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, 29 March 2015

Rough paddock

We've let the boys up into the 'rough' paddock this week - we call it this because the ground is covered in boulders and the grass is a bit rough.  It's also on a slope and the entrance way is muddy but the boys seem to enjoy the change.  They come out of it overnight but first thing in the mornings they queue up at the gate to get through.  This shot shows Faro at the gate, head and tail up, ready to rock!  Fidget, Fyta and Fergus amble along to join him. 
Plenty of rain around this week and Fyta looks slightly damp.
Fyta strolls into Fidget's personal space and gets the usual visual and audible warnings from him.  Fyta turns away slightly, expecting something nasty to come flying through the air from a spitting Fidget!  Fergus in front is unconcerned - he's seen it all before!
Faro is first into the paddock and runs up the slope looking for his three chums who are still strolling behind him.
There they are at the bottom of the slope, more interested in grazing than following Faro.
Later in the day they had some carrots which they really enjoy.
And finally...........an early morning photo of the Flowering Cherry tree just beginning to get it's colourful flowers on display.  We've had gales, sleet and rain this week and with snow still on the hills, the temperature remains low.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Spring's a-coming!

The weather has been reasonably kind to us this week, a feeling that Spring is picking up momentum but every now and again a really cold wind blows warning us to be patient.  This is Fidget enjoying the sun.
Now that the herd is down to 4 boys from 8 previously, things are a little more laid back, especially at feed time when there used to be 'bowl chasing' every day.  It's hard to say if these boys 'miss' the other 4, they certainly seem quieter. From the left, Fidget, Fergus, Fyta and Faro have not heard the photographer approaching from over a rise in the ground.  
Spotted!  Faro takes up his usual alert, guarding stance whilst the other three...........well,  they don't seem to be bothered about the human!
Yesterday was a lovely, warm day and Fyta and Fergus  were dunking their feet in the water trough so we got one of the  water tray out.  Fyta gets in immediately with a look that says, "Water now please Dad!"
"Thats the business - thanks."
And finally............"Can a chap please get some privacy at bath time ?"

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Down-sizing!

At the beginning of the week Faro and the rest of the boys were very interested in why the humans were moving lots of hurdles.  The reason was that we had decided to down-size the herd from 8 boys to 4 boys leaving our original 4 with us - Faro, Fergus, Fyta and fidget.  The other 4 boys, Gully, Gaucho, Wee Eck and Rufus were moving to a new home up in Portmahomack in Easter Ross.  Unfortunately Monday and Monday night especially were to see storm force gales again so we made the decision over the weekend not to move them until better conditions on Tuesday.
So here are the 'removal boys' at their new home on an 8 acre croft run by their new mum and dad, Alison and Brendan.  Regular readers of this blog may recall that Alison and Brendan have visited us several times having moved up from England and wanting to fulfil a long standing dream to have some land and own alpacas.  Who better to be dream-makers than these four boys?
Rufus (left), Gaucho, Wee Eck and Gully have a wander around the perimeter fences and sample the plentiful supply of grass.
'Big Sky' country in these parts as the boys take in the size of the paddocks and their new field shelter.
We left the boys to explore their new home and here they are looking out at Balloan Castle and the Dornoch Firth in the distance.  They seemed to settle down quickly with their new grass and so whilst we will miss them after these years we know that they will have a great time on the croft.
Back home, our boys were on fresh grass too so didn't seem to miss the others too much.  Here are Fidget (left), Fergus, Faro and Fyta.
And finally.................a long range shot of the 4 boys in their paddock.  On the far hill you may see the smoke of the 'muir burning' where old heather is burned off in strips to allow new growth for game birds.  You might have to magnify most of these photos to get better detail.  So now that we have a changed herd we'd better spend some time on changing this blog layout!  Have a good week.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Spring? Snow way!

Tuesday of this week was a bit of a shock to the system especially since we thought that Spring had sprung! In this photo Fyta has decided to look for the poo pile.
Thought we'd finished with the sugar beet for another winter - no chance!  Always funny when the bowls start sliding downhill on the snow followed by the boys.
Whilst the rest of the boys are in the shelter Faro as always checks out the photographer! Watching the snow from the shelter are Gaucho, Rufus, Wee Eck and Fergus.
Fergus has a look of resignation about him as he realises that there will be no green stuff on the menu today!
Fyta in the front with some of the boys behind. As usual in the snow the appear to be a bit lost wondering what to do when there is no grazing.
By Thursday the snow had disappeared but was quickly followed by wind and more rain, adding to.......
the mud which is everywhere, especially the low lying parts of the paddocks.  Most of the boys including Fyta here try to avoid walking in it. 
And finally...............at the end of a pretty stormy week with more gales forecast the boys are interested to know what the humans are up to moving all the hurdles around.  More about that next week!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Snow gone, now it's mud

It's been a wet and stormy week (again) and from the various blogs around I note that we are not the only ones with a mud issue at present!  This is Gaucho enjoying some hay in the field shelter when the photographer arrived.
Hearing a human voice, out comes Faro, ever alert with his tail up checking what is going on!  The boys having been making good use of the shelters this week, especially when it starts to sleet.
Small in stature, large in presence - Wee Eck gives a toothy grin.  You can see his reddish coloured 'skirt' of long fleece at the base of his neck.
Fyta, with bits of mud splattered all over him shows off his haughty look.  Rufus is behind.
Just to show that the boys will graze close to each other at times, here are Fyta(left), Rufus in the middle and Fergus.
We're still clearing some damage from that terrible January storm.  We have managed to saw up the massive fallen Birch, split and transport all the logs to stores and burn off all the very small branches. In the garden at Tigh Mhor the obelisks which have supported the climbing roses and Honeysuckle for years, gave way under the power of the wind.  This photo was taken as Robbie cut away all the branches which had wrapped themselves around the metal,  filling six barrow-loads of cuttings in the process.  Another bonfire soon I suspect!
And finally..............at this time of year most of the garden looks colourless and uninteresting but at least some of the heather bushes give us some colour.