhouse - clever boy.
Today has been a lovely day.  This was taken from the new house, boys in the middle ground and a snowy Ben Wyvis in the background.  On that hillside under the Ben is where Kirsty and Graham at Ruilick Alpacas live with their family and herd.  Our boys' new paddock (with the long grass!) is in the foreground awaiting some TLC!
And finally..........another of today's photos looking through the budding hedge at Faro (foreground) with Fyta behind and Rufus in the background.  The boys have been on their monthly doze of Verm-X all this week so a change of paddock and new grass will give them a nice surprise shortly.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Fencing and beet

We had two fencers working here this week making a new paddock for the boys on some unused land closer to the new house.  The weather was kind to them, the ground is soft so they got the paddock finished in a couple of days.  Plenty to interest the boys then with posts getting knocked in, chain saws buzzing etc.  This is Faro waiting to get into the paddock nearest to the new paddock just to check what is going on.  He does not usually like the camera being pointed at him and usually walks away.  Gaucho (left) and Fyta are behind.
Gaucho leads Wee Eck into the paddock, and being deaf, Eck doesn't hear the noise but is certainly interested in what the fencers are up to.
Rufus leading Gully with Gaucho and Fidget behind.
Earlier in the week it had been pretty cold and the boys enjoyed their beet in the morning  Faro has his head in the bowl and Gaucho does his camel impression whilst looking at the camera!
Fyta (front) and Rufus get stuck in.
If a camera is near then Gully poses!  Fyta is in the background going around all the bowls making sure that a morsel has not been left.
And finally................it's official then, the snowdrops have appeared so Spring must be coming - honest!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

C'mon boys - it's nail clipping time!

Earlier this week during a lull in the rain and wind we decided to do some nail trimming which Fergus in particular required.  When the boys see us approaching carrying the white guidance sticks they know that they are heading for the catch pen so in this photo they look to Faro (nearest camera) for a bit of leadership!
Faro then leads them from one paddock into the other then through the gate on the far side leading to an 'alleyway' which takes them to the pen.  Faro is very intelligent and knows exactly what is required - although he is not always willing to do it!
Gully - "Hang on guys before you go up the alleyway - there's something I have to do first!"   Gully invariably does this each time the boys are rounded up.  Perhaps he thinks he won't have an opportunity to 'go' for a while!
Up the alleyway now and heading towards the pen - one or two of the boys start humming at this point although they follow each other peacefully into the pen.
Fidget, awaiting the head collar before the nail trim.  He and Fergus (rear) are our white boys so need regular nail trims and we've found from experience that they behave much better with their head collars on.  This time we were able to do all four feet on both animals.  I do a 'neck-rub' and speak to the 'client' whilst Robbie does the clipping.  Gully (on the right of this picture) also needs an occasional nail clip as his nails grow to the side but he's always a good boy in the pen and doesn't need his collar on.  A successful clipping session.
Wee Eck - just look at those long eye lashes!  He doesn't get a nail clip, once a year at shearing time is fine for him but he is anxiously waiting to find out what is happening.
No nail clipping either for Rufus today, an annual clip is fine but that doesn't stop him from humming!  He's a big alpaca but very gentle, and also often slightly nervous.
And finally............it's all over and the boys get out of the pen.  They then start jumping about and racing down the alleyway, past the chicken compound and into the paddock knowing that today's 'session' is over.  The two humans are pretty relieved too and Robbie then gets the good job of picking up all the clipped and discarded nails!