Rare breed turkeys bred for Christmas
We are the largest Soil Association accredited breeder of fully organic traditional turkeys. (Licence number G5618)
The turkeys normally start laying eggs in April. We do not use AI, all the turkeys mate naturally.
We separate the breeds to produce some pure bred chicks, but to improve the spread of weights we also cross some of the breeds. About 10% of our hens are of a commercial turkey origin, which we cross with our stags to produce some birds over 9 kg oven-ready.
We keep four turkey breeds, Norfolk Black, Cambridge Bronze, Bourbon Red and Narragansett.
Cambridge Bronze Turkey
Norfolk Black turkey
Bourbon Red turkeys
Over the past seven years, our Christmas turkeys oven ready weight has averaged 13 to 14lbs (6kg). Last Christmas we reared and fattened 100 of our turkeys and they averaged 6kg oven-ready. The majority fall between 4kg and 9kg. As our birds are 100% naturally bred, around 10% of stags may exceed 20lbs oven ready weight.
Turkey oven ready weight range is:-
We feed our turkeys on Turkey Starter Crumbs up to 5 weeks, then Turkey Rearer pellets until 10 weeks old then they have Turkey Finisher from 10 weeks old, in October when the birds are fully grown we introduce whole or rolled oats, starting at 10% and increasing to 50% of their ration and finish entirely on oats for the last 5 weeks. We use Hi-Peak Feeds, a 100% organic feed.
Finishing on whole organic oats for the last few weeks has several advantages. They are cheaper than finisher pellets (even when bought in), the turkeys develop a layer of fat under the skin and they like them!
Whilst traditional breeds do not have the "double-breasted" conformation of modern commercial birds, they do produce meat with superior texture and flavour, particularly when hung. More and more people are becoming aware of the superior taste, moist meat, texture and flavour of the old fashioned and rare breed turkeys. Once a customer has tasted a traditional bird they will be very reluctant to return to a commercial bronze.
Please see FAQ page for answers to such questions as "How long does a turkey take to rear for Christmas?" and "When should I buy turkey eggs to hatch for Christmas?".
We offer a guide to rearing turkeys from day olds based on our experiences - available free on request to producers purchasing our day-old turkey chicks.
If you have not reared turkeys before, (they are the sheep equivalent of the poultry world - bent on suicide) our guide gives you advice on housing, bedding and management of turkey chicks during the first few weeks of life. Follow a few basic rules and your turkeys will thrive, get it wrong and the results could be devastating.
We can also provide guidance on marketing your birds and final weight/customer allocation.
The Bourbon Red and Narragansett birds are particularly attractive and as well as producing excellent quality meat, can be a useful advertising and marketing aid for those who have birds on view to the public.