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, 25 December 2016

The Christmas blog

 A very happy and peaceful Christmas to all our blog readers - hope you all have a great time wherever you are.
The week started by putting the boys in the pen for Faro to have his drench and also for Fergus and Fidget to have their nails trimmed.  There is always a bit of anxiety and humming when the boys are penned so Fergus, left, and Fyta are being told that there is nothing to worry about.
This is Fergus's right foot and you can see that the right nail which always twists inwards, is in need of a trim. As well as a twisting nail, the 'quick' extends quite a way under his nails so we have to be particularly careful when trimming. I hold him in a loose 'neck-brace' whilst Robbie trims and Fergus complains!
Fidget unfortunately has started to 'cush' every time we try to cut his nails.  This has been happening over the last year or so but before that we had no real problem in cutting his nails.  He realises that if he 'cushes' that we can't get at his feet, which, like all alpacas, he tries to protect.
Trimming and drenching over, the boys follow Mum back to another paddock, pleased no doubt to be free again!
As the week wore on, the weather deteriorated with storm Barbara arriving.  We've started feeding haylage as well as hay and the boys thoroughly enjoy it.  From the left, Faro, Fergus, Fyta and Fidget behind.
The hail clouds roll in from the west, pushed along by Barbara but the boys are quite happy in the paddock.  When the wind gets really bad they 'go to ground' behind the hedge or go in their field shelter. Storm Connor arrived today with Santa!
And finally..............long suffering blog readers will know that we usually have some jig saws under construction during the short days and long nights of winter.  This year's Christmassy one was an effort - a bit too much red!  Have a lovely Christmas.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Visit to Seafield Alpacas.

We travelled north earlier in the week to visit Seafield Alpacas at Portmahomack in Easter Ross.  There, Alison and Brendan with dogs Milo and Casper and their chickens and ducks have a great time on the croft.  These are their boys, left to right, Merlin, Chocolate, Flynn, Wee Eck and Gully.
Gully, left, and Merlin with the croft fields stretching away behind them.  It was a clear day when we visited although the wind was bitter.
All five of the boys again and as always, Wee Eck's teeth stand out against his black fleece.
Carrot time for the boys with Alison.  Milo the dog is close by but the boys are unconcerned about his presence - they are more concerned about getting a carrot!  Lovely to see you all looking well, Alison & Brendan.
Back home on the ranch and three of the boys are on cat watch.   From the left, Fergus Fyta and Fidget with Faro up near the hedge eating hay.
Here he is, ears back in a typical Faro pose!  He continues to eat well at present which keeps the humans happy too.
And finally............Fidget raises a smile as he thinks about all the hard work to come this week for Donner, Blitzen, Dancer, Prancer and the other reindeer boys!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Daily routines

Overnight frosts continued into the beginning of this week and as usual the boys take a bit of time to get themselves going first thing in the morning. From the left, Faro, Fergus, Fyta and Fidget. Faro knows the morning paddock routines off by heart and will walk ahead of the human when the water is changed, the hay is dispensed and the poop patrol begun.  He goes to the closed gate waiting for the boys to be let into another paddock and of course the other three just follow him, as leader. 
In the early morning frosty gloom, Fidget enjoys some hay. He enjoys frosty weather and usually sleeps out under the stars when it is like this.
The boys love a handful of hay on the ground first thing in the morning and last thing before it gets dark. Their four hay buckets are usually empty in the mornings so there is obviously a bit of nocturnal feeding going on.
Faro is suffering from a 'runny' right eye at present, something he often gets during winter.  It's not serious and he allows us to wipe his eye with clean tissue.  We may have to use Orbenin in the eye if it does not clear up.  We've used it before and it works well.
Taken today, the boys wander up the paddock knowing that one of the humans has a tub of carrots ready to dispense!
And finally.................it's not often that we see roses in the garden at this time of year but the current warm temperatures during the last few days are playing tricks on plants and insects.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Intelligent thinking, boys!

An early morning photo from yesterday with the mist rising from the River Beauly which lies behind a fold in the land.  The field shelter is empty, the boys are already out and grazing.
They are in a nearby paddock - Fergus (front) with Fyta and Fidget in the next paddock on his own - as usual!  Faro is close by.   Interesting that they will graze going downhill, even on a sharp slope, but when they go to the toilet they always face uphill!  Think about it - that's intelligent!
It was a good, dry day yesterday with only a light wind so the Grumpy Gardener decided to burn off a pile of branches and whin (gorse) bushes.  The boys are in the next paddock, completely unconcerned by the smoke and flames.
Whats to do on a lazy, Sunday afternoon?  Well, as we're now into Winter apparently, but with warm sunshine on offer there is only one thing to do - chill!
You can almost feel the frosty chill creeping into this photo as the sun sinks behind a hill around 3.00pm and the boys are ready for their feed.  From the left Fergus, Faro, Fyta and Fidget.  Notice the brown marking on Fergus's right cheek - his mother had an identical mark.
And finally.............. I've been doing a bit more spinning lately and this all belongs to Fyta.  He looks white with black rear leggings, but his fleece looks grey when spun.  I've plyed three of the light and dark fleeces together.