The Kiko is a breed of meat goat originating from New Zealand. Kiko comes from the Maori word for meat. The Kiko breed was developed in the 1980s by Garrick and Anne Batten, who cross-bred local feral goats with imported dairy goat bucks of the Anglo-Nubian, Saanen, and Toggenburg breeds. The feral goats were small with little milk or meat production, but hardy. The goals of this crossing were to improve growth rate and milk production while still retaining the ability to survive conditions in New Zealand. After four generations of selective breeding, much improvement was made and by 1986 the Kiko breed was established and the herd was closed.
The Kiko breed was imported into the United States around 1992 by Goatex Group LLC. The Kiko breed initially was overlooked by the majority of US goat breeders, due to popularity of Boer goats. However, the Kiko soon proved itself to breeders in the southeastern US as they quickly learned that the Boers did not fair as well in the humid region. Since the Kiko was developed in a similar climate in New Zealand, they had an advantage over the Boers. The main problems encountered with goat production in high humidity environments are parasites, hoof rot, hoof scald, and respiratory diseases. Kikos tend to have much less problems in these areas. US goat meat producers looking for a breed which performs under less than ideal circumstances and environments soon began utilizing the Kiko. Since then, it has proven itself in many different environments from Alaska to Mexico and from California to Canada and to the Caribbean.
Data from a study conducted at Tennessee State University in 2004 indicated that Kikos may be more parasite-resistant than other breeds and have fewer problems with foot-rot. In that study, Kikos weaned more pounds of kid per doe as compared with Boer goats. However, Boer goats are preferred by buyers at sale barns. For this reason, many breeders will use a Boer buck on Kiko does.
The kiko continues to grow in popularity as breeders are learning of the positive attributes. Many breeders strive for continued improvement in production under the same selective breeding and culling practices that developed the breed including growth rate milk production but now also include parasite resistance/resilience, decreased hoof problems and maintenance, aggressive foraging, increased meat production all with decreased input. In addition, the female is capable of conceiving, carrying and giving birth to and rearing multiple offspring without intervention under less than ideal conditions. One important characteristic of the Kiko goat is its hardiness and its ability to achieve substantial weight gains when run under natural conditions without supplementary feeding. Kiko crosses are also commended for their hybrid vigor as these traits are passed to their progeny.
This breed began being generally solid white or cream in color although can be many colors and many colors are becoming more popular. They tend to be active and athletic and are aggressive breeders which makes them good at survival, but it also can make them a challenge to manage.
Kiko goats are genetically capable of high levels of meat production and can produce well under the wide range of conditions in which they have been tested in New Zealand and other countries. They are a suitable breed to introduce to breeders seeking a better breed of meat goat. They are also an "improver" breed that can add size, growth rate and milk production to local stock without reducing hardiness.
The Kiko goat is a medium- to large-framed, hardy, vigorous and alert meat animal with high fertility, prolificacy, and high mothering abilities that allow them to raise multiple kids with high daily gain on natural conditions without supplementation. It is important that bucks be obviously masculine and substantially larger than does. Does should display femininity with a wedge-shaped body showing lots of capacity for carrying young. Any coat color or pattern is accepted. The coat can vary, according to environment, from short and smooth to quite thick. Kikos have a smooth, supple skin with a darker pigment preferred; however, lack of pigmentation is permissible. Wattles, if present, should not be penalized.
Undesirable characteristics: A doe or buck which gives the impression of being of the opposite sex, Extremely long legs
The Kiko goat has alert eyes and a strong head with a straight profile, neither convex nor concave. Females must have a feminine head. Ears are alert and moderate in length, not being too pendulous nor too erect. The muzzle is broad with large, open nostrils; the jaw should be correctly aligned. Horns are well-spaced and sweep outward; older animals with cropped horns should not be penalized. Horns on mature bucks should display a shallow spiral. The neck is proportional to body size and medium in length. It is well-muscled and blends smoothly into the forequarter.
Undesirable characteristics: Concave or convex profile, horns set too closely together or too straight, horns swept back too tightly or touching the neck, neck too long, too thin or too short
Characteristic cull defects: Misalignment of jaws: overshot, crooked face (wry face), disfiguring malocclusion (very crooked teeth), total blindness
Shoulders are well-muscled and tightly attached with good angulation. Brisket is broad and proportionate to body size. Forelegs are strong and attach to elbows with good angulation. When viewed from the front, forelegs are parallel and squarely set. Pasterns are strong with sound, well-formed hooves.
Undesirable characteristics: Toes pointed in or out, weak pasterns, shoulders too loose
Characteristic cull defects: Lameness, any hoof abnormalities that affect the animal's movement
Body is long, wide and deep with long, well-sprung foreribs and a large heartgirth. The back is strong and straight with a long, wide and well-muscled loin. Body must have sufficient capacity to allow for the ingestion of a maximum of forage with minimal supplementation.
Undesirable characteristics: Slab-sided body, back extremely short
Rump is long and broad with a slight slope downward from hips to pins and the tail is straight. Thighs have sufficient, but not excessive, muscle down to the hock; muscle should not be too predominant to avoid kidding problems. Hocks are correctly angulated when viewed from the side; legs are parallel and nearly straight when viewed from the rear. Pasterns are strong with sound, well-formed hooves.
Undesirable characteristics: Rump too short or steep, thighs with too much muscling, poor angulation in the hocks, sickle hocked, cow hocked, weak pasterns
Characteristic cull defects: Lameness,a ny hoof abnormalities that affect the animal's movement
Doe's udder is medium size and must be well attached with very good capacity for milk production; udder has two well-defined, well-placed, small- to medium-sized functional teats. Small non-functional teats without orifices are permissible if they are supernumeraries (a third teat for example). Buck's scrotum should contain two well-formed fully descended testicles of similar size. Bucks must be aggressive breeders with high fertility, females must be very fertile and give birth to multiple kids. Kidding should be easy and fast to ensure a high rate of survival in kids.
Undesirable characteristics: Poorly attached udder, more than two functional teats, teats too large, small testicles
Characteristic cull defects: Hermaphroditism (displaying characteristics of the opposite gender), bucks with only one testicle or abnormal testicles, completely divided scrotum