Backyard Livestock Books

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Organic Growing with Worms – David Murhpy – Viking (Aus) 2005 ISBN 0 670 04174 2 – an excellent Aussie book, lot’s of useful information – a must have for worms.

Earthworms for Ecology and Profit
– Ronald E. Gaddie & Donald E. Douglas – Bookworm Publishing Company (Can) 1977 ISBN 0 916302 05 9 – technical but good

Australian back to basics: Worm Farm Management – Eric Wilson – Pennon Publishing (Aus) 2002 ISBN 1877029130 – mainly covers large scale operations rather than backyard stuff but interesting nevertheless.

Worms Garden For You – Allan Windust – Allscape (Aus) 1997 ISBN 0 646 34280 0 – Good Aussie backyard book!


Backyard Rabbit Farming – Ann Williams – Prism Press (UK) 1977 ISBN 0 904727 56 4 – Written for the UK but there is not much out there on home grown rabbits and this one isn’t bad.

Commercial Rabbit Meat Production
– John Portsmouth – Saiga Publishing Ltd (UK) 1979 ISBN 0 904 558 31 2 – Obviously based around commercial operations but a lot of information, some transferrable to a backyard situation, some not.

The Integral Urban House – The Farallones Institute – Sierra club books (US) 1979 ISBN0 87156 213 8 Pages 259 to 280 – Detailed instructions on setting up a backyard rabbit meat production system – and a gem of a book all up!

Keeping Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps
– Claude Goodchild and Alan Thompson – Penguin Books (UK) 2008 ISBN 978 0 141 03862 9 –This is a facsimile edition of a book originally published in 1941, during the war. While obviously an old book it still has some good ideas for keeping chooks and rabbits in the suburban back yard.


The Hive and The Honey Bee – Dadant and Sons – Dadant and Sons (US) 1987Library of congress Card No 63-15838 – Tends to only be available through bee equipment suppliers this book is almost 700 pages of detailed information, great for the experienced beekeeper and novice alike. This book is a classic.

First Lessons in Beekeeping
– CP Dadant – Dadant and Sons (US) 1990 ISBN 0 915698-02-1 – As the name suggests a great book for the novice, although some information may not apply to Aus.

The ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture – AI Root – The AI Root Company (US) 1978 ISBN ? – Written in the form of an encyclopaedic dictionary, this book is another classic on bee culture. Again, some information does not pertain to Aus but with over 700 pages of information it is worth having in your library.

Backyard Beekeeping in Australia and New Zealand
– C.N. Smithers – Angus and Robertson (AUS) 1987 ISBN 0 207 15279 9 – not hugely detailed but a great book for the novice, a good introduction to the subject.

Beekeeping in Australia for Pleasure and Profit – Fred Bailey – William Heinemann Australia (AUS) 1985 ISBN 0 85859 281 9 – another good introduction to beekeeping.

Practical Beekeeping – Ray Chapman-Taylor and Ivo Davey – Inkata Press (AUS) 1988 ISBN 0 909605 46 7 – This is more than an introduction, it is the book for a serious beekeeper with lots of good Aus specific information.

Queen Rearing – Harry H. Laidlaw Jr and J. E. Eckert – University of California Press (US) 1962 ISBN 0-520-00687-9 – A bit out of date but lots of good information about how to raise your own queen bees to keep your hives going.

Australian Stingless Bees – John Klumpp – Earthling Enterprises (AUS) 2007 ISBN 978 0 975713 81 5 – This is the only book I’ve seen on stingless bees and it is very comprehensive, well written and well produced. It covers distinguishing bees and castes, finding hives in the bush, making hives, moving hives and splitting hives, pests and hive invaders and bee friendly plants. There are lots of colour photos.

The Complete Handbook of Beekeeping – Owen Meyer (ed.) – Ward Lock Limited (UK) 1978 ISBN 0 7063 1615 0 – A good general book on beekeeping with a UK perspective.


Jackie French’s Chook Book – Jackie French – Aird Books (AUS) 1993 ISBN 0 947214 40 2 – Virtually anything by Jackie has got to be good stuff, and apart from the usual care and feeding etc, she also covers a stack of recipes for old, young and left over chook. Not a big book, but big on info.

Chickens in Your Back Yard
– Rick and Gail Luttmann – Rodale Press Inc (US) 1976 ISBN 0 87857 125 6 – A good basic book that covers the subject well, if from a US perspective.

Keeping Poultry – Dept of Agriculture, Tasmania – Dept of Agriculture, Tasmania (AUS) 1989 ISBN 0 7246 1663 2 – A good basic book from an AUS perspective but not particularly skewed towards the small producer and definitely not organic/free range.

Backyard Poultry, Naturally – Alanna Moore – Python Press (AUS) 2004 ISBN 0 9585590 1 5 – OK, this is my FAVOURITE chook keeping book. Lots of good info for the backyard producer, it’s Aussie, it covers most if not all of the stuff you need to start up your own flock and is written from an organic/ Permaculture perspective. If one book on chooks is all you can afford, this is it!

Chicken Tractor
– Andy Lee and Patricia Foreman – Good Earth Publications (US) 2000 ISBN 0 9624648 6 4 – While not particularly designed towards the backyard market, it contains lots of good information of various styles of chook tractor and how they are used. Definitely organic/ Permaculture base.

A Guide to Keeping Poultry in Australia – Dorothy Reading – Thomas Nelson Australia (AUS) 1983 ISBN  0 17 005788 7 -  A good basic book that was, for years, the only Aussie book in my library on chooks.

Keeping Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps – Claude Goodchild and Alan Thompson – Penguin Books (UK) 2008 ISBN 978 0 141 03862 9 –This is a facsimile edition of a book originally published in 1941, during the war. While obviously an old book it still has some good ideas for keeping chooks and rabbits in the suburban back yard.


Taking Stock – Peter Isaak – Jill Norman Ltd (UK) 1981 ISBN 0 906908 41 8 – This book is about keeping animals in the urban, suburban and rural environment it is one of the few books that tackles snails (see pages 144 to 148).

European  Peasant cookery
– Elisabeth Luard – Bantam Press/Transworld Publishers (UK) 1986 ISBN 0 593 01044 2 – While being mainly about cooking of course, this book does give instructions on the harvesting and treatment of snails as well as how to cook them, see pages 122 to 126. An interesting read.

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