Economic appraisal and technical effectiveness of adaptation options are key criteria for judging climate change adaptation investment decisions in all sectors. Yet relatively little methodological guidance exists for determining the most appropriate appraisal techniques for different adaptation options. This paper provides adaptation options and scopes relevant appraisal methods in agriculture focussing on livestock production specifically. We find that for many adaptation options for livestock agriculture, standard (expected) cost-benefit analysis is an appropriate tool. For adaptation options requiring long lead times or those with long lifetimes, techniques incorporating uncertainty (‘robust’ methods) are more suitable, including real options analysis, portfolio analysis and robust decision-making. From a comprehensive list of adaptation options in the livestock sector, we identify the most appropriate appraisal technique for each option and describe how the robust appraisal tools could be applied to heat stress, flood risk and water management.