KIKO SPECIAL SECTION Research led to decision to use Kikos

By Vanessa Eggert

Noble Nomad Mountain Ranch is located in the foothills of the Appalachians on the Blue Ridge Parkway where we breed and raise Friesian-cross horses. Over the years, growing tired of bush-hogging and wondering what our property looked like in areas where black- berry and wild rose had taken over — and where mowers could not go — the idea was hatched to purchase a few living lawnmowers (lit- tle did we know!)

I had not been around goats since I was a kid and so started doing a bit of research to see if goats would really be a good fit and then to see what breed was the best choice for us. Reading that par- asites are goats’ No. 1enemy made the Kiko goat with its better par- asite resistance very appealing.

Figuring that if we were going to have goats then we would be breeding them, I also really liked reading about the Kiko’s strong maternal instincts. Hardiness and good feet were certainly worthy added qualities. I must say that I found the Kiko to be a very attrac- tive, smart looking beast.

I was surprised to read about pedigrees, registering and DNA! I really had no idea! The decision was made to purchase a few Pure- bred and New Zealand Kiko does and a buck.

These Kiko goats truly did not disappoint. Over the years we continue to be pleased with the hardiness of this impressive breed. As for maternal instincts, it almost becomes such a given as to cause one to assume that all goats are exceptional mothers (which from reading and from what breeders of other breeds have told me, I know to not necessarily be true).

Kiko dams generally birth easily due to most Kikos having a comparatively smaller birthweight, which their fast growth makes up for. The dams get their kids up and nursing fast and raise them to respectable weaning weights.

At Noble Nomad Mountain Ranch we put a lot of care into our breeding program. We breed to kid in the fall and in the winter. This means that we sometimes have kids born in subzero temperatures and in the low teens.

When it is this cold we make every effort to be there for the kidding so that we can be sure that the kids nurse before becoming chilled (as minutes count) and to assist in drying them off. Once these tough little kids have a meal in them they are usually good to go, a few meals and there is no stopping them. We are careful not to deworm on our farm unless necessary

(checked by FAMACHA and condition) as we want to maintain that excellent Kiko parasite resistance in our herd. Great parasite resist- ance and the ability to be a protective and easy keeper is of para- mount importance in our breeding program. We put a lot of stress on good conformation = great toplines, good bone, strong shoulders, width and correct legs. We look to breed goats with good structure, able to stand up to years of productivity. Part of the conformation for the doe is that All Important udder,

I can’t stress how important it is for our does to have udders with great attachment that are built kid-friendly. The Kiko goat is used primarily as a meat goat, so when breeding, we do not forget the meat! We like a goat with great conformation to include a little extra

6 Goat Rancher | May 2020 The Kiko does’ mothering ability has been impressive. length and a nice rear end.

Having a few goats for pets is easy, having a goat farm of over 200 goats is work. We stay busy at Noble Nomad Mountain Ranch — kidding, sorting, vaccinating (CD&T),weaning, fencing, building, organizing our breeding times and deciding which buck will be used where.

We run several herdsires on our farm and every year we try out a few junior herd sires on a few does as well. We have also utilized some Artificial Insemination in our breeding program. We have been blessed at Noble Nomad Mountain Ranch to be free from CL, CAE and Johnnes. AI allows us to bring in outside lines without the risk of bringing in illnesses, lets us further diversify our herd (and gene pool) and bring in some great qualities from outside bucks. Advertising and showing our goats to potential customers is

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