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 November 2014

Misty eyed and visitors

Everyone's favourite boy here, Fergus, giving his big-eyed pleading look for something juicy to eat to take his mind off all the mist we've had (again) this week!
Two minutes earlier he had been giving the Grumpy Gardener the pleading look through the fence leading to the veg garden.  You can almost hear Fergus asking for a bit of neep (swede.)
Soon all the boys are enjoying a bit, Faro is in front with Rufus standing behind him.
Wee Eck is determined not to let this bit of neep get the better of him!  Normally they just nibble them on the ground.  Fidget is behind.
Today has seen glorious weather and we had a lovely visit from sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Sheila and Jim and some members of their family.  The boys thought that Christmas had come early as carrots and grapes were being dispensed!  OK folks, time to turn around and smile for the Grumpy Gardener please...........
Thats better!  From the left me, grand-daughter Heather, son Colin, great-grand children Chloe and Cameron, Jim and Sheila.  The sky has been clear and blue all day so that will mean a frost tonight which the boys will enjoy.
And finally............. there have been some large skeins of geese flying south this week, sometimes they can't be seen in the mist but they can certainly be heard!  These are 12 swans, also heading south and 'honking' loudly as they fly.  Have a nice week.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Almost 'mist' the boys!

Another misty morning!  This has been a week of heavy mists and dampness, not really the kind of weather the boys enjoy too much.  Faro is at the front of this group as they come to investigate what the human is up to.
The boys always have hay in their shelters throughout the year, but they also like the occasional handful of hay thrown on the ground for them first thing in the morning.  Sometimes they are not interested in this but if one boy starts eating, then the herd joins in!
Gaucho looks darker than normal with his damp fleece.   Rufus is in front of him with Faro, Gully and Fyta behind.
Give this guy a handful of hay and he's happy!  Fidget - showing his piercing black eyes and pink top palate!
We paid a visit to Dalneigh & Bona Church Guild in Inverness this week to give an alpaca talk to an audience of enthusiastic ladies organised by Pru Wilson.  Thank you for the warm welcome ladies and your interesting questions - and of course for the tea and home bakes at the end!
And finally.............at the end of this damp week, an eerie picture of the misty cobwebs all the way around the fencing.  The flies don't stand a chance do they? 

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Frosty morning and visitors

We've had a mixture of rain and mist this week but on one particular morning it was very frosty.  Trying to get a photo of Wee Eck's frosty ear tips proved difficult - you can just see them against Rufus's body.
Eck refused to face the camera so I had to get another photo of the back of his head!  The frosty ears show up a bit better.
Back to thumping the water troughs again to get rid of the ice!
We had a very nice visit this week from Alison and Brendan who have recently moved from the south and bought an 8.5 acre croft in Easter Ross with the intention of having some alpacas as company.  They have featured in a previous blog in May when they were here on holidays but this visit was all about getting to grips with haltering, toe nail clipping and feeding habits.  At least the rain held off for the sessions.
Every well behaved alpaca should get a grape for being a good boy.  Alison is deep in conversation with Fyta who just wants another grape! Thankfully the boys were quite well behaved for their visitors and even though they have been on their Verm-X granules in their feed this week, still managed to show how to clean out their feed bowls.
And finally..............Fyta investigating the inside of the hay store.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Tip Toe through the mud!

Each morning over the past couple of weeks the boys move from their overnight paddocks into an adjoining 'rough' paddock.  They go to the gate automatically when Robbie appears in the morning and this is Faro leading the way as always, waiting to go through.
Unfortunately, due to the amount of rain we have had recently the path between the paddocks has become very muddy and whilst some of the boys walk/run through it with no problem, some are reluctant to get their tootsies wet! Fergus in the foreground and Rufus have no problems with mud and walk across.
Gully on the other hand is always dubious about this boggy land and tip-toes across like someone walking and trying not to get their shoes wet!
Gully is across and now only Fidget to go.  Being a heavier boy he sinks a couple of inches in the mud and is normally less than impressed with the idea of moving paddocks!
All safely across, so time for heads down and some grazing the rough stuff!
This photo of Fergus was taken at sunset at the end of another very rainy day.  He does have a second ear by the way!
And finally...........the birds are enjoying the Sorbus berries (foreground) and the holly berries behind.  There won't be any left by December at this rate.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Swede time.

For several weeks now the boys have been enjoying Swedes which we grow in the garden for them.  One or two of the boys would eat lots more if they were allowed to but we ration them to a lump each.  This is Gully enjoying gnawing on a piece.
Not content with eating his own ration Gully then tries to get his head through the bars of the gate to pinch a bit being chewed by Fyta.
Gaucho always keeps a low profile when there is any squabbling going on and here he is enjoying getting his teeth cleaned as he eats his Swede.
Rufus is also partial to his 'neeps' and he's managed to get two bits to eat!  He spent part of his earlier life up in      Caithness  where Swedes are popular, so he is probably well used to the taste.
Fidget has a 'take it or leave it' attitude to the Swede - and today he's left it!  This week we penned the boys so that we could do a bit of nail clipping to Fidget and Fergus who is standing behind him here. Being white boys their nails grow quite quickly.  Fidget has big, black eyes with pink eye lids and whilst he may not be the handsomest boy in the herd, he is still a lovely fella. Whilst the boys were penned we took the opportunity of bathing the left eyes of Gully and Faro which had both been 'runny' but are fine now.
Faro is in the foreground in this picture.  We have been encouraged over the past few weeks as the deposits have gone from 'pats' to 'dumplings' to 'hand grenades' but are now very big 'beans.'  He continues to eat well and scoffs his daily supplement so that pleases us.  Perhaps the summer grass had something to do with his 'loose' condition over several months but this is still an odd episode as it's the first time that has happened in the seven summers he's been with us. 
And finally...........the weather has been exceptionally mild this week but also a little rainy.  Friday however was a good 'drying day' with a breeze blowing so we took the opportunity to get the mower out to top the boys' toilet areas where the grass grows so lush.  They are in the rough paddock behind, just keeping an eye on the humans as always.