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Kiko Goats in the USA
By Michael Wade
The first large number of Kiko goats was imported into the United States around 1992 by a company out of Christchurch, New Zealand, called Goatex Group LLC. The American Kiko Goat Association (AKGA) was formed in Texas by the first US Kiko breeders around 1994.
The Kiko breed was at first passed over by the majority of US goat breeders, which at the time were seeing the Boer breed as a more popular breed to own. However, the production performance of the Kiko has proven it is a major player in the US goat meat industry. Boer breeders in the southeastern US quickly learned that the Boer breed did not perform as well in the humid southeastern US as it performed in the arid southwestern areas. The Kiko, having been developed in New Zealand, which has an environment similar to the southeastern US, has proven in university research to have an advantage in more humid environments. The main problems encountered with goat production in high humidity environments are parasites, hoof rot, hoof scald, and respiratory diseases.
The development of the Kiko breed in New Zealand focused on the production of goat meat with minimal intervention and inputs. The Kiko has shown to have a higher degree of parasite resistance/resilience along with lower incidence of hoof problems and respiratory problems.
A US Kiko breeder located in Virginia, and owner of Island Creek Goat Farm, has this to say about the breed...... "I have only been raising Kikos for a short time and have found that they are very easy to raise. They have fewer problems than most goats. They have a better parasite resistance than other goat breeds I have raised, their hooves need trimming less frequently, the does have excellent mothering instincts, the kids are very lively and active at birth and they grow fast. The Kiko basically can take care of itself if given plenty of acreage and variety of plants to eat."
Although the Kiko did not start out as popular as the Boer in the US it has become the "standard" for US goat meat producers looking for a breed which performs under less than ideal circumstances and environments. It has proven itself in many different environments from Alaska to Mexico and from California to Canada and to the Caribbean.
The Kiko is also being used to cross with other breeds of meat goats. Its hardiness and ability to put on meat in a short time has meat goat producers in the US taking notice.
The Kiko is growing in popularity. In February 2004 a second Kiko goat association was formed, the International Kiko Goat Association (IKGA ) and had over 30 breeder members in a few short months. The IKGA is a member-focused association which recognizes the Kiko breed with a fullblood classification in its registry and the IKGA registration papers stipulate the percentage of Kiko on them. This allows the buyer to know exactly what percentage of Kiko the goat has before he or she buys the goat.
Update 2007: In a 2007 update on Kiko goats, Michael Wade (the Director of Marketing of the International Kiko Goat Association and author of the above article) advises that the IKGA now has about 5,600 New Zealand Kiko and Kiko crosses registered. It has been found that when a Kiko is crossed with another meat breed, usually a Boer, the offspring have excellent hybrid vigor and have the best characteristics of both breeds. The IKGA recognizes three composite breeds based on the Kiko – Boki (½ Boer ½ Kiko), American MeatMaker (¾ Kiko ¼ Boer) and the International MeatMaker ( ¾ Boer ¼ Kiko).
IKGA purebreds are 94% Kiko to 100% Kiko and are called American Premiers. You can breed up to 100% Kiko but it can never be called a New Zealand Kiko. To get a New Zealand you have to cross a New Zealand with a New Zealand. IKGA registration certificates have the percentage of Kiko on them so it is easy to tell how much Kiko blood the animal has. If the goat is a New Zealand Kiko, it will have NZ on the the certificate. There are fewer than 2,000 New Zealand Kikos registered.
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