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What Are Kiko Goats?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
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  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2014
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Kiko goats are goats bred for meat originating in New Zealand. They are prized for hardiness and profitability as meat animals. While the breed was originally created and solidified in New Zealand, these goats are currently found on farms in many locations, particularly the United States. Its ability to survive and thrive in harsh conditions make many people consider these goats a highly profitable breed to own.

The word kiko is the Maori word for meat. These animals were bred for a singular purpose, and thus do not perform well as milk or fur animals. While all goats can be eaten, not all goats reach an edible size quickly, and many require large amounts of food to reach that size. Kiko goats were created to avoid these problems in goat meat production, and it is claimed that the breed provides the most profit with the least input of resources, such as time, land, or food.

Initial development of kiko goats began with Garrick and Anne Batten in New Zealand. They were later joined in their project by Goatex Group Limited. Initially, the breed was created by crossbreeding New Zealand's feral goat population with Anglo Nubian, Saanen, and Toggenburg breeds. The original feral goats were descendants of milk goats imported from Britain, as well as Angora goats, although both these had developed into survival-focused animals with little meat yield.

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Selective breeding and crossbreeding continued, focusing on survivability and growth rate. In 1986, the breed was dramatically improved from the original feral stock and the breed was officially established. No more crossbreeding was used, although the breed continued to improve with selection of the best specimens of kiko goats.

Kiko goats are typically white, although some are colored. Males have large horns and can be aggressive. Females are known to be good milk producers, allowing the breed to sustain more twin births. The animals grow relatively quickly to a harvestable size without much additional feed, which is one of the breed’s main selling points.

The reputation of kiko goats maintains that the animal can live almost anywhere eating almost anything and still reach a size desirable in a meat animal. This is because these goats browse efficiently and convert most energy into meat production. Although raised to survive in the hills of New Zealand, a kiko goat is thought to be able to thrive in mountains, dry areas, and other unconventional farmland. These characteristics are what make kiko goats so desirable for meat.

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burcidi
Post 3

@alisha-- That's right, it's about breed. You can't breed two Kiko goats that are not registered with an association, in fact you'll have problems registering the herd if they're not from the same association. Of course, associations want to make sure that they're not mixing DNAs with other breeds. The other bit is purely political, so to speak.

There is actually only one American association for Kikos, it's called the "American Kiko Goat Association." The other association is an international one: "International Kiko Goat Association." And then there is an American registry called "National Kiko Registration."

You can register your goats with any one, just make sure that you can breed with goats from the same association. I've been raising goats for milk for a long time now. I started raising Kiko goats about three years ago. Mine are all registered with the National Kiko Registration.

discographer
Post 2

@simrin-- That's not a bad idea at all. There might be NGOs who are already working on such a project. I personally have no idea but I think it sounds great.

I'm thinking about starting a Kiko herd myself. I've already started looking for Kiko goats for sale. I'm a little confused about Kiko registration though. I think all Kikos in the US are registered with an association. What I don't understand is why there is more than one association and what's the advantage of this whole process?

Does it have to do with keeping the goats purebred, so they don't get mixed with other breeds? Anybody know?

SteamLouis
Post 1

I think goats in general are pretty amazing animals. My grandfather has a small herd in his farm and I watch the goats eating away happily at the tiniest of plants and grass that the other animals don't even bother with.

I consider all type of goats to have excellent adaptability to their environment, whether it's a flat field of grass or a mountainous region with little plantation. Kiko goats sound like they're the best of the best in terms of survival.

This is kind of off topic, but since Kiko goats can live anywhere and reach a good size quickly, do poor developing nations make use of them? We have more than a handful of poverty stricken countries with difficult habitats in the world. Wouldn't it be great if each family in these countries had two Kiko meat goats to start a herd? It would be an easy and affordable food option for them.

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