As originally selected for in New Zealand and valued today in the U.S.:
Resistant to parasites
Good mothering skills and capability
Good lean carcass
The Kiko was introduced by its New Zealand developers as a new goat breed to the 4th International Congress on Goats (Brazilia, Brazil) in 1987. The Kiko goat was developed for a specific purpose. The New Zealand goat producers wanted a goat with superior qualities for commercial meat production. During the early development of the Kiko breed, goats with exceptional phenotypes (observable characteristics, i.e. survivability, weight gain, etc.) derived from the enormous New Zealand feral goat population were bred to domesticated goats that also demonstrated exceptional phenotypes.
Through successive generations of controlled breeding and rigorous culling, a small goat population emerged that consistently yielded superior growth and performance characteristics. This unique population (the Kiko goat) formed a strong, reproducible composite of phenotypes and thereby, the goats of the Kiko breed now have very closely related genotypes (DNA compositions). The Kiko genotype consistently produces a lean, well-muscled, goat of large frame and exceptional survivability under natural conditions. The scientific definition of a breed is: a group of organisms having common ancestors and certain distinguishable characteristics, especially a group within a species developed by artificial selection and maintained by controlled propagation. The Kiko clearly qualifies as a unique breed of goat under this definition.
Breeding programs that maximize the Kiko characteristics give producers of goat meat (chevon, cabrito, etc.) a great economic advantage. Does that have more live births, provide adequate milk, offer good mothering skills, forage well and are hardy are more productive than mothers that don't have these characteristics. This is the key advantage of using Kiko Does. The IKGA strongly encourages breeders with Kiko genetics in their herds to adhere to strict selection and culling decisions based upon a single outcome. This outcome should be the economical production of goat meat with minimal intervention and inputs. The management practice described above will preserve the Kiko breed, and maintain selective pressure on the population to further improve the breed.
Research conducted at Tennessee State University (Nashville, TN) and Fort Valley State University (Fort Valley, Georgia) has shown that the Kiko is demonstrating outstanding performance in the southeastern U.S. (see the Research page of this website). The evidence suggests that the Kiko's performance can actually improve through scientific performance-based breeding programs that continue to practice disciplined culling. Each Kiko breeder over time creates his/her own unique population genetics through the use of a structured breeding program. Sharing of these genetics between breeders, or the introduction of superior phenotypes for a desired characteristic, can continue to enhance a breeder's Kiko stock (as long as rigorous culling is maintained). The IKGA encourages and supports its members in applying this methodology to their herds for the continued improvement of the Kiko breed as a whole.