About the Alpacas

The boys have been asking for their own page for a while now, because they think they are much more interesting than boring old plants. Okay, Daniel, you can go first.


Hi all! As you already know, we’re the alpacas of Hayefield. My official name is RRA Granite’s Limited Edition, but you can call me Daniel. Most people pronounce it DAN-yel, but Mom usually pronounces it DAN-yel-knock-it-off. I don’t notice the difference. And anyway, I didn’t do whatever she says I did – honest.

Boys Holiday

GraniteDuncan and I are half-brothers. We were born 5 days apart in October of 2002 – and I’m the older one, so I should get everything first – at Rocky Run Alpacas in Malvern, PA. Our dad, 5Peruvian Granite 9052 (right), came from Peru. My paca-mom, Sundown Codi W1212, was born in the U.S., and my grandparents came from Chile. Duncan and I came to live at Hayefield when we were 10 months old – our first and hopefully last car ride ever.


That’s not to say that we never go anywhere, because we have to take Mom for a walk a couple of times a week. We usually walk along the roads, though sometimes we go through the woods. I think it’s kind of boring, except when people stop and tell me I’m cute. I also like when we get to eat grass at Grandma’s farm. It’s much better than the grass we have at home.

Oh my, I do enjoy eating.



Grass and hay are ok, but I really like treats, like daylilies…




..and anything I’m not supposed to nibble on.


I also enjoy playing in the sprinkler…


…sleeping in the sun…


Daniel napping Jan 28 08

Daniel napping midJuly 05

…and bothering Duncan.

034 (2)

I like it when people take my picture, too. Which do you think is my best side?

Daniel head 4 Daniel head 1 Daniel ears

I’m very proud of having appeared in the New York Times (ok, yes, with Duncan and Mom), but I think my our picture should have been much bigger.

Speaking of Duncan, I guess I should let him say hi too. Dunc – you ready?


Oh, my turn? Thanks so much, Daniel. I’m RRA Granite’s Laser, but Mom calls me Dunc, Duncan, or Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod (not sure what that’s all about, but whatever.) Same dad as Daniel, but my paca-mom, Estancia La Patria 9012 IMPZ98, was from Chile. Not much to say about me; I’m a simple guy.


I like going for long walks, especially when I can pretend that I’m alone and exploring the Altiplano of Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, as my ancestors did for thousands of years. Mostly, though, I enjoy hanging out at home, grazing…


…eating daylilies (especially red ones)…


…drinking out of the sprinkler…


…ruminating on life…


…and napping.



Daniel’s kind of annoying sometimes. He makes a big deal about being older than me but acts more like a pesky little brother.


But when he’s not trying to steal my food or generally being a pain, we can hang out together and get along fine.

2007_0625Image0009 Duncan and Daniel early July 05

That’s pretty much it, I think. Daniel wants me to remind you that Mom has blogged about us before (though not often enough, in his opinion) in Non-Natives in the Garden, Shearing Madness, and  Are Alpacas the Answer? If there’s anything else you want to know about what it’s like being or living with alpacas, leave us a note!


13 responses to this post.

  1. Cuties! Very handsome, happy alpacas. Thanks for sharing!

    The boys are out eating at the moment, Stacey, but I’ll pass along the message.


  2. Posted by Lisa at Greenbow on October 25, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Do you ever saddle them up and have them carry things for you?? What a spectacle it would be to see you three walking down the road. You guys should have your own blog. I love reading about you. You are both very photogenic.

    Somehow, I don’t think that would go over well with them. They’re not built to carry loads, as llamas can. I have, however, threatened to make sandwich boards for them and sell advertising space so they could earn some money when we go for walks!

    See, Mom – the world wants to know more about us. Or hey, maybe a photo blog, featuring ME!

    Thank you for your note of support, Lisa. We’ll do our best to keep Daniel under control.


  3. Posted by Cathy McKenny on October 26, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Hey Boys!
    There are a slew of guys here that would love to make your acquaintance someday. And they are going to thank you b/c I didn’t know that alpacas like daylillies. Next summer, they’re going to be verrrry happy.

    The girls would probably like to meet you, too but we’re trying to keep our numbers down, so that’s not going to happen. :-) Your mom probably already knows this, but the kids here want me to pass along that they REALLY like baby carrots and think you might, as well. And I REALLY like your mom’s gardens. Maybe someday my Vermont hillside will be as beautiful as your PA home.

    Take care!
    Cathy at Ibiwisi Alpacas

    Hi Cathy!
    Thanks for writing. Mom says it wouldn’t be a problem for us to hang out with your girls, but we’re not sure what that means. (It may have something to do with that one day the vet came years ago…we don’t remember too much about that.)

    We LOVE baby carrots – the more expensive, the better. She tries to feed us carrots from her garden, but who wants homegrown stuff? Well, ok, we do like her broccoli. And turnip tops. And beans and peas. And pumpkins. Apples, Asian pears, strawberries, and blackberries. And oh yeah – those huge zucchini – yum! Not sure why she doesn’t keep those for herself, but hey, the more for us. Asparagus is fantastic too, but Mom gets really agitated when we reach through the fence to help ourselves.


  4. Daniel and Duncan,

    I think you are the cutest creatures on earth! There is a very large herd of Alpacas just a few miles from me and I make sure that I drive by their pasture every day because they make me smile! :-) I must arrange to visit them now that the cool fall weather is here.

    A fan,

    Thank you, Cameron! I like the idea of being not just cute, but THE CUTEST. I guess you mean to include Duncan too. He prefers to think of himself more the ruggedly handsome type, but cute’ll do too.

    Say hi to your neighbor pacas for us!


  5. Hi Dan and Dunc,
    You two sure are photogenic (and extremely handsome). Your mom is very clever with her camera.
    You’re lucky boys to have such a generous and caring mom. She sure feeds you well. I wouldn’t be as generous with my Daylilies!
    We have a large herd of alpacas on the hill up by the lake above us. I love seeing them as I drive by but haven’t stopped to say hello yet. One day I will.

    Hello, Kerri! In daylily season, Mom collects all the open flowers every evening and shares them with us. She’s said something about deadheading, but we don’t know (or care) what that means, as long as the flowers keep coming. We love the leaves too, but she won’t let us help ourselves, so we don’t get them very often.


  6. Posted by Tina on May 31, 2011 at 12:09 am

    Hello Guys!

    My daughter Amber, almost eight, would like to know if you guys spit at people? Sister Autumn, aged ten, would like to know if people think you are silly and stare at you when you go out for walks?

    I would like to know if you are respectful in your moms garden? Either way, I think you are both quite handsome dudes!



    Dear Amber, Autumn, and Tina – I’ll answer on the boys’ behalf, since they are currently both asleep in front of the barn fan.

    Yes, they do spit. They don’t recommend it, because it’s a gross habit and makes your mouth taste bad, but sometimes, apparently, it’s the only way to communicate how annoyed you are. Like when your brother is being a pain. Or when Mom is trying to give you a haircut.

    And yes, some people do laugh at them, but many more tell them that they are very beautiful. (Daniel enjoys that very much.) Very few people know what they actually *are*, so they have been called emus, goats, sheep, llamas, and – frequently – “those are the weirdest dogs I’ve ever seen.”

    Duncan is very respectful of the garden and will nibble only on things growing inside the pasture, or on things I give him. Daniel is out for whatever he can get and has no shame about stretching his surprisingly long neck as far as possible to eat anything tasty.

    Thanks for visiting!


  7. Posted by Alicia Ellis on August 7, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Hello, just read your article about Lamium orvala. You seemed to be lamenting about it not being variegated. Your description sounds just like my Lamium ‘Beacon Silver’, except that L. ‘Beacon Silver’ IS variegated. :)
    It sets a heavy bloom in May, and then continues to flower throughout the season. It is great in the shade, performing better there than in the sun, It was easy to find before L. ‘White Nancy’, a white flowered form also with variegated foliage, hit the nurseries. I prefer the pink flowers, but you might like to try your namesake, too.

    Hi Alicia. Thanks for the suggestions. I grew both ‘Beacon Silver’ and ‘White Nancy’ in my previous (shady) garden and liked both of them. Lamium orvala is a clumper, instead of a spreader, and much larger in leaf and flower, with rosy pink blooms – no touch of purple, like those of ‘Beacon Silver’. They’re all good plants, though.


  8. Posted by Patty Ann G on September 7, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Must tell you how much I enjoy both your writing and your photography. Such a joy to read, and read again. But I have to say it is the pics of Daniel & Duncan that I most often find myself returning to. I could just look at them over and over, and have. I seem to end up in the “about the alpacas” section when I need a shot of happy. Just looking at those most beautiful and adorable animals (boys) brings such happiness.
    Thank you for all of your photography and writing.
    I am sure you will soon latch on to a new project even as you have finished the planting in your last patch of the fenced area. Perhaps you will be able to focus more on the enjoyment for awhile, as opposed to the mission. Such an accomplishment!

    Hi Patty Ann! So kind of you to let us know that you enjoy the boys’ pictures. You wouldn’t think they look either cute or happy today, all bedraggled and wet, but they’ll fluff up again soon once the sun comes back out. We hope you have a great fall!
    -Nan, Daniel, and Duncan


  9. Someone recommended I check out your blog as you have alpacas. Someone gave me some alpaca beans for the garden, and not having heard of them before I am researching them. I’ll be checking through your blog.

    Lucky you, Crafty! Like any livestock manure, ‘paca poo has both good and bad points. I don’t know why so many writeups about it make such a big deal about it being “lower in organic matter” than other manures; I found only one actual analysis of it, and it’s just a few percentage points lower than sheep, for instance. It *is* much lower in nitrogen than horse or chicken manure, so you don’t have to worry about it burning plants. I have used it by itself in containers with fine results. Do not believe claims that alpaca manure is weed-free, though: clover seed, at least passes right through them and germinates readily in the garden!


  10. Posted by Erin on September 27, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    They are too cute for words. If and when I get the farm of my dreams, I will join the alpaca family.

    The boys and I thank you, Erin. They agree that they are very cute. Good luck with your dream farm!


  11. Très adorables les alpagas Daniel et Duncan.
    C’est très intéressant de suivre leur histoire.

    Merci de vos mots aimables, Marithe. (Or, thank you for your kind words!)


  12. Alpacas are so nice aren’t they? I have 3 myself. I don’t breed though, I have them because I like them and so do the kids. They are great manure providers for my gardening purposes.

    They certainly are productive that way, aren’t they? I understand that having three is better than two, but two personalities are almost more than I can handle!


  13. Dear Nancy,

    I would be very interested in starting a communication with you.

    My website is http://www.worldbra1.org

    and you can see a few videos, and one video at


    click on the SeedZoo icon on the Richter’s Home page.

    I am a botanical Explorer and would be very interested in sharing very rare collections with you to grow out and share.

    best regards,

    Joseph Simcox

    Thank you so much, Joseph – I’ll definitely be in touch!


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