Scobbiscombe Farm is a conventionally run farm which strives to achieve the right balance between production and wildlife. We are members of a stewardship scheme ensuring some land is left fallow for wildlife and we liaise with the RSPB who monitor several endangered bird species on our land. As far as the turkeys go their welfare is identical to that of birds reared on well−run organic enterprises. Turkeys will only receive medication based on a medical need and do not receive any artificial growth promoters.
The turkeys arrive as day−old chicks at the end of June each year and are carefully reared under heat lamps until 5−6 weeks of age.
In mid−August they are moved across the farmyard to a large open shed with natural ventilation and will have access to a spacious paddock. The paddock size is increased as the turkeys grow, giving them new areas to explore.
The barn is enriched with beer cans, colourful bags and CDs which may be rubbish to us but provide hours of entertainment for the birds.
They are fed on a proprietary turkey food which is supplemented with home−grown cereals from 10 weeks of age. They also love to peck at potatoes and the odd turnip!
They live until approximately 23 weeks of age. This is twice the age that many supermarket turkeys will live and almost 4 times the age of many supermarket chickens. We feel that this is beneficial for several reasons:
Firstly they can be grown slowly so that their bodies are not under great stresses to grow rapidly.
Secondly we can give them a comfortable and enriched life.
Thirdly they reach a greater level of maturity, meaning more marbling of the meat and better taste.
Two weeks before Christmas the turkeys are killed on farm by a licensed slaughterman. This means they don’t have the stress of transportation and remain in their barn until their final moments and is one of the greatest welfare benefits of our system.
They are individually plucked with great care taken to ensure that the finish is perfect. They are then game-hung in refrigerated storage for over 7 days to ensure that great traditional flavour. Finally they are carefully prepared for the table and boxed with rosemary and a cooking timer.
All of these processes are carried out on Scobbiscombe Farm itself meaning that food miles and hence our carbon footprint are minimal.
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