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, 28 September 2014

Cud(ly) boys

First thing in the mornings there is usually a cud chewing session going on in the field shelters until the human arrives to do the 'poop patrol.'   This is the signal for the herd to follow him to see what he is getting up to.  Fergus is leading, followed by Fyta then Faro.
Fyta is a lovely natured alpaca but also a real scrounger and bowl licker at feed times!  He often stores food in one cheek and will stand for ages just chewing.
We have to keep an eye on Gaucho near over hanging bush branches.  He likes to nibble the grass at the paddock edges and if there are any overhanging branches and leaves he gets up on his rear legs and pulls them down.
This is the strange lying position which Gully often adopts with his rear legs sticking out.  He and Gaucho are the only ones who do this.  Rufus and Wee Eck are lying close to him, happily chewing the cud.
Keeping his own company as usual but enjoying his cud is Fidget. A long chewing period will result in him frothing at the mouth!
From this position you can see how the boys scatter themselves about the paddock. On the right is Fyta who has decided to add to the pile already in the barrow!    "Every little helps" as they say!
And finally................four very nice Chinese tourists dropped by during the week when they saw the boys in the paddock.  They all spoke excellent English, we had plenty of laughs but I still couldn't convince them to give up their jobs, buy Tigh Mhor and live in the Highlands!  The two ladies had great fun trying on the various hats I have knitted with the boys' fleece and all four have promised to return next time they are in Scotland.  Looks like these Man U fans get everywhere!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Carrots and Brambles

First thing in the morning the boys are usually a bit sleepy-eyed and not in a rush to go anywhere or do anything.  Gully is deciding whether to venture out or stay in the shelter at 8.00am on Tuesday. 
Being a deaf boy means that Wee Eck tends to follow the herd - if they get up then so does he, but if they have a long lie, then so does he too.  There has been quite a bit of sun bathing going on this week again and Eck frequently gets left on his own lying in the sun, oblivious to the fact that the herd has moved.  Big panics until he catches up with them again!
We had a lovely visit on Fri evening from friends David, Evelyn and daughter Annie who was delighted with the boys but keen to watch where she put her feet on the ground - just in case of stepping on something!  Here she is feeding carrots to Faro whilst Fergus and Fyta look on.
And Fergus and Fyta are also fed their carrots too.   Gaucho is in the background.
There are plenty of Brambles (Blackberries) around at present and most of the boys like them.  Fyta (left) and Fergus in particular are very keen on them as are Gully and Fidget who can be seen looking on intently in the background.
Still plenty of midgies and other flying beasties around in the mild weather.   Just look at this beast which landed on the letter box - bet the postie was less then impressed!
And finally...........Brock the Badger is back again, creating mayhem on the fence line.  Thankfully our chickens are re-homed so he won't present a threat to them any longer.  Wonder if the boys are able to hear his nocturnal diggings on the other side of the hedge?

Sunday, 14 September 2014

An Indian summer?

We've certainly had gorgeous weather all of this week, misty in the mornings then when it clears mid morning and the sun comes out - phew!  The Grumpy Gardener had consigned his shorts to the clothes cupboard during the last two weeks of August which were particularly cold thinking that that was the end of summer.  However, this week the shorts are back out and being worn again!  The boys have spent the best part of the week just lazing about whilst the humans refresh their water troughs three times daily!  Fidget loves to lie in the longer grass at the edge of the paddock.
Faro on the left with his shadow, Wee Eck!  We've noticed that Eck will often follow one particular boy around for some time.  Faro isn't bothered at all by this and gets on fine with Eck but others, like Fergus and Fidget do not like being followed around and having their space invaded so there will always be groaning and spitting!
Faro again with Fergus lying in the long grass at the edge of the paddock.  The boys have been on their Verm-X granules all this week and not all of them enjoy the taste.  Gully tips his bowl over to try and get rid of them.  Others like Fergus don't bother - if it's in their bowl it must be food - end of story!  Faro is still depositing 'dumplings' so clearly the pro-biotic didn't change anything but he is still eating well.
With the misty mornings then the sunshine, come the midgies and other flying beasties which Gully (left) and Fyta do not like at all.  They go running into the field shelter when the beasties are around and one day this week they spent most of the day just lying in the doorway.  Relief comes when the sun goes down.
Rufus joins them in the shelter, he is also none too fond of flying and biting thingies!
Gaucho smiles, "I'm not bovvered am I?"
Wall Germander looking great at this time of year.  We cut it right back after flowering and the following year it grows back again, more colourful than some heathers.
And finally...........last year we had no apples or plums.  This year lots of plums, apples and other soft fruit so plenty of jam made with spare in the freezer.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Ballet, coos and apples!

Don't try this at home!  Looking like he is practicing his 'Swan Lake' ballet moves Fyta gets at an itch on his back.  These guys can contort and reach places other animals can't!
We moved the boys into the bottom paddocks this week so there was much  'deep joy' and jumping around on the new grass.  The chickens have gone from the adjoining hen run now having been re-homed a couple of weeks ago.  Wendy of Woodleigh Lodge Alpacas who now has Dunkey and the other chickens reports that they have settled down well and giving her sufficient eggs for her endless baking!
A couple of bruisers at feed time, hoping for some more!  Gaucho is on the left with Fergus.
Rufus in front with Wee Eck just behind him.
And just for Judi at LGM - Faro in front of his pals. No great change in Faro Judi, still depositing 'dumplings' even though we recently tried a pro-biotic to see if that would settle his 'movements', but not so far.
These Highland ladies and their calves are next door to us in the neighbouring farm and attract the attention of alpacas and passing tourists alike.  For such big beasts these Highland mothers are very attentive towards their off-spring, continually licking and preening them.
And finally................some Autumn colours.  Last year after we moved house we planted some new apple trees as the Tigh Mhor orchard is some distance away.  This tree is a Norfolk Royal (M26 strain) and has done very well in it's first year.  Tigh Mhor has still not sold, the property market is still depressed here - anybody looking to move to the Highlands?