Alex with one of his pregnant female goats.

What is your history with Glen Haven?

My family has owned the property since 1929 and I’ve lived here for about 10 years off-and-on, the past three years have been full-time.  I’m on the local fire department and help with road work for the Glen Haven Association.

I understand that predators are generally an issue when people consider raising animals up here in Glen Haven. We have foxes, bears, mountain lions, and birds of prey. How do you defend your animals?

I’ve been raising the animals for a year. They don’t attract predators as people might think. The goats have a house they’re locked up in every night. The house is bear and lion resistant, no fully bear/lion proof but they won’t try to get in. If they did, I would hear it and come out. The only animal I’ve had try to get into the house was a raccoon.

Are there any other misconceptions about raising animals up here that you can dispel?

Yes - you don’t have to be really good at raising these animals or spend a lot of money. Just start and figure it out as you go! For housing, plan to iterate on the location and build a few times, because you’ll probably get it wrong at first.

The younger hens in their coop.

Can you tell me about your chickens?

I have 14 older hens that consist of different breeds like Laced Wyandottes, Easter Eggers, and Rhode Island Reds. They lay all different colored eggs. I keep the older ones away from the younger so they don’t pick on them. I have about 24 younger hens. I plan to keep half of them and sell the others to locals who may be interested in raising chickens. I’d be willing to help them build the chicken coop, I’ve had some good learnings that I can share! They can lay about one egg each per day.

Can you tell me about your goats?

They’re Nigerian Dwarf goats. These goats originated in Africa and were brought over to feed wild animals from Africa in zoos during the 1970s. Extras were released. A woman came along in the early 70s and collected these released goats for milking. They’re different from regular farm goats. They make good pets as they’re personable and clean.

I have four pregnant females goats right now. I anticipate twins or triplets from each when they give birth next month. I intend to milk them. People can reach out to me if they’re interested in purchasing goat milk.

I get the girls out for a hike twice a day. For people who are interested, you can get a grazing permit from the national forest for about $13/year. The forest has a lot of healthy foliage for them to eat.

The goats pick up on human moods. I have a bedtime routine for the goats. I think it’s reassuring to them.

Do you have any plans for expanding your animal set?

I tried beekeeping for a little while. I don’t think they live here, so that would be a big challenge. I’m interested in getting mules in the future. They can help with logging. I like to experiment and see what works.

Alex Parmalee of Fox Creek walking his goats for some much-needed pregnancy exercise. The goats are due to give birth in May!