A walk for the body and soul

Nov. 20, 2018

Everywhere you go nowadays you hear people talking about healthy living - about the fruit and vegetables they have eaten this week, or the amount of steps they have taken and so on. But is that really so good for you, counting what you do so you can be better than the Jones's down the road. Sure, we shouldn't be dissing wholesome living. But is trying to out-do others healthy? Is there a better way to do it, to achieve a healthy way of life?

There is. What is it? I hear you ask. Well, it involves walking all right; but with a little bit of a twist. 

Let me just say before I begin to explain, I have a 'finger in the pie' I'm about to talk about.

Imagine if you could go for a twenty-minute or half-hour walk that will help you feel better both physically and mentally. You'd probably say that you could only experience such a feeling after being to some sort of virtual reality place. Not true. You can actually achieve such a great feeling after bringing alpacas for a walk.

Bring alpacas for a walk? I hear you saying, probably with a little disdain in your voice. Well, it's true. Alpacas have something within their make-up that seems to be able to draw out the the bad thoughts and feelings that lurk in the human mind, the thoughts that are just waiting their chance to make you feel down again. You know the ones. I've seen people coming to our farm, walk some of our boys and breaking into infectious smiles. In some cases they have even opened to inform us of what was bothering them. And then when they have finished their walk, they just smile. Now that is a walk for the body and soul. If you haven't experienced it, you probably would not believe it. And I don't blame you because it just sounds incredible. The truth is - it is.

In this age of racing around, trying to be the best and trying to be the fittest, it might be time to just take stock and decide what is important; does it include pretending to be the best on the outside; or just being you with a wellness that nature can help you achieve.

We may be letting out our alpacas for walks and it may seem like this is just an advert for walking our animals at Hilltop Farm Alpacas, but there is a wellness in this activity that is worth more to you than some of the stuff sold to you by those who supposedly know what's good for you. Avacado might be one of the foods of this decade but alpacas have always been good for the human sould for almost 6,000 years.

Come along and see for yourself. 

Share this page

What can you do with alpacas?

Oct. 16, 2018

That's a question we at Hilltop Farm Alpacas are asked regularly. Visitors to the farm; or even at alpaca shows want to know what we do with our alpacas. Is there any money to be made from them? Is another popular enquiry. For those of you who have never read any of these blogs, let me tell you that you cannot get a better animal to enjoy the company of, than an alpaca. They are extremely intelligent creatures with their own individual personalities. Unlike dogs, who are also good pets, alpacas don't bark. Unlike cats, they don't wander off and leave you. I could go on and on but I think you probably get the jist of it. These animals are welcoming, inquisitive and friendly while in most cases keeping their distance. That last part does not include our Bronson who runs to meet visitors and smells them up and sdown and has a tendency to tickle children. They are extremely good with people with many different kinds of development disorders; from autism to Downes Syndrome. It is just so heart-warming seeing alpacas interacting with visitors and seemingly being able to understand that all people are not the same - as though they can see and understand our auras.
Anyway, back to the original question. People come and take some of our alpacas for walks, making donations for being given the chance to do so. You can see the difference in the visitor's demeanours when they return from a walk. They are smiling and it seems that our alpacas have the ability to allow people to leave their problems behind them, as though they can encourage us humans to unshackle ourselves from our problem. They are good for our wellbeing.
Recently we have gone into another field. We have and will be bringing some of our alpacas to weddings and birthday parties for photo opportunities. Seeing the faces of the already happy individuals become even happiers is a great feeling. We have been to a couple of nursing homes where the majority of the residents enjoyed the company of these gorgeous and docile creatures.
So there you have it; that is a lot of what we do with our animals. Most of the people who visit us are extremely generaous and we have had some return visitors. This is what we do with our alpacas and why we have them. We are hoping to make some improvements to the farm in the coming months in the hope of creating further opportunities for Hilltop Farm Alpacas.
You should come and see the animals for yourself. Hope to see you soon.
Alan and Catriona

The first at a first

Jul. 30, 2018

Things are busy here at Hilltop Farm Alpacas. There was no way that this time three years ago that we would have imagined we are doing what we are these days and evenings. We’ve had some firsts and so much travelling with our show boys.

Since our last blog, where we told you about the birth of our little cria – Destiny – her mother became ill with mastitis in one of her teats. We were milking her every evening to try to and ease her pain and discomfort in the hope that doing so would clear the teat. Our vet had given us an antibiotic to give every second day, but alas, we couldn’t stop what was to come…

The mother alpaca – Astra – developed pneumonia. At 5pm she was fine and 30 minutes later she was breathing heavily, unable to stay standing. We called the vet who, in fairness to him, rushed out to us. He administered two injections and told us to keep her out of the sun and not to let her eat until morning. Astra was so uneasy and a couple of times she fell over. The sickness had taken all of her strength and even when she did get up she was unable to walk properly.

That was it – it was decided that we would stay with her for as long as was required to ensure that she didn’t deteriorate.

But this is where you might giggle to yourself or just throw your eyes up to heaven. We did an all-nighter. Well. I didn’t. I stayed up until 2am. Catriona and the two girls stayed with Astra until 7am, taking shifts. The following morning our alpaca was almost back to normal. The evening before her temperature was 105 degrees and overnight it fell back to 98. Our vet had worked his magic.

But that wasn’t our only first. No. We were asked to bring our boys (Bronson and Clyro) to a birthday party for a 1yr old. The boys loved it every bit as much as the children and of course adults at the party. I mean what else would you be doing? I know that this time three years ago before Hilltop Farm came into existence we wouldn’t have considered our last week as being any kind of possibility.

Alpacas…what would we do without them?

The Ups Out-weight The Downs

Jul. 15, 2018

No matter who you are you will face ups and downs; but its how you deal with them that is most important. Do you have someone or something that you can lean on in times of real need – times when everything seems to be against you.

We all have faced it, when we thought about throwing in the towel and giving up on the job we had started just because the Gods seemed to have left us to our own poor and seemingly inadequate devices. There were times in the last 12 months on Hilltop Farm that we felt that despair. First we experienced our first alpaca death on the farm, a day old cria swallowed his mother’s waters during birth and as a result the little man –Caesar – died because of a lack of oxygen. It was so heart-breaking to see a lovely little animal die so soon. Our Vet, HGVM were fabulous but there was nothing that could have been done, but that was through our own lack of knowledge in the first instance. But this despair soon disappeared like smoke in the wind on the birth of a healthy boy we named Clyro.

Last October we took in two older alpacas from a woman who was unable to find a home for them. She had decided to get out of alpaca farming. But little did we know at the time that both of them were ill. They arrived to us with mites and then in March of this year, the older of the two alpacas died the first night of the heavy snow. We hadn’t realised she had been ill until then. That then began a large treatment programme whereby we dealt with each of alpacas individually with preventative medicine and we managed to ensure all but one of our animals remained clear of this illness.

The heavy snowfall also produced its own difficulties with regard to grass and water for the alpacas. But then last Monday he had another birth on the farm. Our little cutie – Destiny – born to the mother who lost her baby last year, is full of life. Destiny is just fabulous and reminds you why we do this. This is one of the Ups that far outweigh any of the Downs that we have experienced in the last number of months.

We are lucky that we have each other on Hilltop Farm, but we are even better off having these fabulous animals around us that can improve every situation without them even trying. Where would we be without our woolly animals who provide us with the required amount of entertainment needed to ensure that we will continue with our project for as long as we can.

If any of us need a pick-up we just go outside and talk to our alpacas that seem to listen attentively to every word and do so without casting any aspersions on our character.

Little Destiny is six days old as I write this and she is already has her own personality. You could sit and watch her endlessly as she shows-off to the on-lookers. It’s just magical and worthwhile. Up, up, and away

Does character matter?

Apr. 25, 2018

When it comes to alpacas, the animal's individual characteristics are not one of the main reasons for someone wishing to acquire these animals especially if they intend on increasing their herd. A male (macho as they are known in South America from where they hail) is normally purchased because of his condition and his presumed ability to help produce excellent progeny. 

But what if your male is of good quality and has great characteristics? Is that even possible?

Yes is the answer. The Irish National Alpaca Show was held last Sunday (22nd April). A renowned judge from England was invited by the Alpaca Association of Ireland to preside over the competition.

It was a long day, the animals were penned before 9am and were out and loaded up on their trailers after six that evening. Some were tired and getting a little upset - but not our Bronson of Hilltop Farm Alpacas. There were over 80 alpacas competing for prizes and our boy reached the Supreme Male final. He had already won his intermediate grouping and then the final for his category.

But that was just half of the story. Bronson wooed the crowds with his character. He leaned over his pen so encoraging all passers-by to rub him down - and they duly did. I was approached by several alpaca farmers who were interested in having Bronson 'cover' some of their females and some wanted to know when he would be involved in the production of cria (alpaca babies).

Even the yarn spinners at the show were interested and I have since been contacted by them in order that they could have his fleece.

Even the alpaca judge was impressed with Bronson's body structure and his exceptional fleece quality.

So there it is; as important as it is for the animal to have good quality fleece and body structure, character is almost as important. Last Sunday proved that once and for all.

Attached is a photo of Bronson winning his first Rosette at the show.