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, 18 August 2019

Fergus improves - weather does not!

The rainy weather continues here unfortunately with grass growing thick and lush and everyone struggling to get theirs cut.  The boys are not concerned by this - more for them to eat!
Faro (left) and Fergus whose leg injury continues to improve - albeit quite slowly.  He has some chunks of carrot to eat here.
And here he is chewing the carrot!  His left front leg is still bent but he is putting more body weight on it now.
Of course he still likes 'Mum' to give him a cuddle and to hand feed him every afternoon!  Faro and Fyta look on.
The damp, muggy weather this summer has made all the plants grow well and Fyta and Faro are shown here with the Gunnera plant behind them.  The plant was quite damaged by late frost but has made a terrific recovery.
And finally........... another photo of Fergus who has been spending quite a lot of time recently lying down in his favourite field shelter.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

More rain than sun this summer!

Faro (left) Fyta and Fergus enjoying a rare sunny morning lying in the sand pit together. The weather has been generally miserable this week with lots of torrential rain and thunder - we even suffered power cuts one day when a thunderstorm broke right over this area.
Fyta (front) and Faro who have been very supportive of Fergus during his recent struggles with his injured left leg.  We have opened up a third paddock to allow them to wander more freely, but not too far, as Fergus can only still walk a short distance without lying down.
The three boys with Fergus on the right, still not putting full weight on his injured left leg.
Faro, always the security guard and always ready to run to the aid of his two pals if he thinks that a human is going to interfere with them.
Fergus, taken a couple of days ago with a handful of hay to keep him chewing! He enjoys his hay and because he hasn't been grazing so much as the other boys since his injury, we make sure that there is always hay available for him.
And just to prove that he does enjoy his hay, he gets up and starts eating it!  Note his injured left leg.
And finally............ this is a daily gathering of some of this summer's House Martin broods, under the eaves of our house.  We've only had six mating couples this year but they have produced some lovely youngsters who are all now on the wing and getting stronger ready for their migration south in a few weeks time.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Fergus and a 'Painted Lady.'

Fergus (left) is still struggling with his injured left leg but is managing to get about the paddock better than he was.  Here he is (left) eating his hay whilst his pals Fyta (middle) and Faro are nearby.
Here is Fergus having managed to limp over to the poo pile!  You can see that he is holding up his left, injured, leg.
We have been surprised at how much attention Faro and Fyta have been giving to Fergus, lying down next to him in the shelter and never straying very far from him.
Fergus enjoys his daily piece of carrot which is what is in the bowl.  He is also grazing now, both whilst standing up or lying down, so that is good.
All three boys like getting into the sand pit, especially on a warm day and Fergus seems particularly pleased to be in there with his pals.
Taken yesterday about 8.00pm after we had collected 29 bales of hay from Tomich Farm Shop at Beauly.  Karen and Dave who own the shop and farm have 7 alpacas and a variety of small animals on their 'children's animal farm'.  Fergus and Fyta can be seen in the adjoining paddock, more interested in the musical sounds coming from the nearby 3 day Belladrum Tartan Heart festival than the arrival of their winter feed!
And finally............ a couple of days of strong sunshine has brought the Buddleia into flower and attracted different types of bees and swarms of the 'Painted Lady' butterflies.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

A difficult week for Fergus.

Fergus has had a struggle getting around during this week following his sprain injury received nine days ago. His pals Fyta and Faro have stayed close to him clearly realising that something is wrong because he has spent most of his time in the field shelter.
Fergus at the rear with a handful of grass for him to chew, which Fyta occasionally steals!  Fergus is able to get up and go to the toilet but is still limping badly.  After the first couple of days when he was quite shocked after his accident he has gradually become more alert and has been interacting with his pals.
Faro is aware that all is not well at present with Fergus and stays close-by watching everything that the humans are up to in the paddock.
Today Fergus has been much more active and followed his pals into an adjoining paddock.  This is the furthest he has walked in over a week so we take that as a positive sign that he is getting stronger.
Here is the wounded soldier today, bless him, no doubt wondering why he cannot walk without limping.  Hopefully the days ahead will see an improvement.
Faro (left) and Fyta, Fergus's two buddies who will be pleased to see him return to fitness again soon.
And finally............. one advantage of getting up extra early to check on Fergus in the field shelter is that there is always wildlife around.  This Roe Deer is a frequent visitor to the garden, making the Gardener even more Grumpy!

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Poor Fergus!

Following shearing last weekend, the boys have had a lazy week in pleasant weather, without their thick fleeces.  It was time to change their sleeping quarters again by opening up a field shelter and closing the one they have been using.  This photo of Fergus (left) and Fyta in the sandpit was taken just before an unpleasant incident.
Robbie opened up the field shelter and the boys went in, rolling in the dust which they always love to do.  Fergus is in the middle with his back to the camera and in the next few seconds he became entangled in the two pieces of twine holding a small bale of hay which was in the shelter and which he's decided to eat.  He immediately panicked and Robbie managed to hold him and got one piece of twine untangled.  Fergus ran from the shelter with the twine wrapped around a couple of his legs but Robbie caught him fairly quickly in the paddock but not before poor Fergus had sprained his left leg in trying to escape.
This is Fergus holding up his left leg which was clearly sore although thankfully the skin was not broken and he had not been cut by the natural twine.  We called the Vet out as Fergus was clearly distressed and appeared to be in pain.  The Vet checked him over and confirmed that no dislocation or broken bones had occurred but gave him an injection to reduce the inflammation around the 'knee' area.
Fergus was clearly upset by what had occurred and was limping badly but managed to eat his feed with a bit of encouragement.
Faro (left) and Fyta have also been affected by Fergus's condition, staying for long periods of each day quite close to him.  We've kept them in a closed paddock so that Fergus can always see his pals close-by when he is lying down.
This incident happened on Friday and two days later Fergus is still limping badly but moving around more now.  There is obvious discomfort for him but he lies down for long periods which should help the healing process.  He is eating regularly and going to the toilet so we just hope that he recovers soon.  We never use hay nets in case of entanglement and this unfortunate accident has demonstrated how quickly an innocent situation can suddenly turn dangerous for animals.
And finally.............at the end of a worrying couple of days, the sun has brought out the flowers on the Cardiocrinum Giganteum - the Himalayan Giant Lily which now stands nine feet tall.  We hope that Fergus will continue to improve over the coming days - poor boy.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Shearing time again.

The boys always know when something unusual is going to happen in the paddocks because the humans start shifting gates and hurdles around.  They hang around looking concerned and wondering what is going on.
Fyta and Faro know that if the hurdles are being shifted then there is every possibility that they will end up in the catch pen for something - maybe nail trimming, maybe haltering - and maybe shearing! We've had these boys for 12 years now so they know what to expect.
Fergus is a pretty laid back kind of guy who will let other herd members make the decision and he will follow them.  Being sheared isn't his favourite pastime however so he likes to scream a bit!
Today, the morning of the shearing and the boys are waiting the arrival of the shearer - real anticipation showing on their faces now as the catch pens are waiting to hold them.
Number two on the shearing list is Fyta who is shown here being sheared by James Dixon who has sheared varying numbers of alpacas for us over the past 11 years and always makes a great job of it.
And finally..............Faro was first on the shearing list as always, and also had his teeth attended to so I guess a mouthful of hay is welcome to take the taste of the dentist away!

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Not exactly summer weather!

I think Fergus is looking forward to being sheared next weekend! Mind you, with the cold weather we've had over the past few days, the boys are probably better off with their coats still on!
Faro (left) and Fyta enjoying grazing amongst all the wild flowers.  The boys have all been on their Verm-X granules this week, mixed with their feed.
Fergus (left), Faro and Fyta with Fyta in the long grass which he likes.
Feed time and the boys all scramble downhill and across the paddocks to get fed.
We've had a couple of decent, sunny days during the past week and when that happens, the boys hit the ground with Fyta and Fergus in the sand-pit.
It's the daily poop-patrol and Fyta and Fergus check out what the human is up to with his barrow and scoops!
And finally.................Delphiniums amongst the other flowers and grasses.  A lovely splash of colour.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Phew - it's been hot!

We have had a couple of scorching days this week but thankfully not as hot as some places in UK.  The boys won't be sheared for another 2 weeks so they have to try to keep cool.  This is Fyta (left) and Fergus keeping cool, lying in the long grass specifically left uncut for them - and the bees and insects. We've also had lots of thundery downpours this week so it has not been wall to wall sunshine!
Fyta's favourite pastime in the heat is to be in the water tray, this time being watched over by his pal Faro.
A kiss for the human from Fyta as more cold water gets poured into the water tray. The water hoze has been in action too this week, sometimes at 8.00am after another balmy night.
Fergus carries a heavy fleece and spends a lot of time in the sandpit or in the field shelter if the sun is blazing down.  All three boys tend to just lie down in the heat and move around as little as possible.
The heat does not put the boys off their daily feed.  Fergus (left) and Faro run towards the feeding area, leaving Fyta sleeping nearby in the sun!
After repeated calling, Fyta wakes up and gets the food message.  Here he is running to catch up with the other two boys.
We have had hares in the paddocks for some weeks and this is very unusual.  We see plenty of rabbits around but hares are rarely seen, so we take plenty of interest in them.  We've seen one leveret in the long grass so there are probably others around. We think this is Mrs Hare who ran out of the paddock as the mower passed and decided on some shade in the garden.   you may have to magnify this shot to see her more clearly.
And finally...........the strong sunshine has brought out these Irises planted in pots in a wall.  Lovely colours, aren't they?