Goats bringing joy to people, goat farm growing

HARBESON, Del. – A farm in Delaware is getting creative when it comes to addressing mental health, and it involves, goats, yoga, and cuddling. “If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be doing this, I’d say you’re crazy,” says Laura Ritter, co-owner of Goat Joy.

Laura, her daughter Amanda Ritter, and their family operate a goat farm. They tell us, that about five years ago they hosted a goat yoga session for a fundraiser for Amanda’s agriculture sorority, and back then, the family only had about five goats. Fast forward to today, the family has about 150 goats, and has turned goat yoga into a popular business, ‘Goat Joy.’ “It’s the endorphins that are released, and when you’re talking about it later all the hormones release and it just makes you feel good and continues beyond the hour that you’re here,” says L. Ritter.

L. Ritter says the goats aren’t just something cute to look at while doing yoga, the goats can make a huge impact on mental health. “They’ll come up to me after the session and tell me this is the first time she smiled in months, it just does your heart good.” She adds, “If I get stressed I go sit in the barn that’s my happy place and I like to share that with people.”

The farm has four different breeds of goats, so there are plenty of fun personalities to go around. Tickets can get you a unique yoga experience, or a cuddle session where you can learn about the goats, and relieve some stress. “I’m definitely learning a lot for myself and for my three-year-old so it’s a lot of fun,” says a Goat Joy participant, Rebekah Scarano. Another participant, Connie Schetler adds, “Just hanging out with the goats and getting to pet them and love on them and it’s just a fun experience.”

L. Ritter says the goats aren’t just becoming yoga gurus and cuddle masters,  the farm is on a bigger mission. They tell us they’re building a herd of dairy goats to start a business making 100% goat milk products right in Delaware. “It makes them a lot friendlier and it’s a benefit all the way around, but it helps people and helps the goats, and helps when using them in the dairy,” says L. Ritter.

Participants say they’re thankful for the memories made at Goat Joy. “I’ve never held two baby goats at one time so it’s kind of fantastic, and this is the first for me, so what’s not to love about this,” says Scarano. Schetler adds, “Once in a lifetime experience, I’ll definitely be back.”

L.Ritter also tells us, they’re hoping to get their dairy farm up in running by the summer.

For more information, you can visit their website.

Categories: Delaware, Local News