The Kiko goat was developed firstly by Caprinex Enterprises Limited and later by Goatex Group Limited, New Zealand companies responsible for the breeding of Kiko goats in New Zealand. These companies of farmers were actively involved in the capture and farming of New Zealand's extensive native goat population. The Kiko Goat originated from New Zealand by crossing feral goats with dairy goats in the 1980s. Kiko is actually the Māori word for flesh or meat. They were developed for fast growth, survivability with little input from the producer and their hardiness.
In the 1990s, ranchers began importing the Kiko from Goatex Group Ltd and other sources into North America and organized the American Kiko Goat Association. In 2000, the American Kiko Goat Association purchased the North American Kiko Goat Registry, earlier solely created from limited data by Graham Culliford (Goatex Group LLC) of Christchurch, New Zealand specifically for the US market as pedigree breeding was not part of the New Zealand population genetics background that developed this superior breed. This is the only Kiko registry that has a seamless ancestry dating back to the first imports.
There are two primary breed registries that are member driven, non-profit associations and serve breeders in North America: the American Kiko Goat Association and the International Kiko Goat Association. The National Kiko Registry was created in 2011 to give Kiko breeders of every size and management style the opportunity to register and track their genetics through an independent, professionally run, for profit, livestock registry.
Interest is increasing in the consistent traits and characteristics of the Kiko. Whether raised Kiko on Kiko, or crossed with other breeds, Kikos bring improvement in profits because of their low maintenance, high rate of growth, resistance and tolerance to parasites, excellent maternal instincts, ease of kidding, vigor of newborn kids, and because of the incorporation of milk breeds in the creation of Kiko, an ample milk supply to raise twins that gain quickly to earlier sale weights.
The Kiko's ability to survive in all types of weather is a big plus in the varied climates and terrains of North America. Canadian farmers, too, are finding that the Kiko is well suited to cold. More and more farmers are moving into the Kiko goat producing market with bucks from the United States. The market is open and ready for more Kikos as their reputation spreads.
The primary characteristic of the Kiko goat is its hardiness and its ability to achieve substantial weight gains when run under natural conditions without supplementary feeding. In New Zealand it has been called the "go anywhere, eat anything" goat signifying its ability to thrive under less than ideal conditions.
The Kiko is large framed, generally white (although many Kikos carry genes for color and colored Kikos are capable of registration) with a coat that ranges from slick in summer to flowing hair when run in mountain country in winter.
Mature males display substantial characteristic horns and are of a bold disposition. Mature females are ample, feminine and generally have good udder placement and attachment. The Kiko is a consummate browser and will range extensively when run in open country.
The Kiko is not affected by substantial climatic variation and is equally at home in sub alpine mountain country and arid brushland. Perhaps the defining characteristic of the breed is the rate of growth. The kids are born of average size but with considerable vigor. From birth to weaning the Kiko displays a rate of growth at least equivalent of any other purpose bred meat goat breed but this is achieved without the management and feed inputs generally required for satisfactory meat production in other breeds.