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Organic Livestock Handbook

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Written and compiled by Anne Macey with contributions from writers and farmers across Canada and the northern U.S.

The Organic Livestock Handbook is divided into three sections:

Section 1 explains the principles of organic livestock husbandry and includes chapters on animal welfare, nutrition and health care, and converting to organic methods.

Section 2 provides information on various management tools available to the farmer.  Topics covered are health care alternatives, methods to control internal parasites, management-intensive grazing, manure management, fly control, handling to minimize stress, marketing, certification and record keeping.

Section 3 addresses those aspects of management for each livestock type which are particularly significant in an organic farming system.  It uses examples from Canada and the northern United States to illustrate the various types or organic livestock enterprises that exist today, from dairy cows to honey bees.

Photographs and figures supplement the text throughout.  Appendix materials include a comparison of various organic livestock standards in use today and information on where to find supplies and services.  The Handbook is spiral bound with a durable cover similar to its companion volume The Organic Field Crop Handbook.


"The Organic Livestock Handbook is an essential publication on the short and carefully selected list of publications we offer for sale to our inspector members. The books are equally useful for producers and inspectors across North America. When inspected parties ask for reference books, IOIA inspectors often recommend it as some of the best available. The book is written in a down-to-earth manner and is full of practical information. This is one of our top selling publications in the US as well as Canada."

The Independent Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA), March 2000.

(IOIA's website:

"The Organic Livestock Handbook has been a long hoped for and eagerly awaited addition to the information resources available to Organic Farmers. Much of the success of organic farming depends on the observation and experience that the farmer brings to balancing the complex of biological interactions on their farm. Good ecological management grows out of experience and the book pulls together the wisdom, observations and experience of a number of successful organic farmers which make them a great help to the beginning and the experienced organic farmer."

Tony McQuail, Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario (EFAO).

(EFAO's website:

"To all organic livestock producers, beginners or not, I stongly recommend to buy the Organic Livestock Handbook which surely will be a great success. Hats off to COG! A production guide which should be available in all regional agricultural offices in Québec!"

Charles-Eugène Bergeron, Biobulle no 24 - April 2000.

(Biobulle, the Quebec Organic Magazine - a publication from the Centre d'agriculture biologique du Québec, website:

"I can surely say, "I wish I had this information available to me when I started and worked in my projects with chickens, hogs, sheep, and beef over the years." The section on beef herd health particularly impressed me. It neatly summarized most of what I learned over 17 years of managing herd health on our 1200 head cattle finishing operation--AND it provided more prevention and nutritional information that I hadn't learned, but sure could have used! AND the Handbook provides effective, organically acceptable methods to accomplish the same cures we used conventional medicines and poisons to achieve!

I would highly recommend the Organic Livestock Handbook as a primer manual for anyone currently producing livestock or planning to start! This book should be in the hands of ALL producers--organic AND conventional--to help them recognize and resolve common day-to-day situations.

A great, useful book--highly recommended."

John C. Simmons, an OCIA Certified Organic Farmer in the United States.

"Canadian Organic Growers has just saved many of us countless hours of library research, phone calls and net surfing by compiling a comprehensive review of information on organic livestock production specific to Canada. The most valuable information comes from the farmers who so generously provided details of the actual livestock management practices used on their farms. The principles and practices outlined are applicable to any scale of production, making this an important addition to the library of livestock owners everywhere."

Julia Cooper, Eco-Farm & Garden, Spring 2000.