Fife care homes could soon welcome a unique visitor – Bambi the alpaca.
Since 2015, Claireville Alpaca Farm has hosted walks, parties – for children and adults – and meet and greets, and has taken some of its 40 alpacas to visit children at local schools and to various events.
And now Claire Blyth aims to take Bambi to care homes as a ‘therapet’.
Bambi had rickets when he was just months old, and his treatment means he has a different relationship with the visitors than the other alpacas.
“He had to be stable rested,” explained Claire. “We couldn’t have put him in a stable on his own because he wouldn’t have survived. He would have got crushed with the girls. So he spent all his time with us.
“Because of that, anyone else who is a human is an alpaca. We’re his herd. It’s made him so versatile in terms of what we can do with him and where we can take him. He loves the attention.
“I thought a great thing would be to take him to care homes and meet people who would benefit from animals. He loves people. The wives of a few people who work on the farm work in care homes and are desperate for us to get up there.”
The farm, home to the Blyth family for 35 years, first introduced alpacas in 2015. While the farm was already home to pigs and hens, Claire’s mum Linda wanted to make better use of the land.
“I liked the look of them,” said Linda.
“We’ve all these fields and they weren’t getting utilised. I’d seen an alpaca and thought ‘how braw’. We got seven girls – all pregnant – and one of the boys. We did a bit more breeding and bought some more.”
Now people come from around the world to see the alpacas, from families to local politicians. The farm sells a range of alpaca-themed goods, with mugs, t-shirts, hats and more on offer.
But why have alpacas become so popular over the last few years?
“They’ve blown up,” said Claire, an encyclopedia of alpaca facts, which she shares with visitors on the walking tours.
“Alpacas are really friendly. I think it’s strange they’ve got so big so quickly, considering they are the second longest domesticated animal in the world.
“When you do so much and offer so much, it can be really crazy busy. My phone never stops.”
“It’s good fun. I love the alpacas,” added Linda.
For more details about the farm and the services offered, visit the website clairevillealpaca.co.uk.