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, 26 July 2015

Making faces - and a giant Lily!

I'm never sure whether Fidget (front) is pulling faces when his photo is taken but he always manages to put on an open-mouthed look!  Behind him on the skyline is Faro, tail up as usual.  We've had lots of rain again this week so the boys have enjoyed rolling about and getting dirty.
See what I mean - Fidget at it again!  Of course he is chewing as usual, and if it's not grass or hay, it's the cud which is getting masticated.
Faro, much better than he was this time last week but still not 100%.  He's still looking a bit thinner than usual, he's grazing well now but turning his nose up at his daily supplement most afternoons.
Feed time yesterday afternoon with Fyta (left), Fergus (centre) and Fidget.  Faro is in the distance having walked away from his bowl without even trying his feed.
Those of you who have followed this blog over the years may remember the Cardiocrinum Giganteum (Giant Himalyan Lily) which we planted and which grew to over 8 feet in height before displaying it's 'trumpet' flowers.  In the intervening years it has only grown to about two feet each year so we moved it to the new house a couple of years ago to see how it would fare.  Although it has grown to just under six feet this year it has now put on a splendid display of blooms, accompanied by a heavy scent.
And finally............a close up of those trumpets which only appear every few years!

Sunday, 19 July 2015

All about Faro - again!

No sign of good summer weather here yet, plenty of rain and gales for a couple of days so not a lot happening - until Friday that was.  We noticed during the day that Faro didn't seem to be his usual self, he was lying down more than usual and was only grazing occasionally.  This photo of him with his three pals was taken in the early morning and at that stage his tail was still up, a usual sign when humans are around.  We penned the boys, gave Faro a mineral drench and sprayed them all because of the amount of flies around.
By early afternoon he had gone down and was not getting up.  We thought that his feed might give him the incentive to get up but as the photo shows, he was not interested. A phone call was made to the Vet and Hamish and student arrived shortly afterwards.  We expected that with 4 humans around him Faro might try to get up or try to spit - no chance, he just lay there - so this was serious.  Hamish took his temperature (lower than normal), checked him over, took a blood sample then gave him a series of injections (B12, antibiotics etc) and Faro hardly flinched or made a sound.  We were instructed to get as much water into him as possible and we agreed to wait, keep a close eye on him and wait for the injections to take effect.
In the next few hours he moved position only once and we gave him repeated water drenches, most of which he accepted.  Interestingly, for most of the day the other 3 boys stayed near him and when the vet was here it was scary how they came close to watch what was going on. After the above picture was taken they all came around him and laid down a few feet away.  We are quite certain that they realised that Faro was unwell, and whilst they did not touch him or go to him directly, they were always in the close vicinity - not something they do all the time.  Heavy overnight rain was forecast so we coaxed Faro to his feet and he walked slowly to the nearby shelter and lay down for the night.

The humans were up before 4.00am, peering through the gloom from the house and we could see that Faro was on his feet and walking around!  By early morning he was walking short distances then lying down, and often with his pal Fyta close by!  Since then he has slowly got back to routine, grazing normally, chewing the cud occasionally, toileting normally and looking generally much better.  Phew - this boy is a worry sometimes, so we now await the result of the blood test from the vet.
As well as all this excitement, this was the week for the boys' routine dozes of Verm -X granules in their feed.  Not that Fergus here notices anything different in his feed - it all gets 'hoovered' up in double quick time!
Elsewhere around the place, this little fella is enjoying his time in the garden, darting around the plants and doing what rabbits do - dig holes!  The grumpy gardener has given his orders to our neighbour's two visiting cats to "Git the bunny critter or your milk ration is halved!"  Mmm!
And finally..............we are really pleased with the progress of this Gunnera which we planted in the boggy area 2 years ago. 

Sunday, 12 July 2015

A quiet week

Fyta likes to follow the human around each morning as he carries out a 'poop patrol!'  He's a lovely boy, (Fyta I mean, not the human!) with a very playful nature.
Fidget is enjoying life without his fleecy coat.  He enjoys lying on the damp grass and doing a bit of sunbathing - when the sun comes out.
Sergeant Faro, always on duty stands to attention and checks out the humans.
All four of the boys enjoy the rough paddock where we keep the grass long for them.  It is getting a bit too long now though and will have to be topped.
We had a lovely visit today from Judith and Dave, on holiday in the area and considering alpacas as pets when they return to New Zealand next year.  The boys enjoyed some carrots and were pretty well behaved - even Fergus and Fyta used the water tray to show to the visitors.  Good luck with your 'paca plans when you get to New Zealand folks - nice to have met you.
And finally................the grumpy gardener has obviously had plenty of Thyme on his hands recently!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Tigh Mhor no more!

Like most people in UK we've experienced some interesting weather in the past week - everything from thunder and lightening and torrential rain to blistering heat for a couple of days.  During the week or so following shearing we're aware that the boys always seem to be a little more sensitive to touch etc when their fleece is removed.  They've spent many hours during daylight, all 4 in a field shelter sheltering either from the downpours or the heat of the sun.  They also seem sensitive to flying beasties too so lying in a field shelter with a dark roof probably helps to keep them at bay.  This is Fergus, looking slick this morning and struggling to get himself awake! 
As the human distributes the hay to the various buckets, Fyta (front) and Fergus decide to help themselves to supplies!
Faro breakfasts properly by using the hay buckets.
Not to be outdone, Fergus joins Faro for a bucketful!
And in the next paddock Fidget sits amongst the clover and buttercups enjoying the moment, on his own, just as he likes it.  We penned the boys during the week when we saw flies massing on a black spot on Fidget's back and gave the area a soaking in Maggot oil.  We know the dangers of fly-strike on animals so are always watchful at this time of year when they've lost the protection of their thick fleece.
 Down in the Steading it was 'fly the nest' day on Wednesday for these two young Swallows as Mum and Dad circled outside calling them and encouraging them to take to the wing.
And finally................'Tigh Mhor' sold and changed ownership on Friday to Sharon and Dave who will be lovely neighbours.  We'll still call our 4 boys 'Tigh Mhor Alpacas' as they are mostly in the same paddocks with our new house.  A last look at the Red Hot Pokers and Day Lillies just before the house was handed over.