It all started with a goat handbook. Back in 2009, Jessica Pottebaum was given a goat handbook by her mother-in-law. She and her husband, Josh, live on a ten-acre property in Kentucky and, after reading the book, the Pottebaums decided two small goats would be a perfect addition to their land.
“We figured they could keep those ten acres mowed down. They did a terrible job of keeping the yard under control, but I fell in love,” Pottebaum says. “Their antics and personalities could always put a smile on my face.”
Since those two fateful additions, their herd of goats has grown to 53 (in addition to dogs and a cat). Of the 32 adult goats and 21 kids (baby goats) currently on the farm, they will retain two of the kids and adopt out the rest as companion animals.
“We breed a handful of our does [female goats] every year and sell their kids as companion animals,” Pottebaum says. “Our girls get at least every other year off and are never bred past the age of ten, [then] they’re retired and live out their days on our farm. The kids always stay on the farm until they’re about three months old.”
The goats of Pottebaum’s farm, now called Goats Gone Grazing Acres, have become nothing short of Instagram stars.
“I really wanted my mom back in Nebraska to be able to see what I was doing out here in Kentucky. I knew she’d never believe my stories if she didn’t see them with her own eyes,” Pottebaum says. “You wouldn’t believe how many times a day I laugh and smile at these guys.”
It’s not hard to believe when you see the adorable photos and videos of the goats lounging, playing, mugging for the camera and running for food.
Pottebaum credits her goats with bringing happiness into her life in a very significant way.
“I had suffered from depression, anxiety, and social anxiety for many, many years and I actually credit the goats with helping me beat the depression,” she says. “They’re my reason to get out of bed every morning.”
The joy the goats bring to Pottebaum are felt by fans and followers, too. People have been known to send presents like snacks, swings and brushes for the goats. They can even visit the goats, too.
“We encourage visitors by appointment only. The more interaction the kids have with humans, the better,” she says. “We also like people to visit our main herd. They’ve really only dealt with Josh and me over the years, so we’re trying to socialize them.”
Of course, for all the adorable antics Pottebaum gets to see up close and personal every day, she admits it is very hard work.
“It’s never-ending,” Pottebaum says of maintaining the non-profit farm and the animals who inhabit it. “Now that I’m a full-time farmer, I’m outside from sun up until sun down.”
Even with the hard work and sometimes heartache that comes with taking care of farm animals, Pottebaum says it’s always worth it and she hopes her love of goats reaches people far and wide.
“These goats make me smile so much, it’s only fair that I share them with the world,” she says.
Images via Goats Gone Grazing Instagram
Aly Semigran is a lifestyle writer for the world and roommate of Ruby, the cutest dog in the world.