A 21-year-old landscape gardener is likely to escape conviction for slaughtering 20 farmed goats.

Benjamin Inkster admitted killing the 20 goats on a property at Whitford when he appeared in the Manukau District Court on charges of being unlawfully on the farm and killing the goats.

He told the Herald on Sunday he thought the goats were wild, as they roamed all over the area, where his family also owned land.

"They weren't ear-tagged or branded. They roam freely across those properties. There is no way I would kill farm goats," he said.

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Inkster is being considered for police diversion. He will have to undergo a refresher firearms licence course.

The farmer said he merely wanted to be paid $800 for the goats adding that goat can be more valuable than lamb.

An Otahuhu butcher was selling goat meat for $10.99 per kilo this week.