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Christmas turkey producer

Organic farmer Andrew Dennis and the rare breed turkeys ready for Christmas. Photo: SG111212-123TW

Organic farmer Andrew Dennis and the rare breed turkeys ready for Christmas. Photo: SG111212-123TW

Organic farmer Andrew Dennis is stumped for an explanation as to why his turkeys have finished a kilo heavier than normal this year.

The 300-strong flock is smaller this year, and Andrew – who farms at Woodlands Farm at Kirton – says the birds don’t particularly like the rain and certainly don’t enjoy the absence of light that has been typical of their growing season this year.

Nevertheless, Andrew says: “The ones we do have are weighing more than previous years. They have finished very well, a kilo more than they would normally. I know other producers have said the same thing and it’s hard to explain.”

The farm breeds the birds themselves, producing their own eggs rather than buying in day-old chicks, and Andrew says: “It seems a more complete system and it’s more in tune with organic principles. We know where they have come from and obviously sometimes when you buy in day-old chicks you can buy in disease.

“We apply the same principles to our cattle and sheep. It’s a closed flock.”

The birds are rare breeds, such as Bourbon Red and Lavender Blue, a few pied black and white, but the majority are Norfolk Bronze or Black.

Most of the turkeys are sold direct from the farm, and Andrew cannot remember a time when they have not sold out.

• Join Andrew and his team for the Three Kings Walk at Woodlands Farm on Sunday, January 6 (starting at 11am). Free (£5 for refreshments): wear wellies, dogs on a lead. Postcode: PE20 2DN

 

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