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, 30 March 2014

Pen pals

We put the boys in the pen early in the week to check on Wee Eck's ears and apply some cream.  Normally we pen the boys in the morning if we are going to work with them but we were having a busy day and decided to do them just before their feed time around 3.00pm.  So around this time the boys see us coming down the track and because they can tell the time (!!) they think they are going to be fed their supplement.  Surprise, surprise then when they find themselves being guided into the pen!  So now they are not the happiest of bunnies because instead of feed in the mouth, it was cream in the 'lug' so there was much huffing and puffing, pushing and shoving and general moaning and groaning - and that was just from the humans!  This shot is of Rufus who is humming away and deciding to look out of the pen ignoring the fuss.
Gaucho has decided to do the same but he is also under a certain amount of pressure from his pal Gully who is pushing him from behind.......
..........see what I mean?!
Looking the picture of innocence and waiting to see if they are going to be 'creamed' are Fidget (left) and Fyta.
And at the end of the penning, what better than to lie down in the corner of a paddock with some favourite haylage  and just chill - like Fidget.
And finally..............at the end of a sunny but chilly day, the boys make their way from the new paddock across to the  field shelter in the overnight paddock, just as the sun is setting.   Aaaaaahhhh!


Monday, 24 March 2014

New paddock

At the beginning of the week we let the boys into the new paddock.  It's on a slope, like all the ground around here, and the quality of the grass leaves a lot to be desired but the boys enjoy it.  Here they are checking out the new views. Gully is nearest to the camera.
Wee Eck (left) and Rufus climbing the slope with Fyta still down at the entrance gate behind.  We left the gates  open to all the paddocks so they could get used to the layout.  It's very muddy at the entranceway so we'll have to do something about that.
Any fresh grass is good news for Fergus!  Here he is at the top of the slope looking back over the older paddocks.  Our new house is behind him so he knows that he is closer to the supply of carrots!
At feed time the boys were in the new paddock and we called them back.  With a bit of enlargement you'll see them all running in a long line with Faro in the lead (naturally) and Fidget bringing up the rear.
And here they are for their feed, led by Faro.  Second is Fergus proving that even the 'bulkiest'  beastie can shift himself when food is on offer!
Now the fluffy boys take it easy.  They were lovely and dry at the beginning of the week but then we had a couple of days of driving rain and sleet so they ended up soaking wet again.
And finally............by Friday we had a dusting of snow everywhere with temperatures taking a plunge.  This photo was taken at 7.10 in the morning just as the wintry sun was rising and the boys were having some hayledge.  This is the first week they have used their new field shelter and there has been a lot of 'huffing and puffing' as they get used to the new space and who gets to lie in what corner.  Fidget came off worse and spent two nights outside until he found his new bed-space!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Visits in the wind

A busy week for the boys this week, some visitors, some nail clipping and the monthly Verm-X granules in the feed! Most of them have now inspected the inside of the new field shelter which we will start using in the coming week in conjunction with the new paddock.  Daren't let them into the new paddock to eat all that grass whilst on the Verm-X otherwise they wouldn't eat the latter!  Fidget, above, giving a toothy welcome with his pals behind him.
We had a welcome visit from Wendy and Paul of Woodleigh Lodge alpacas during a day which typified our weather this week - sunny but very windy!  The boys are getting the once over here with Paul feeding carrot to Fyta.
We had to see if Fyta would do his 'party piece' in the water tray for Wendy and Paul.  The trays have all been in storage during the winter but Fyta remembered straight away what it is used for! Fergus also loves the tray.
So with Fyta out of the way Fergus can take over, rubbing his neck in the water but only for so long before Gaucho takes a turn.
Today we had a flying visit from Louise and daughter Catriona, en route to Inverness for some retail therapy, all the way from Achiltibuie, near Ullapool on the west coast.  Fyta managed to mark time in the tray but was reluctant to have  a dunk in the cold wind - clever boy!  Hope the alpaca therapy was as good as the retail kind ladies, and trust that you will drop in past again and see us.
And thats all for this week folks..........finally! (Fergus)

Sunday, 9 March 2014

New field shelter

Following on from last week's blog when part of a new field shelter was delivered,  the remainder arrived on Monday afternoon with two men to build the structure.  On Tuesday the shelter was almost complete apart from finishing off the bottom and giving it a couple of coats of preservative, so the boys were allowed into the paddock to give it the 'once over.'
Fidget, nearest the camera takes a long, hard look at the shelter, probably trying to work out where might be the most comfortable place to lie down.  The shelter also has a store at one end in which we'll store some hay and other 'paca bits and pieces.
Gully was quite happy with the new building but so far he's the only one to have ventured inside for a look.  The boys won't be using it for another week or so by which time they should all have got used to it.  Once their hay buckets go in, they will follow!
The long view taken from the new house.  The field shelter has been given two coats of preservative by 'himself' and will get a third tomorrow so that it does what it says on the tin!
And finally.........the knitting needles have been in action again.  These shawls look small in the photo, but they are quite big.  I recently saw my sister-in-law Sheila wearing a shawl like this which she had knitted so I got the pattern from her and knitted one up from Fergus (bottom) and Jacob of Ardo Alpacas.   The shawls are draped over the shoulders and are really warm.        

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Visit to Woodleigh Lodge Alpacas

We paid a very enjoyable visit to Woodleigh Lodge Alpacas on the Black Isle near Inverness this week to see Sammy, the new boy on the block, brought north from Yorkshire by Wendy and husband Paul to replace their  'Snow King' who sadly died before Christmas.  This is Sammy, 4 years old and a lovely looking boy.  He's still getting acquainted with his surroundings but has settled down well - must be all the carrots and tit-bits he's getting!
Looking on (adoringly!) from an adjoining paddock is 'Baby' who will be mated with Sammy in due course.
And in another adjoining paddock is Prudence, mother of Baby who has a fondness for the carrots being offered by Wendy.  Unfortunately Paul was at work the day we visited but we hope to see both him and Wendy again soon.
Baby (left), Prudence and Sammy on a lovely day with the Black Isle stretching away behind them and Munlochy Bay in the distance.  Thanks for the introduction to Sammy, Wendy and of course for the lovely sponge - the Grumpy Gardener finished the last bit from the fridge today!
Back home and later in the week we penned the boys so that we could take a closer look at the inside of Wee Eck's ears - he's been shaking his head a bit.  I gave them a good clean out and applied some Sudacrem which seems to have worked.  He's now an all black alpaca with white inside ears!  Here he is being told he's a "good boy" - but being a deaf boy he'll probably have to lip read!
Two more "Good boys" - Fergus (left) and Fyta. Whilst the boys were penned we took the opportunity to trim both Fergus' and Fidget's nails and they were both well behaved.
And finally...........a long range shot which will probably need to be enlarged to see the boys gathered around a delivery which is covered with a blue tarpaulin.  The delivery was made mid week and has created a lot of interest for the boys, especially Gully who stands for minutes on end without moving just staring at it!  The rest of the delivery will be made tomorrow and - don't tell the boys - it's a new field shelter for when they are using their new paddock (once G. Gardener gets it sorted out!)