Clarification on the Kiko Article

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I read Melissa Holt's "clarification" on the Kiko article she wrote for the January 2001 issue and response to my critique of that article. I feel her clarification requires a response.

For the record I have been raising meat goats (notice I said meat goats, not Boer goats) since 1995. My original herd consisted of Kiko, Spanish, Boer cross, and fullblood Boer goats. I am well acquainted with all of these breeds, including the Kiko, and feel each has its strengths and weaknesses. I wouldn't classify any one breed as being the greatest thing since sliced bread.

The purpose of my letters is not to promote (or bash) one breed or breeder, but rather to educate others on the valid interpretation of performance test and other scientific data regarding meat goats. This will be the fourth year that I have tested my animals, and I have spent much time evaluating the data from the various tests. My educational and professional background is in the field of engineering, so I am no rookie when it comes to analyzing data.

The entire point of my previous letter was to point out the flaws in the way that the Fort Valley test was conducted which render the feed efficiency and parasite data unreliable, and to point out the difficulty in comparing data on ribeye area, feed efficiency, and scrotal circumference that are highly correlated to animal size.

In her response Ms. Holt continues to insist that the Kikos put on more weight with less feed, and dismisses the fact that larger goats in general require more feed to gain a pound of weight.

However, careful analysis of the performance test data from the 2000 Oklahoma Fourth Annual Meat Buck Performance Test shows that there is a strong and significant relationship between animal size and feed efficiency (FE). At the Langston, OK test the FE of individual animals is measured and reported making an analysis possible.

While I hesitate to compare specific results between test sites (such as comparing average daily gains, feed efficiencies, ribeye areas, etc.) because of differences that render such a comparison invalid, I have no reservations about utilizing the more general trends and conclusions that can be drawn from analyzing that data.

Analysis of the aforementioned data showed that the FE for bucks by weight group was:

Ending                   Avg
Weight                   End       Avg 
Range                 Weight       FE 
75-85 lbs               82 lbs       5.9 
85-95 lbs               92 lbs       6.5 
95-105 lbs           101 lbs       7.3 
105-115 lbs         110 lbs       7.5 
115-125 lbs         123 lbs       7.8

The Boer goats finished the Fort Valley test weighing on average 96.45 lbs each, which would translate to an expected FE of 6.9 (extrapolating from the Langston results), and the Kikos finished weighing on average 76.97 lbs for an expected FE of 5.6. The actual results were 6.2 for the Boers and 5.38 for the Kikos.

The difference between the expected and actual results can be explained because the Langston bucks had no access to browse, whereas the Fort Valley bucks did. Since the amount of browse consumed was not included in the Fort Valley FE calculation, one would expect the FE's to be lower for the Fort Valley animals.

Given the size differential I would have expected the Boers to have a FE 1.3 greater than the Kikos, but in reality the differential was only 0.82, indicating that on a size adjusted basis the Boers actually gained more weight per pound of feed consumed than the Kikos. In other words, if the Boers had come off test weighing the same as the Kikos, the data seems to indicate that their feed efficiency would have been superior to that of the Kikos by about 0.5.

Hence the reason I question Ms. Holt's assertion that the Kikos put on more weight with less feed. At this point the jury is still out on that question, and will remain so until somebody tests a statistically significant sample of like sized animals of both breeds under identical conditions.

She also adds that all 3 of the Kiko bucks were out of first time kidders bred at 6 to 7 months of age. I find nothing remarkable about that as I routinely put the bucks in with my 6 to 7 month old fullblood and Boer cross doelings, and a very high percentage of those does (>90%) then go on to deliver kids before their 1st birthday. I have had this same experience with pure Spanish does as well. Early sexual maturation is not a trait that is limited to the Kiko.

Thank you for allowing me to clarify these issues.

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This page updated 07/20/02

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