The best Choice for Crossbreeding

In 1996, the Kiko goat is imported in North America from New Zealand. This breed was selected from feral goats having the best production and meat characteristics. Anglo-Nubian, Saanen and Toggenburg genetics have been introduced to improve the ferals. This breeding program was beginning in early 1970 and continue until late 1980. After about 20 years of ruthless culling and rigorous selection, a new maternal meat goat breed was created. The Kiko breed is now quite standardized and most of its number is in the United States. There are still some in New Zealand and some in Canada, mostly in Quebec.

In the actual economic context and the international market competition the Canada has to take is future in hands to develop a viable goat meat industry by beeing competitive.

For that the meat goat industry has to do like the others an use the breeds for their principals qualities. the pig industry has made it for numerous decade, the cattle industry made it for couples years in a more intensive way because the benefit margin come lower every year.  To beat the problem, the producers have to reduce their production cost.  The easiest and less expensive way is to use the breeds for their best qualities.

Now the Canadian meat goat producers have a choice and that choice is to use the Kiko breed (maternal line) in crossbreeding whit a terminal line buck, like the Boer.

What is a maternal and a terminal line ??

Chesnais, Zybko & Blouin (2002) described very well what means maternal and prolific breeds, sire or terminal breeds? In fact, a maternal breed means that this breed was selected for the productivity of the does while considering a superior meat conformation than dairy goats. However, this meat conformation must be equilibrated and not too much developed because it exists an inversely proportionnal relation between the strong muscling and the productivity. That is the more a goat is very muscled the less this animal is productive. The does of maternal breeds are the basis of a commercial herd because of their low maintenance costs, their high productivity and their equilibrated meat conformation. About the prolific breeds, they are selected for their fecundity and their prolificity, it means for the number of kids born / kidding and the kidding interval. The prolific breeds will not have a meat conformation at all. Finally, a sire or terminal breed is selected for very strong masculine traits for which it is called sire breed. The selection is oriented toward an outstanding meat conformation and a very high growth rate. In fact, this breed will be used for terminal crosses that is why we are saying terminal breed.

Hybridization or crossing two very different and unrelated breeds produces all the advantages of heterosis (Gagnon 2000). Heterosis is a genetic phenomenon named " Hybrid Vigor " that is allowing the progeny to be superior to the average of its two parents (Getz 1999). The crossbreeding produces a hybrid vigor which results by an improvement of the performance and the productivity. This productivity is refered to the prolificity of the goats (number of kids born / kidding), the intensity of production (defined by the kidding interval which means the number of kiddings/year/goat) and the mortality rate of kids at birth (Charest 2002).

In all meat productions, crossbreeding has for objectives to improve the performance, the productivity and the efficiency in order to reduce the production costs.

A crossbreeding program requires to find the maternal breed and the sire breed that will allow the maximum of hybrid vigor in order to maximize the efficiency of the production.

In summery, the principals caracteristics of the maternal Kiko breed are:

Rapid Growth Rate - Kids reach the optimal weight in less time ; More mass, more meat…more money !

Impressive Fertility - Longer breeding season ; Regularly carrying twins & triplets.

Incredible Libido - Higher conception rate ; No kidding missed and more kids on the ground !

Exceptional Mother Ability - Easy & unassisted kidding of twins and triplets; Excellent milking ability for a better kid growth rate & weaning the maximum of kids for marketing!

Perfectly Sound Hooves - Low growth hooves ; Good hooves diseases resistance…Less work and more profits !

Astounding Parasites Resistance - Minimize cost & time investment by the producer.

Amazing Ranging Ability - Little supplemental feeding ; Reduce feeding costs

Any Kiko producer should never forget the New-Zealand instigator drive lines of the breed "production and profitability above all". Any caracteristic against the breed or an animal to produce has to be highly penalised and the animal showing that caracteristic has to be culled. The instigators have intentionslly forgot the fair show caracteristics to stay focus on the production "fonction not just the look".

This maternal breed is a good milker, hardy, prolific, easy kidder, internal parasites resistant and the Kiko has also an excellent food conversion, a very good meat-to-bone ratio and low growth hooves. Besides, this goat has a shorter kidding interval that allow this goat to breed at least every 8 months. The Kiko goat is rarer than the Boer but its number is increasing rapidly. Because the Kiko goat is a maternal and a prolific breed which has many advantages for meat production, this breed will play a key role in the development of the meat goat industry since commercial herds must be composed with goats from maternal breeds. Moreover, anyone should remember that the founder of the Kiko breed had the objective to create a maternal meat goat breed with economic significant characteristics for meat production above all.



Charest, A. 1999. L'hybridation à la rescousse de la production de chevreaux
    de boucherie. 7ème Colloque sur la chèvre 2002. Recueil du colloque pp 67-73

Chesnais, J P., A. Zybko, G. Blouin. 2002. Une génétique rentable pour une production
     d'agneaux lourds. Symposium ovin 2002. 27p.

Gagnon, H.-L. 2000. Caractéristiques des chevreaux demandés par les consommateurs.
    Direction des services technologiques, MAPAQ. 15 pp.

Getz, W.R. 1999. Why crossbreds may be superior to purebreds: breeding a better goat.
    Georgia Goat Research & Extension Center, Fort Valley State University, 2 p.

Gipson, T.A. 1999. Genetic Resources for Meat Goat Production. The Meat Goat
    Program at Virginia State University. 8 pp.

Mitcham, S. & A. Mitcham. 2000. Meat Goats - Their History, Management and diseases.
    Crane Creek Publications, Sumner Iowa. 264 pp. ISBN 0-9664476-2-X