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, 24 April 2016

It's water tray time again!

Quite apart from the frosty nights and cold northerly winds this week we've also had some hot sunshine.  The boys started to 'dunk' their feet in their water troughs so it was time to get a seasonal water tray out of storage.  The boys were in a different paddock when the tray was deployed but soon catch on to it's location.   Faro is first in line, soaking his face and the top of his head which he likes to do.
Fergus (nearest camera) and Fyta are hard on Faro's heels to get into the tray.  Fyta always tries to muscle his way into the tray before the others.  Fidget is making his way slowly towards the other boys, out of shot.
As usual Fyta gets himself into the tray, displacing Faro and keeping Fergus waiting - which does not please Fergus as he stamps in the tray!   Fidget is on the other side of the fence watching the argument.
By now Fyta and Fergus have started a spitting match over ownership of the tray.  Faro looks as if he is saying, "What is it with these two, Boss?"
Fergus takes the long view and decides to wait until Fyta gets fed up - or his 'bits' get frozen!
At last Fyta gets out of the tray and Fergus immediately takes his place and gives his neck a good soak.
And finally..........Fidget decides he will wait his turn for the tray which must surely come - it did, about 10 minutes after this when my camera wasn't handy!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Ughh - the taste of medicine!

Earlier in the week we decided to pen the boys and give them a drench.  As the catch pen gets organised the boys know that they will be herded in that direction shortly.  They know exactly where to go so penning them is not a problem.
Ughh - what a taste!  Fergus shows his dislike of the drench, his bottom lip droops and he starts to cough.
Fidget dislikes the taste just as much but knows exactly what to do - grab a mouthful of hay to neutralise it.
See?  Easy peasey when you know how.
Soon all the boys go for the hay routine and it does help them - they know this from spitting episodes.   Five minutes later they are nibbling grass again as if nothing had happened.
Later in the week we had a lovely visit from Alison and Brendan of Seafield Alpacas at Portmahomack in Ross- shire.  Here, Alison tries to keep Fergus supplied with carrots whilst the other boys have had their fill and wander off. This was a bitterly cold day with frequent sleet and hail showers.
And finally...............the week has been rounded off with a bit of very pleasant sunshine (and a cold wind) so Fyta immediately gets into sunbathing mode.  Fergus and Fidget are in the background whilst Faro does what he is good at and stands guard over his pals.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Wet weather = muddy knees.

I had begun to think that we wouldn't have a reasonable day to get some pics for the blog but managed to get a few today, despite the continuing rain.  The boys know that there are non-alpacas on the other side of the hedge, so are a bit wary. Fyta (left), Fergus (front), Faro (behind) and Fidge at the rear - as always!
We've had a rainy week so the boys have been wet, dry, wet, dry all the time but they don't seem too bothered.  They are all displaying their muddy knees.  Fyta (left) and Fergus check the movement behind the hedge.
Fidget reckons that there are three other alpacas to check out the hedge - so he will just carry on enjoying his carrots! More muddy knees.
The object of all the attention by the boys, our neighbours' dogs 'Lexie' a Labradoodle and in the background 'Tess', a Labrador.  They are lovely dogs, always up for a bit of fun.
And finally.............the Bergenias are just beginning to display their flowers now.  The leaves are bright green in Spring turning to red in the Autumn.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Creatures of habit.

Frosty nights earlier in the week again and this first series of shots were taken first thing in the morning when the frost had not yet melted.  Fidget is nearest the camera here and you can see the melted patch underneath him on the ground where he has lain during the night. We tend to keep the boys in two large paddocks overnight so that they are closer to the field shelters but open a gate in the morning which allows them to go into the rough paddocks.  They know the procedure and stand and wait for the human to arrive which is what they are doing here. They return to the overnight paddocks by themselves before evening.
The gate is now open with Fyta nearest the camera, Faro and Fergus going through and Fyta deciding to give the photographer a cheesy grin on the way past!
The procedure is still the same here as human, followed by Faro, Fergus, Fyta and Fidget (at the back!) walk towards gate number 2 in an extended line.
For an alpaca who doesn't like cameras, Faro is doing very well here as he waits for the gate to be opened.
We normally give the boys their daily supplement feed around 3.00pm and from around 2.00pm onwards they congregate in the top paddock where we feed them.  No need for these guys to have anyone tell them the time, they seem to know it instinctively. 
Fidget doing his camel impression, not at the human but at Fergus who had wandered too close to Fidget's bowl!  The Grumpy Gardener's new veg plots can be seen in the background together with a couple of new flower/plant beds which he's been slaving to complete before the growing season gets under way.
And finally............... the Bog Myrtle (Myrica Gale) bush now covered with brownish coloured catkins.