Themes and discussion

Find out more about organic arable farming and organic livestock husbandry, join the discussions, and exchange ideas and information with colleagues and scientists.

Animal health

Animal health

One of the objectives of organic farming is to keep livestock healthy as a matter of principle, primarily by taking preventive measures. Livestock health depends on a range of factors such as the environment, feeding, housing, social behaviour within the herd or flock as well as general management and husbandry. Holistic animal health strategies consider all these factors; together, they underpin preventive herd/flock health management.

When food-producing animals fall ill they are largely treated using orthodox veterinary medicines, such as antibiotics. However, frequent use of antibiotics results in the development of antibiotics-resistant micro-organisms and these are now often found in farm animals. Moreover, via the animals’ faeces and urine such antibiotics-resistant micro-organisms are discharged into the environment where they may only slowly degrade.

In organic farming, preference is to be given to treating sick animals using complementary veterinary practices (e.g. phytotherapy or homoeopathy). Chemically-synthesized veterinary medication is to be reduced to a minimum and should only be resorted to in emergencies.

On this page, you can find tools and resources to help you keep your livestock healthy, and you can discuss the topic with others.



Featured tools

Inducing moulting in organic hensMost popular tool

Inducing moulting in organic hens

This leaflet explains the natural process of moulting and why laying hens should go through moulting, discussing economic advantages and improved…

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EBENE application for poultry welfare self-assessment by farmersLatest tool

EBENE application for poultry welfare self-assessment by farmers

The EBENE® smartphone app was designed for farmers to monitor the welfare of their own poultry and rabbits in different production systems, including…

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Tools

TitleIssuing organisationProjectYear of releaseRating
Animal-friendly pig husbandry: an advisory tool for SwazilandFiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture , Sahee FoundationOK-Net EcoFeed2016
Avoiding too large of a litter and piglet lossesFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net EcoFeed2015
Boar fattening on organic farms: animal-friendly alternative to castrationFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net EcoFeed2013
Breeding sows in organic farmingFiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture , Bio SuisseOK-Net EcoFeed2002
Controlling endoparasites in laying hensFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net EcoFeed2018
Designing and optimising outdoor areas in organic poultry farming2018
Designing pasture subdivisions for practical management of hogs2015
EBENE application for poultry welfare self-assessment by farmers20185 (3)
Farm system evaluated: pig farm in Centre region of France2020
Feeding grass silage to fattening pigs (OK-Net Ecofeed Practice Abstract)FiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net EcoFeed20194.3 (3)
Feeding phases of poultry: trail synthesis from Lycée Nature2019
Feeding strategies for laying hens in free-range systems with pasture2005
Foraging of broilers in outdoor areas (OK-Net Ecofeed Practice Abstract)AU - Aarhus UniversityOK-Net EcoFeed2019
Foraging of pigs in outdoor areas (OK-Net Ecofeed Practice Abstract)AU - Aarhus UniversityOK-Net EcoFeed2020
Free-range laying hens: animal and environment friendlyFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net EcoFeed20014 (1)
Free-range laying hens: providing species-appropriate and sustainable husbandry2010
Free-range pigs: high animal welfare with appropriate infrastructure and...FiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net EcoFeed2019
Group suckling in organic pig husbandryFiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture , Bioland Beratung GmbH , KÖN - Kompetenzzentrum Ökolandbau NiedersachsenOK-Net EcoFeed2011
Hygiene management in organic pig husbandryFiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture , Bioland Beratung GmbH , KÖN - Kompetenzzentrum Ökolandbau Niedersachsen , Bio AustriaOK-Net EcoFeed2011
Improving health and welfare of pigs - A handbook for organic pig farmersFiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture20154 (1)
Inducing moulting in organic hens20205 (1)
Introducing nettle into organic pig feeding2020
Lucerne as pig feed2019
Optimising weaning management in pigletsFiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture , Bioland Beratung GmbH , KÖN - Kompetenzzentrum Ökolandbau Niedersachsen , Bio AustriaOK-Net EcoFeed2011
Organic pig production in Europe: health management in common organic pig...FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture2011
Outdoor breeding of organic sows: a complete technical guide2020
PIGLOW application for animal welfare self-assessment by farmers20205 (6)
Plants and planting designs for organic poultry rangesØkologisk Landsforening (Danish Organic National...OK-Net EcoFeed2015
Prevent tail biting: watching – thinking – actingFiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture , FBN , FLI - Friedrich Löffler Institut , WUR - Wageningen University and Research , INRAE - National Research Institute for... , CEA LETI , DTI - Danish Technological InstituteOK-Net EcoFeed2017
Relevance of roughage feeding to pigs (OK-Net Ecofeed Practice Abstract)FiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net EcoFeed2019
Simplifying feeding management between weaning and culling process: impact on...2019
Successful weaning of organic pigletsFiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture , Bio Austria , Bioland , Bio Suisse , Demeter , IBLA Luxemburg , KÖN - Kompetenzzentrum Ökolandbau NiedersachsenOK-Net EcoFeed2014
Technical guide: tree-planning in poultry outdoor run2014
Use of a robot to feed roughage, improving welfare of broilersSEGESOK-Net EcoFeed2018