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LET’S RUMINATE Why Kikos? I ask, why not?


Often, I am asked the same two initial questions when I am chatting with friends, customers and even co-workers about life on the farm or ranch. First ... why goats? And second ... why Kikos (key-kos)? You may have your own answer to the first question already. Or you might be like many others who are just getting started, asking, well, why small ruminants and not cattle or some other type of livestock? Any goat lover, owner or rancher could answer the first question for any variety of reasons. My answers might include, goats are different, resourceful, intelligent and my personal favorite, inquisitive. However, my number one reason is goats are less intimidating, given I am not a farmer or rancher by trade. Doesn’t the saying go something like, size does matter? That’s not to say goats don’t have their challenges and don’t require a solid understanding before diving in. However, commercial goats have a relatively low price point to get started and have a reduced overall footprint when compared to larger livestock. Smaller barns, fewer pasture requirements, and goats can forage, and they typically have more offspring than cattle. Twins are the norm, triplets often and quads and quints are not unheard of, and their gestation


period is only about 150 days. The answer to the second question, of why Kikos, requires a


two-part answer. The first part of the answer is short. Did I want to raise dairy, fiber or meat goats? My arrival at meat goats was quite simple. Did I have time to milk goats every day or harvest fiber? Sure, goats require attention every day including a variety of


chores. However, milking them twice a day and completing all of the other associated work just isn’t in the cards with my full-time job off the ranch nor harvesting fiber, spinning it and any of the other related functions.


The second part of the answer focuses on deciding what meat breed is right for me and why? There are a few standout meat breeds in North America including Boers, Kikos, Myotonic or Fainting and Spanish goats.


Each shares a number of common characteristics related to the overall size and weight gain but also offer the rancher specific characteristics to fulfill their specific goat husbandry requirements and regional needs.


Although not mentioned previously as a general characteristic, common to all goats is the overall nutritional value of goat meat.


BY JOSHUA CRISE


24


Goat Rancher | May 2020


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