Kiko goats: one of the best meat goats out there

Kiko goats: one of the best meat goats out there
Kiko goats: one of the best meat goats out there

Kiko goats are one of the most well-known and well-loved meat goat breeds in the world. In fact, the very word “Kiko” means “meat”, in the language of local Maori tribes in New Zealand, where the breed has first originated.

In this article
Kiko goats: how it all began
Kiko goat: a bull in the world of goats
Kiko goats breeding
Kiko goats pros
Kiko goats downsides
Feeding your Kiko goats
Housing your Kiko goats

Kiko goats: how it all began

As mentioned above, Kiko goats were first bred in new Zealand around 1980s. This breed was artificially created by cross-breeding Toggenburg goats, Saanen goats and Nubian goats with some local meat goat breeds. Within the next decade, Kiko goats were exported, first to the USA and then all over the world.

Kiko goat: a bull in the world of goats

Kiko goats facts
Purpose of the breed Meat production
Dairy productivity Low. Not used for milk production
Goat size Large
Male weight Up to 160lb
Female weight Up to 110lb
Horns? Yes
Climate preference Highly adaptable to extremely cold as well as hot climates
Coat colors Varies. Can be white, gray, brown, any combinations of those
Country of origin New Zealand

Kiko goats are very distinctive visually: you will easily be able to identify a Kiko goat by their characteristic body shape. This is a large, sturdy goat with thick, massive, heavy body and shorter sturdy legs. This is a “large” goat: you will see a prominent belly and a heavy enlarged chest area. The coats are short-to medium-length, shiny and luscious-looking. In the winter, the coats grow out to protect the goats from cold temperatures. In the summer the coats thin out to accommodate the goat in the hot months.

Kiko goats can have various coat colors: they can be white, red, brown, gray, or even black – and all combinations of these colors. Kiko goat’s head is not very large but massive-looking and heavy. Males and females tend to ave very different-looking horns. While male horns are long, heavy and rounded, the females have shorter straight horns. Hornless individuals are rare among Kiko goats. Apart from their horns, Kiko males also have prominent beards, which often gets quite tangled up and matted. The ears are medium-length, usually drooping low.

Kiko goats are fairly productive: a doe usually brings 2-3 kids per litter

Kiko goats are fairly productive: a doe usually brings 2-3 kids per litter

This is quite a large, heavy goat, which is a wonderful trait for a meat goat. Kiko males can weigh up to 140-160lbs, while females can weigh around 100-120 lb.

Kiko goats breeding

Kiko goats are fairly productive: a doe usually brings 2-3 kids per litter. They are usually  good mothers, which they have to be because the kids are often born on the weaker side and need their mother’s warmth and milk. During their lactation period, Kiko’s generally only produce enough milk to feed their kids. This is why Kikos are not used as dairy goats.

Kiko goats pros and cons

Kiko goats pros

Kikos are a sturdy, healthy breed, well-adapted to a wide range of temperatures and climates. They do well in both hot and cold environments. No matter where your farm is located geographically, you will likely be able to raise healthy, thriving Kiko goats on your farm.

Kikos are good in a wide range of landscape. Your farm can be on the plain, or high in the mountains, it can have vast pastures or only modest meadows – your Kiko goats will be just fine. (Provided you offer them enough feed).

Kikos are excellent meat producers. Their meat is delicious and mild-tasting, without characteristic goaty taste. It is juicy and not very fatty, which is great for dieters and weight watchers, as well as people with weaker digestive systems.

Kiko does are good mothers and take good care of their babies, leaving only the minimum of tasks for you to do.

Kiko goats downsides

Kiko goats may be tough to have on a farm where lots of different animals co-exist

Kiko goats may be tough to have on a farm where lots of different animals co-exist

Kiko goats are not the nicest goats on the block. They can be a bit rough and some of them (usually bucks) can be real bullies. They are not great goats to have if you have small kids on your homestead. They may also not be a great goat for a first-time goat owner, as you need to know how to behave around potentially aggressive goats so that you stay safe at all times. You will also need to know how to maintain peace in a herd of unruly goats.

For the same reason, Kiko goats may be tough to have on a farm where lots of different animals co-exist. Your Kikos may not be very nice to your cows, dogs, chickens or other animals. You will have to fence your goats in to separate them from other farm animals. Just something to remember about Kikos.

Feeding your Kiko goats

You Kiko goats’ menu will very much depend on the seasons of the year. In the spring, the goats should spend lots of time on pasture, provided you have one. Fresh grass is very healthy, as are newly budding tree and bush brushes. You can still add some concentrates and vegetables at this time as well. You can continue feeding your Kikos like this way into the summer, but by mid-summer /beginning of fall it is important to increase the amount of concentrates and hay in the diet. Don’t forget to add vegetables. In the winter, feed concentrates in the morning, along with hay and vegetables. Later in the day you can feed just vegetables and hay. In the evening you can give your goats concentrates again along with hay.

If you are breeding Kiko goats, you will need to create a special menu for pregnant does. About a month prior to birth it’s a good idea to increase the amount of concentrates in the diet: by the time she goes in labor, your doe should be getting up to 1lb of concentrated feed per day. After birth, feed the new mother with good quality hay for a few days, after which you can switch them to their regular diet.

For breeding bucks, good quality feed is also important. If you are planning to breed your bucks, increase the amount of concentrates in their diet up to 2lbs per day about a month before breeding. This will increase their productivity and desire to cover does.

Kiko goats are not the most demanding goats when it comes to their environment

Kiko goats are not the most demanding goats when it comes to their environment

In general, your Kiko goats will need to be fed three times a day. Water should be given before each feeding and changed at least twice a day: like other goat breeds, Kikos hate stale water and won’t touch it if it is even slightly dirty.

Housing your Kiko goats

Kiko goats are not the most demanding goats when it comes to their environment. But they do need a few things in place to thrive and be at their most fertile, as well as offer you the most meat at harvest. Some of these are aspects of housing: how do you make your barn the best it can be for your Kiko goats?

Many homesteaders and farmers habitually split the herd into several parts, according to age, gender and some other factors. Each category will require their own space within your barn/outside area.  What spaces are we talking about?

Area for kids and kidding

Obviously, this is the area for the youngest members of your Kiko herd. The main thing here is to provide enough space for the kids to run around. You should also have food and water trays in this area. The kids area needs to be cleaned regularly to protect your youngest goats from infection and disease until their immune systems become stronger.

Areas for does

Young does are some of the more vulnerable “individuals” in your Kiko herd. You need to protect them from any cold or drafts. In a drafty area, a doe can get ill and lose her milk, which is something you want to avoid. You need to have around 2 sq m for each doe to rest in.

Areas for bucks

Even friendly bucks should be kept securely in a special area away from the herd. Kiko bucks are some of the more aggressive goats out there, so keeping them somewhat distanced from the rest of the goats (and humans) is important for everyone’s safety and to avoid unplanned pregnancies.

Regardless of who the area is for, it’s imperative that the areas are clean and dry at all times, so that your goats stay comfortable, happy and free of disease. This will ensure high fertility and productivity and long life for your goats. Ventilation is also very important. Level of moisture in the air shouldn’t exceed 50% for Kiko goats to be happy and comfortable. The temperature shouldn’t fall lower than 10C in the winter, and shouldn’t go higher than 20C in the summer.

Windows are important to have in the barn for both light and ventilation. Good lighting will help little kids grow well. Lack of light will inhibit young goats’s growth.  Exits/entrances to the goat areas in the barn should be wide enough for several goats to comfortably exit at the same time. This is also a safety aspect in case there is a fire.