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, 16 April 2017

Chilly, but sunny week.

A week of sunny periods along with very cold winds - and a dusting of snow has returned to the mountain tops but at least we've been able to work in the garden.  A strange noise gets the boys looking around them........
........and here is the source of the noise.  Not heard or seen since the end of last summer, it's time to get the big mower out once again.  Once the boys know where the noise is coming from, they carry on grazing.
Fyta and Fergus keep an eye on the progress of the grass cutting whilst Fidget and Faro carry on chewing the grass.
A nice picture from later in the day, once the boys had been fed they settled down for a nap.  Looks like Fyta in the middle has already nodded off!
As always, Fidget keeps himself slightly apart from the other herd members.  He likes his own, personal space!
At the end of the week we had a lovely visit from friend Iain and his family having a couple of day's holiday in the north.  After a morning of mountain-biking they stopped off to see the boys having their carrots, then headed back to the Black Isle.  Nice to see you folks, hope you enjoyed your break - and the cold wind!
Neighbour's cat 'Pike'' has spent most of the week in one of the field shelters trying to catch a rabbit which has burrowed under the building.  He goes home for his meals then comes back to watch patiently over the rabbit hole.  The alpacas view him with a bit of suspicion however.
And finally.................. lots of colourful flowering currant bushes in the hedge, attracting bumble bees in the sunshine.  Have a very Happy Easter!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Just lying about.

Faro looks every inch the guard as he checks out the photographer.  His three pals are close by but Faro sometimes keeps himself a little distant.
And here he is, keeping an eye on his three pals who are lying about enjoying their haylage.  Faro does not eat lying down as the others do - but he does enjoy haylage!
Fergus (left), Fyta and Fidget - relaxed and enjoying the moment knowing that Faro is looking out for them.
Fidget - bless!
Faro and his three chums.  They have had a good week of weather, dry with a cold wind and they like that.
One of two old ploughs we have near the paddocks.  Time to get 'himself' to put another coat of metal paint on it for this season I think.
And finally..............a host of golden daffodils maybe?  Lovely colours anyway and great to see them in bloom.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Fleeced up boys.

Like all the boys, Fergus is well fleeced up now and will enjoy a lie down in the sun once he has finished his feed.
Fyta's fringe is now beginning to get a bit long.  It does have the advantage of keeping the sun out of his eyes and no doubt keeping flies at bay but it will start to obscure his vision a bit shortly.
Faro enjoying his feed with the other boys behind him.  It will be Verm-X time for them all next week again, the monthly dose soon comes around.
Fidget is well known for not wanting any of the other three boys to come into his 'personal space!'  If this happens, he sticks his neck out in the direction of the offender and makes plenty of camel noises.
Just like this!  None of the boys actually fight with each other but sometimes an argument will develop into a spitting match until one backs down.  Camels, eh?
A nice photo taken today of Fyta (left) and his pal Faro.  One will follow the other then Fergus and Fidget will bring up the rear.
And finally.............. these Primula are providing some lovely colour.  We have them dotted around in pots near the back door, and with the daffodils now in full bloom, there is a lot of colour around.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Another lovely week

When the weather is nice sometimes it's good to lie down and eat out of the bowl! Fyta, Fergus and Fidget all do this but we've yet to see Faro eating his feed whilst lying down.  When the feed is finished Fyta has a tendency to roll the dish over with his nose as if checking to see if there is any more!
Fidget has scoffed his feed and now hunts around the dish to see if he has dropped any morsels.  All the boys are well fleeced up now as can be seen in these photos.
Fergus gets his thick fleece checked.  The sun is beginning to rise in the sky and the temperature is on the up, so the boys are beginning to sunbathe more.
Faro does not have the heavy, thick fleece that the other boys have but his is a lovely colour.  We're very pleased with his eating regime these days as he clears his bowl every day now, such a turnaround after years of 'picky' eating.
We've had a lovely week of weather - the Grumpy Gardener has even been cutting the grass - and March isn't finished yet!  Only a slight dusting of snow on Ben Wyvis in the distance. The boys are taking it easy in the sun here with Fergus in the sand pit at the rear.
The cavalry has arrived in a neighbouring field!  Our neighbour Kerry has moved 'Blue' (left), Eric (middle) and Otis into this field to give their normal paddock a break and to recover, after winter.  In front of the barn in the background are two Tamworth pigs - gilts, who will shortly be introduced to 'Boysie' the resident boar! These guys are certainly a spectacle for inquisitive alpacas in the nearby paddocks!
And finally.................sunset on Friday, with the sky glowing in a variety of colours assuring us of a lovely day to follow on Saturday.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Alpaca talk during a quiet week.

Fyta boy, looking good on a breezy day earlier in the week. He's a lovely boy, great nature and always inquisitive.
See what I mean ?  Here he is at the fence with Fergus looking to see if there are any more carrots on offer!
They've been joined by Faro and all three of these guys are carrot lovers.  These photos were taken on a very damp day, but they didn't mind the weather.
Trailing behind as always is Fidget.  If he gets excited by food he will trot and jump around, but for carrots.........nah!
Fergus will wait patiently for the very last carrot in the bowl.  Faro and Fyta in the background.  You can see Fergus's long eye lashes on this photo.
On Thursday we went to Dingwall to give an alpaca talk to the Phoenix Club members.  We were last with them over three years ago and we were asked to return and update everyone about 'the boys!'  It was a lovely afternoon, thank you for inviting us again Ann and members,  and of course thank you for the welcome 'cuppa!'
And finally......................more Spring flowers emerging!  These mini-tulips have emerged in the last week as have lots of mini daffs.  The larger daffs are taking a little longer to emerge.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Nails and the ageing boys.

Fyta (front) with Faro behind - two buddies who follow each other around  The boys are 11 years old this summer and we've had them for 10 years so they know who their friends are!  The veg plots can be seen in the background, empty apart from some leeks, parsnips and sprouting broccoli and now awaiting Spring.
Big Fergus getting a pat after finishing off his share of the carrots.  The boys have been on Verm-X granules this week with their feed.
Fidget - in upright mode and devouring some haylage.  Like the other boys he enjoys his food - perhaps a little too much judging by the size of him!
Fidget - in horizontal mode and deciding yesterday that he did not want to have his nails trimmed - again!  All four boys are herded into the pen, Faro and Fyta are released and Fidget and Fergus, both white boys, are in line for nail trimming.  Fergus was as good as gold and all nails got trimmed.  Fidget however assumed the cush position, so no chance of a trim.
Fergus is in the pen on the left with Fidget and Fyta is waiting for him outside on the right, with Faro. 
We tried a different tack with Fidget and moved him from the small catch pen (top of picture) into the bigger 'holding' pen.  This time he did not cush and we were able to get two nails trimmed, which is a start.  It is likely that he now associates the catch pen with nail trimming and knows immediately to cush.  Moving him to the bigger pen confused him about our intentions, so we'll try this approach again.
After the nail trimming session, Fergus (left), Fyta and Faro enjoy some haylage.  Fidget has cleared off to an adjoining paddock in the huff!
And finally................. I just finished knitting this scarf a couple of days ago.  It is made from Fyta's fleece which I find is getting less soft as he gets older. I find that all the boys have coarser fleece now that they are older.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Changing seasons

Faro, looking good on a sunny morning earlier this week.  He is feeding well these days which is a  great relief for us as he has been a 'picky' eater of his supplement feed for years.
Fergus, also looking good but no chance of him going on a diet any time soon - he loves his food too much!
This is the type of scene which makes any alpaca owner's heart skip a beat - is he 'down' or just sunbathing?   In Fyta's case, he just loves to flop, getting his belly facing the sun and enjoying it!
See?  He's keeping an eye on the photographer all the time and even manages a grin for the camera,  cheeky chappy!
We had two old friends, Alan and Kath stay with us for a couple of days and we had lovely weather, especially on Friday which was glorious. But this week the boys have had all four seasonal weathers to deal with, with sun, rain, wind, frost and snow.
It rained all day on Saturday, then this morning over a couple of hours we had quite a dump of snow.  By mid afternoon it was mostly gone and we were basking in warm sunshine once again!  Wonder what the birds, bees and plants are making of this weather?  This shot is looking down over the veg plots and garden.
And finally.................. these mini Daffs are making a cheery appearance through the snow adding a bit of colour to a corner of the garden.