MEAT GOATS AND KIKO GOATS
By definition, any goat can be used as a "meat goat," and the history of meat goats following this definition goes a long way back into the history of civilisation. Goats were originally domesticated approximately 11,000 years ago, bred from wild Bezoar Ibex populations in Asia. Since then, goats have become one of the most widely kept livestock species in the world, and goat meat is now believed to be one of the most widely consumed meats globally. Demand for goat meat has soared in the United Kingdom in recent years, and the popularisation of meat goats is helping increase supply of goat meat to a wider market.
Meat goats come from two primary sources: billy kids from dairy herds and kids from specific meat herds. Kiko goats are one such example of a commercial meat goat breed.
Kiko Meat Goats - The History of Kiko Goats
While any goat can be used as a meat goat, not all goats will necessarily provide the same production traits as others. The Kiko goat is one such example of a specific meat goat breed. Notably, the Kiko goat was bred predominantly to provide a low-input, hardy, and efficient meat goat that would be capable of producing a large-framed carcass.
Similarly to the Boer goat, Kiko goats were originally developed by crossing feral goats with European breeds. However, the Kiko originated in New Zealand rather than South Africa, and it was originally a smaller breed of animal owing to the small frame of the original feral New Zealand herd. These small feral does were crossed with dairy breed bucks (Anglo Nubians, Toggenburgs, and Saanens) to add frame size and increase milk yield. Thereafter, goats were heavily selected for survivability, with only the best performing from each generation being retained in the breeding herd.
Several years after the commencement of the project – which started with around 600 Kiko does – the herd was closed, using only bucks sourced from within the herd to breed the next generations. This would help condense genetics for survivability, with each subsequent generation being managed with a focus on low inputs - reduced feed, deworming, hoof trimming, and interventions.