Got Your Goat!

“Someone’s got goats,” said a voice behind me in the check out line at the Tractor Supply store.  I turned to see a pleasant older man in denim, his flatbed cart piled high with bags of the same brand of goat feed that I had in my cart.  “What are you feeding these days?” he asked.  “Kiko-boer cross does,” I replied.  “How do you like those Kikos?  I’ve heard good things about them, thinking about trying them myself.” he said, adding that he currently raised Boer goats.

This isn’t the first conversation I’ve had with local goat owners in which people raising Boer goats express interest in crossing with the Kiko breed. Some background for all of you who don’t raise goats –  Boer goats are long, heavy-boned, large-framed goats with massive meaty muscling.  They originally came from South Africa where they had been developed by Dutch stockmen.  They are mostly white with dark red heads and necks and have long floppy ears. Boer goats are the most popular meat goat in American and are by far and large the most prevalent meat goat in our area, so much so that the local 4-H club won’t even let you show a meat goat that isn’t full-breed or predominately Boer.

Kiko goats are relative newcomers.  They were developed in the early 1970s in New Zealand using feral goats and a process of elimination that kept only the goats that lived up to the qualifications of being the fastest-maturing, meatiest and most disease and parasite resistant.  It really was survival of the fittest as the stockmen provided no supplementary feed, no shelter, vet care or assistance at kidding.  These harsh conditions produced very hardy, low-maintenance goats that are gaining in popularity in America.

Boer goat owners have begun crossing their goats with the Kiko breed and the result has been goats that are some of the fastest-maturing, most efficient meat goats in the world.  When I began researching livestock for our little homestead I was immediately drawn to the Kiko goat – there is a huge well-established market for goat meat in America (so much so that goat  producers in the US cannot meet it and most of the goat meat sold here is imported from New Zealand) – and a hardy, low maintenance goat sounded like a good bet for the neophyte owner!

Following the advice to start small and learn while you go, we purchased three Kiko-Boer cross does earlier this fall.  We didn’t buy a buck because most of what I read suggested it would be easier to lease one at the time you needed him.  As it has turned out that is not true if the buck you need is a registered full-blood Kiko buck!  If we want to breed our does to a Kiko buck we will need to buy one – there aren’t any locally for lease.

Since several of the Boer goat farmers have expressed interest in the Kikos and since we need a buck to service our does I’ve started looking into buying a Kiko buck.  I’m hoping that this new addition will not only get our goat production going but might also bring in some cash if we lease him out locally.  A full-blooded registered Kiko goat is a relatively expensive investment for us – quality bucks can range in price from $500 to over $2,000!   Naturally we are going to be looking at the lower end of that range!  We are starting to work on adding new pens to our barn and planning fencing for a 2nd field so that we can keep the does and buck separate at times.

Here are some of the goat  producers I’m talking with:

Kiko Gal Ranch in Illinois and Arcadia Valley Kiko Goats in Missouri.  There is also a ranch in Tennessee and one in Michigan that has Kiko bucks for sale.  Looks like a road-trip in my future!  And hopefully before too long I’ll be able to say to prospective customers “I’ve got your goat!”



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9 Responses to Got Your Goat!

  1. SMS says:

    Sending Christmas Card.

  2. zelda says:

    I was raised on a farm and all of our animals were free range. They were never mistreated and we fed and watered them well, provided them with a safe and clean enviornment, and when we butchered them, we did it quickly and with as much mercy as can be given in that kind of situation. My mom patted the livestock and until they drew their last breath, she patted them and talked softly to them. When they died, she busied herself with making certain nothing was wasted: we used every thing. Even the blood and guts that we didn’t eat were used for fertilizer. Now, my 14 year old grandson is raising chickens for eggs and meat. My husband built his hen houses and I taught him how to dress a hen. I also taught him how to hold the hens in an apron and soothe them before cutting their juglar and letting them bleed out. He never turns them loose to flop around and he is never rough with them. Sunday, we helped him butcher two roosters and a couple hens and he does a really good job. We had one of the hens for dinner and it was good knowing that the hen had a wonderful life and was treated well and even in her death, she was respected. So, animals that you will raise and butcher will provide your family with either income or food while you provide the animal with dignity and a good life. It’s a two way street with no U Turns.

    • SMS says:

      Zelda – This is the way it is “supposed” to be with life/death/food. some will say the quality of the meat is better because of lack of fight or flight stuff not being released.

  3. bogart says:

    Is artificial insemination commonly used for breeding goats? If so, could be an argument either against or for getting a buck (reduces the need for a buck on-site, but potentially increases the value of same if there is a market that extends beyond areas you could otherwise reasonably access, geographically).

    Reminds me to mention, it may be worth checking tax laws in your area and seeing if there is a benefit to the property owner (your extended family?) in your using the property for agricultural purposes. This is true in our area, provided a minimum acreage and a threshold amount of agricultural products are sold each year (in our area services don’t count, only products, but I happen to know that semen sold for AI — and for that matter, stud fees generally — count as a “product.”).

  4. Lynn says:

    I guess. I know I would not be able to sell an animal “for meat”. Not saying you should not, but know I would wind up with a herd of expensive pets.

    • boxcarkids says:

      I know some people don’t eat meat – two of our relatives are vegetarians – but most people do. Onlyt 3.2% of Americans are vegetarian. If you eat meat and want to know how your dinner lived before it reached your plate you might want to google Factory Farms. 99% of animals raised for meat in America are raised on Factory Farms. If you watch this film (Death on a Factory Farm) you might become a vegetarian! If you don’t want to give up meat consider eating animals who are raised in healthy conditions, with dignity and affection.

      • Lynn says:

        I do have a preference for vegetarian eating, but that’s not what I was thinking. I was saying I would get too attached to the animals to be able to sell them to someone I knew was going to eat them. Like, if my dog had puppies, I would not be as attached to them as I am to my pet but don’t think I could sell them to a restaurant.

    • bogart says:

      I feel the same way, which is totally irrational as Boxcarkids notes, because I am a meat-eater. And I try to eat/buy “responsibly,” but I’m certainly far from perfect on that front …

  5. Kelly says:

    Ooh, yes! if you can afford to get a stud buck, that’s a great way to have that continual benefit from your animal! Much like a dairy goat, but without the hassle of twice-daily milkings. 🙂

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