Alpacas or Sheep?

I had a lovely visit to Andyn Farm this afternoon to see the Alpacas and Herdwicks that live there. Although Herdwicks are more commonly found around the Lake District, these three are being used to manage the pasture at the farm, which surrounds the plant nursery. It had been a while since I last saw them, so it was nice to see them again and their bushy winter coats before they need to be sheared.

At first, they didn’t seem to recognise me, but they quickly warmed up and became their usual cuddly selves. We have three alpacas at the farm named Apollo, Quirkus, and Feagus, all named by different members of the family. They’ve been living at the farm for four years now and are true masters of their grassy hills. They look so majestic and calm up there, it’s a delight to watch them.

The alpacas get to pick the best parts of the pasture, and once they’ve moved onto fresh grass, the sheep are allowed to graze to their hearts’ content. The Herdwick wool is used as mulch around some of the trees, but we’re still figuring out what to do with the alpaca fibre. It’s much softer and gentler than sheep’s wool, so if you have any suggestions, please send us an email. We’d love to hear from you.

I couldn’t help but notice the contrasting personalities of our beloved Herdwicks and Alpacas. The Herdwicks are incredibly hardy creatures and will do just about anything for a handful of grass. In fact, they’re so trusting that they’ll happily eat out of a stranger’s palm. Mary, our resident go-getter, is a prime example of this trust – he’s always first in line for treats and loves nothing more than a good head scratch.

On the other hand, the alpacas are a bit more reserved and have a calming presence about them. They’re not as outgoing as the Herdwicks, but they do have a soft side that shows through once they get to know you. It’s always a joy to see them snuggled up together in their little group, enjoying the sunshine and each other’s company.

So, which do you prefer – the hardy and trusting Herdwicks or the calming and cuddly alpacas? It’s a tough call, but we’d love to hear your thoughts. Drop us a comment below and let us know which of these gentle creatures steals your heart.

Overall, it was a fantastic visit, and I always feel lucky to have these gentle creatures as part of the farm’s community. Even when the alpacas look suspicious with their ears flattened back, there’s no aggression, and it’s always a joy to be around them. It’s no wonder they’re used for animal therapy.

-Abby