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, 27 April 2014

Another week, another blog!

Not too much happening here this week.  The weather generally has been uninspiring, lots of mist and sometimes cold winds.  The sun has shone occasionally so the boys have been wet, dry, wet, dry etc.  Gaucho is looking less than enthusiastic first thing on a damp morning!
Just before this photo was taken a rabbit ran in front of Faro (left) and away into some long grass,  but Faro and Rufus continued to look for it.  Fidget, Fergus and Fyta are lying down, completely disinterested! 
Trying to get the boys to pose for a group photo can be a bit of a struggle.  Faro (right) and Rufus are paying attention but Wee Eck and Gully can't be bothered!  The (almost) new house is behind on the hill.
A little later and Gully (right) and Rufus decide to stand still long enough to have their fringes snapped.  Might need to get the scissors out shortly I think!
"Psst Fergus - lets ask the photographer if we can borrow the camera and do a selfie!"
Down in the chicken compound Hunkey Dunkey is looking good, chasing his hens and 'cock-a-doodling' as if there was no tomorrow!  The boys often stand watching him through the chicken wire as he throws his head back and sounds off about his territorial rights!
And finally............as a result of the mild winter we've just had with no deep frosts, many bushes are showing lovely colours.  These are a few of the Azalea currently in bloom.  Have a nice week.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

New grass and visitors.

Following on from the previous week when the boys were anxious to get to new grass, this was the scene first thing on Monday with Faro in front asking the question with his big eyes, "When are we getting on to fresh grass?"
The answer was, "Now!"  This then starts a charge which is a joy to watch when, led by Faro, Eck, Fyta and Gully, the herd takes off for the bottom paddocks. 
They are soon all heading in that direction - just look at Rufus on the extreme right cantering (if an alpaca can 'canter') down at the rear!
And they start nibbling the grass straight away before a rolling session in their favourite shelters!  Monday and Tuesday were clear, frosty days but on Wednesday and Thursday the temperature plummeted.
Regular blog readers may have noticed a comment a couple of weeks ago on this blog from the Huang family who wanted to come and visit.  On a very cold day Teng-Wei Huang, his girlfriend and Mum and Dad arrived and  spent a couple of very enjoyable hours with us.  They are from Taiwan where there are no alpacas, and having seen our blog, wanted to see the boys during their tour of the the Highlands.
The boys were delighted to see visitors as this usually means carrots!  Here are Fyta (left) and Fergus enjoying being hand fed. On the Wed evening before the family's visit, all of us in the Highlands, Western and Northern Isles endured a major power failure which left everywhere in darkness for a couple of hours.  After coping with that in a strange Bed & Breakfast the family then had to endure Arctic temperatures on Thursday - not the sort of welcome we like to give our tourists!  However we enjoyed their visit, so come back and see us again Teng-Wei when the weather is better!  Enjoy your holiday on the continent.
And finally...........as if on cue for Easter, - Friday, Saturday and today have been sunny and very warm!  This is the magnolia tree at Tigh Mhor with the bud 'candles' just beginning to open.  Have a very happy Easter everywhere.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Gate watchers!

Dog alert!  Faro (left) and Fyta are looking out for a dog which they can hear barking some distance away.  Alpacas it seems have excellent eyesight even over quite long distances.  There is no way of telling if they can make out the image of what they are seeing but they definitely can detect movement over distance and will watch it for some time.  For instance, our boys will watch a cat two fields away or a pheasant walking through long grass over the same distance.  Obviously part of their 'herd protection' abilities hard wired into their system over countless years.
This is a close up of the flowering currant bush in the hedge shown in the previous photo.  The bush looks  and smells lovely at this time of year and is attracting lots of bumble bees - but no honey bees yet.
We've mentioned in this blog previously the fact that the boys can sense when they are going to move to new grass.  Maybe it's simply because they are fed up with their present grass and can see and smell new grass nearby.  Here the boys are spending more and more time over the last few days waiting near the gate into an adjoining paddock where the grass is fresher.  We'll move them during the coming week as this week they are having their Verm-X granules with their feed and new grass will put them off the feed.
Waiting at the gate - just look at the expression on Fergus's face (nearest camera)! A happy bunny or what?  Rufus  and Fidget are also lying down with Wee Eck and Gaucho behind.
This is the view from the new house and you can see the boys in the middle distance sitting at the far end of the bare paddocks waiting to let rip on new grass.
I wonder if any of you alpaca owners have an animal which has a really favourite  place to lie?  The boys lie around all over the place, any time, but Fidget makes a deliberate effort to return to this place just inside the gate and behind the fence for a lie down and to chew the cud!  The others can be quite a distance from him or sometimes they come and lie on the gravel, but we've never seen any other boy lie in this exact spot - they wouldn't dare!
And finally............couldn't resist a selection of Daffs picked from the garden.  Aren't they lovely?  Have a good week.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Soggy blog!

It's been a bit of a 'driech' week with heavy rain and mist although thankfully by the end of the week it had cleared up a bit.  Wee Eck with his ears like radar scanners approaches out of the gloom to see what is going on.
The rest of the gang are equally unimpressed by the elements with Fergus and his wet knees in front.
Always camera shy, Faro gives the photographer the 'tail in the air' sign that he's alert.
 Fyta likes to show off his haughty look.  A damp looking Fidget is in the background.
Remember that it doesn't rain for ever, Gaucho!
Gully - he just loves having a roll when he is soaking wet.
And finally...........couldn't finish without a final Wee Eck photo of the dripping fringe!