Along with vegetables, at Luna Bleu we have raised beef cattle, pigs, and chickens. In 2020 our daughter Shona took over the raising of our beef cattle and pigs to start her own farm Flying Dog Farm, but we continue to raise broiler chickens and laying hens.
The livestock play an important role in cycling and recycling nutrients, eating insects, mowing grass, and tilling the soil, contributing the health of our soil and farm.
Our chickens are certified organic, just like everything else on the farm. This means they are raised on certified organic feed (hay, pasture, grain and cull vegetables from the farm); they are never given any antibiotics or growth hormones; no herbicides, pesticides, or synthetic fertilizers are used on their pastures, and they always have access to the sun and fresh air outside (in the summer they are on pasture 24/7).
Our poultry is all organic and raised on pasture and fallow vegetable fields. The chickens help us to improve our field and pasture fertility, and the bugs, worms, and grass they eat foraging makes healthy and happy birds. In addition to the foraging, we feed our chickens organic grain.
We get our day-old chicks in the mail and provide them with a warm, dry place for their first few weeks. As soon as they are hearty enough, we put them out on pasture in movable pens.
Young chicks in the brooder.
When they get a little bigger we put a flexi-net fence around them and open the pen doors so they can go in and out and have plenty of room to explore and forage. The electrified fence also helps to keep predators out and the chickens away from growing gardens.
We raise Freedom Ranger chickens for meat. The Freedom Ranger breed comes from a mix of American and European heritage breeds that were selected to grow faster than an egg layer, or dual purpose breed, but slower than the Cornish Crosses that are the standard for industrial farming. The slightly slower growth means they stay active and foraging their whole lives while still producing tender flavorful chicken.
Six week old freedom rangers on pasture.
Our chicken can be purchased fresh or frozen at the Norwich Farmers’ Market, through our Meat CSA, or directly here at the farm. We have a discount for purchasing ten or more chickens and we appreciate advance orders.
If you want to know when we are bringing fresh — never frozen— chickens to the farmers’ market, like us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram— we try to post there when we’ll have fresh chickens, so you’ll be sure to see our announcements.
One last thing on the chicken front . . . because we process on farm, we can only sell whole chickens. Sometimes people are hesitant to buy larger birds when we have them, but don’t be afraid!
Larger birds are great to roast one day and use for soup or stir-fry the next, or to cut up for many different meal options.
When you buy them fresh, it's easy to cut them up and freeze pieces . . . have a wing party over the winter, use a chicken breast in stirfry, and save the carcasses for stock. . . Contact us if you want to be on our “fresh chicken” list so you can cut up your own chicken.
Intimidated by the idea of cutting up a whole chicken? It's really not hard! Visit our cooking page for a step by step video walkthrough.
If that still seems a little difficult, let us know when you contact us for fresh chicken and we'd love to show you how!
Like our broilers, our layers spend their lives on pasture, foraging for plants, insects and worms, and happily cleaning up cull vegetables as well.
In the summer our layers move around the pastures in an "egg mobile" where they have space inside to roost at night and lay their eggs, and fresh pasture outside to enjoy. Having them move through the pasture is not just good for them, it also adds fertilizer to the pasture and as they pass through areas the cows have gone through previously, they scratch up cow manure, spreading it around and helping decrease the number of flies and parasites. Plus, it makes for those beautiful orange egg yolks high in omega 3's!
Our eggs are available for purchase at the Norwich Farmers Market, the farm and for our CSA members as an add-on Egg Share. You can also find our eggs on occasion at the South Royalton Market.