The Maddock family turned their children’s 4-H project into a family business.
Cynthia Maddock knew all the reasons she should give in to her children’s pleas for livestock the 4-H project would provide valuable lessons; the family had room for some small animals on their property near Paola, Kansas; and importantly, it would put an end to the begging.
Cynthia did her research, looking for low-maintenance animals that require minimal space and are kid-friendly. That process led them to raise three Nigerian Dwarf goats. When the family’s first goats arrived, everyone fell for their engaging personalities.
Project turned business
A Nigerian Dwarf goat produces only about half a gallon of milk a day. Though still, as the herd multiplied, she had to find ways to keep up with them. The high-fat content in their milk produced cheeses, Artisan soaps, and lotions that all family members could use.
Cynthia enjoyed creating all-natural products that family – and increasingly, friends – enjoyed. With the growing popularity, she started thinking about area farmer's markets. It might even provide some income for her oldest son, who was starting college soon.
With the help of their lender, Frontier Farm Credit, they have grown their operation for the past decade. And with that growth, they’ve established their Madd House Hill products as a fixture at area farmer's markets. They also have an online shop where customers can choose from Cynthia’s soaps, lotions and lip balms, milk baths, and sweets made from Nigerian Dwarf goat milk. The Maddocks also have started a loofah garden to grow their kitchen and bath sponges.
“Believe me; I had no idea we would get to this place. We’re getting to the point where we will have to hire on more help,” Cynthia said.
A family affair
The family’s goat herd now numbers in the 30s. The Maddocks keep some of the kids (baby goats) born to their does each year and carefully select adoptive families for others. Just as they did when the Maddock children were young, the goats set the rhythm for the household.
Now, grown and attending a nearby college, the three boys start and end their days with milking. While attending classes, Cynthia picks up the slack. On the weekends, she and her husband, John, work the farmer's market circuit. Their daughter, now married to a farmer, manages its social channels and writes newsletters and blogs.
“This is a common goal for our family,” Cynthia said. “It keeps us connected.”