OUR SMALL HERD

Our original 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 5 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, 13 October 2019

A quiet week.

Faro - the main man, strutting his stuff across the paddock!  He has been eating his daily feed well throughout the summer but that has not always been the case.  He has always been a 'picky' eater and rarely guards his food - if another alpaca approaches him whilst eating he normally wanders off leaving the feed.
We can't say that Fyta is a 'picky' eater - should have called him 'Hoover!  Here he is this week checking out the hedge cuttings which the Grumpy Gardener is putting on the bonfire.
Fergus - not at all 'picky' with food - should have called him 'Dyson!'  The boys have all been on their Verm-X granules mixed with the feed this week. Fergus's injured left front leg continues to improve - he's still limping but not so dramatically!
Fyta and Faro checking out the couple of horses and their riders who are passing on the nearby road.
And the two pals once again, this time enjoying their carrot and Swede (turnip) slices in the sunshine.  The Swedes are now nice and tasty and the boys really like them.
And finally..........some autumnal colours in the garden during a very windy day this week.  The Sunflower is one of a few dotted around the garden.  The very big giant Sunflowers have all shed their flowers now so it's nice to see these smaller ones.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

A normal week and a mystery flower.

Faro coming to meet the human who has entered the paddock (with carrots!) Fyta is behind and Fergus behind him.
The boys have enjoyed reasonable daytime weather this week but on 3 consecutive mornings we have had to scrape frost from the car windscreen.  Winter is a-coming!
The Grumpy Gardener has made a start on the annual mammoth hedge cutting project now that most of the wasps have gone.  Faro and Fyta are curious as to why he is taking this photo from the top of an orchard ladder.
Fergus continues to do his own 'thing' around the place, going at his speed and certainly not running about as Faro and Fyta do from time to time.
Fergus again, taken this afternoon at feed time.  Today is the start of a week-long doze of Verm-X granules in their feed - Faro is not impressed!  It is interesting that Fergus inherited the brown mark on his right cheek from his mother who had an identical one.
The three boys, taken on a damp and drizzly day today, after their feed.  The weather forecast for the days ahead is for more rain - oh dear!
And finally.............this bright yellow flower appeared this week and the hand written name tag in the ground nearby says it is a Salicifolium (Yellow Ox Eye). We are not totally convinced as we think it could be one of the Inula family.  None of the photos we've seen of either flower identifies it positively.  Perhaps we'll ask the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) for an opinion.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Field shelter changing again.

It was time to change over the boys' shelter this week.  They know when this is going to happen because the human brings his barrow to carry things so they hang around to get in.
Fyta waits patiently at the door until the earth floor has a covering - then he and the others will go in and have a good roll around.
After rolling around Fergus decides he will stay inside whilst Faro and Fyta get on with some grazing.
Fergus is still limping around but he is getting about OK, just a lot slower than he normally would.
We had a lovely visit on Friday from neighbours Amanda and daughter Evie.  The boys knew that carrots would be on offer and Fyta showed his bad manners by getting his head into the bowl - much to Evie's delight! Nice to see you, ladies.
 Whilst the humans did all the chatting, the boys decided that that was boring and lay down in the warm sunshine nearby. Fyta in front, Faro behind and a horizontal Fergus close by!
And finally........ there are bunches of Nerines out in bloom around the garden, their bright pink flowers contrasting with the surrounding greenery.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Summer returned - for 2 days!

Faro (left) and Fyta in the sand pit which has been in full use this week as we had a couple of days of scorching sunshine. Faro's nose shows he's been rolling in the sand!
And here he is in close-up, his nose and whiskers covered in sand as were his legs and under-carriage.
The water trays were also in full use this week.  Fyta is getting splashed here with Fergus waiting for his turn.  He is still holding up his leg when he stands and is not taking his full weight on his fore-leg yet.
Even the Grumpy Gardener was called in to hoze the undercarriages which the boys all love when the heat gets too much.
After the hozing-down comes a lie-down in the sandpit once more.  Fergus enjoying the sunshine and sand!
A long range shot of all the boys in the sand pit at once.  When we had 4 boys they couldn't quite all fit in comfortably, but these 3 boys can.
And finally.....................the sunflowers have burst into flower this week with the strong sunshine.  Plenty of butterflies around the garden and this flower has attracted lots of insects including the wasp at the bottom.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Autumn has arrived.

Fergus - still limping around the paddocks after his accident 7 weeks ago, but getting on OK and grazing well.
If there is one thing that Fergus hates it's if another alpaca comes close to him when he's eating his carrots!  This is the result - Fergus indicating to Fyta to move away or he will spit!
All three boys are normally quite happy grazing alongside each other however.  Fyta is in the background and Faro is in the middle.
We've had gales for most of this week and horizontal rain yesterday, but sometimes the sun appears and it gets hot for the boys.
This looks like the middle of the night but in fact it's only 8.00pm, Fergus photographed as the boys' paddock is being closed up for the night.
Another windy day as indicated by the raspberry bushes blowing about and with Faro keeping an eye on the human taking the photos!
This is the last large flower on any of the Buddleia bushes around our garden and the Peacock butterfly is making good use of it!  The Swallows and House Martins have all flown south now - hope to see them again next Spring.
And finally...........success with his runner beans for the Grumpy Gardener.  He hasn't been as lucky with his brassicas - the caterpillars have won this year!

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Late summer sunshine.

The 'dynamic duo' - Fyta (left) and Faro on the hunt for carrots or tit-bits from the human.
A long way behind is Fergus who can be seen in the background, still limping badly but getting around. Faro is alert - tail and ears up!
Fergus makes it to the carrots and soon finishes them off.  The boys have been on their Verm-X granules with their feed this week, the last doze was today so they will be pleased not to have any more until next month!
We've had a couple of nice days this week (for a change!) so whilst the humans are busy in the garden and cutting grass, the boys take it easy in the sunshine.
Fergus again - another day and another handful of carrot slices!
Cheeky boy - Fyta, always wanting to get his nose into the camera lens and pose for a photo!
And finally.........A view down on the boys in their paddocks from a different angle.  Faro is easily seen walking up hill, Fyta is behind a small pine in the middle and Fergus is at the bottom left, in front of the Gunnera plant.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

A wet start to the day.

Early morning in the field shelter after pouring rain overnight.  The boys stay in the shelter if it is heavy rain so they are nice and dry!  Fyta (left) Faro and Fergus wait for the human to fill up their hay buckets again for breakfast.
A picture taken from inside the shelter with rain still falling outside.  The boys will finish their hay before venturing out to get wet! We've had heavy downpours during this week.
Fyta (front) and Faro - the 'dynamic duo', always up to a bit of mischief and chasing each other around the paddocks.  They have different natures from Fergus who is much less energetic although all three boys are the same age.
A familiar pose from Faro who, if he is disturbed during his hay munching, will stand like this with a mouthful of hay!
Fergus - gradually getting more mobile after his leg injury.  He still limps badly but gets around all the paddocks now, following the other two boys and grazing well.  He's a lovely boy.
A feature of the weather this week has been the gales and when this happens the boys tend to lie down in a hollow in the paddock below our house. Alpaca owners will be familiar with the 'burnt' grass area around the poo piles, seen here at top right.
And finally..........part of the Grumpy Gardener's haul of onions this summer which is better than he expected.  They are laid out in the garage to dry before being hung from the rafters over winter.  The varieties are 'Red Baron' (front) and 'Sturon'.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Better weather - and visitors from Greece!

The sand-pit is a favourite place to be for the three boys, Faro (left), Fyta (middle) and Fergus.  On warm days they like to lie on the sand and with better weather this week it has been much in use.
Fergus is still limping with his injured left front leg but he manages to get into the sand-pit now, something he has not been able to do comfortably for a while.
The weather has been better this week and we've been able to cut the grass in the paddocks for the first time in weeks.  The grass has grown thick and long with the amount of rain we've had and the fact that it has not been cut.
Due to his injured leg we've held Fergus and the boys in two paddocks so that he did not have to walk too far. This week we have opened up another paddock for them to graze in.
As if to show that he is able to stand up and walk even on this sloping paddock, Fergus obliges by posing for the photographer!
Now here is a lovely story.  We are used to tourists stopping nearby to look at the alpacas but yesterday, three campervans stopped en route to Loch Ness and this extended family from Greece visited to look at the boys.  They were a lovely group and even used a drone to film their visit - much to the surprise of the alpacas, that was the first time they had seen and heard a drone. This photo was taken after I had done some impromptu spinning to show them how the fleece is used.  The children especially liked the soft fleece and took away some samples to take back to their schools.  Thank you all for your visit, it was lovely to meet you, and thanks for the lovely gift which you gave us from Greece.  We hope you found Loch Ness and 'Nessie!'  Take care and enjoy the rest of your holiday in Scotland.
And finally............ the Echinops (Globe thistle) flowers on the left attract lots of bees and they make a nice contrast with the red berries of the Rowan (Mountain Ash) behind.