The Kiko Goat originated from New Zealand by crossing feral goats with dairy goats in the 1980s. Kiko is actually the Maori word for flesh or meat.
They were developed for fast growth, survivability with little input from the producer and their hardiness.
Two breed registries serve breeders in North America, the American Kiko Goat Association purchased and owns the original Kiko goat registry in the United States and the International Kiko Goat Association (IKGA) was formed in 2004.
The Kiko goat was developed exclusively by Goatex Group Limited, a New Zealand company which has been solely responsible for the breeding of Kiko goats in New Zealand. The company of large farmers were actively involved in the capture and farming of New Zealand’s extensive native goat population. All members of the company had a vigorous and ongoing interest in meat production as a consequence of which several thousand of the most substantial and fertile native goats were allocated to a breeding program in which population dynamics would be rigorously applied to produce a goat with enhanced meat production ability under browse conditions.
New Zealand has a large population of feral goats which roam unrestrained through the wooded hill country and mountain shrubland of both islands. These goats derive from the original imports of British milk goats introduced in the late eighteenth century to provide sustenance for whalers and sealers prior to New Zealand’s colonization. Over time they have been supplemented by escaped and released domestic goats turned loose into unproductive scrubland during times of agricultural adversity, particularly the depressions of the 1890’s and 1930’s.
Small colonies of hair producing goats were found in a remote part of the North Island’s Waipu Forest in the 1970’s, the legacy of a failed attempt to establish a mohair industry during the First World War. New Zealand’s total lack of predators and temperate climate meant that native goats have been able to breed without the strictures of mortality that are found elsewhere in the world. In addition, they rapidly adapted to the environment into which they had been released and established themselves throughout the country. As a consequence, comparatively small numbers of goats released into the wild had burgeoned to hundreds of thousands of goats by the mid 1970’s. Goats (along with deer) were ravaging New Zealand’s native flora to the extent that the government permanently employed substantial numbers of professional hunters in an effort at control.