Julie swaps lifestyle to rear turkeys in Moulton Eaugate

Julie Watkins playing mum to bronze turkeys at her farm at Moulton Eaugate. Photo: SG211113-114TW
Julie Watkins playing mum to bronze turkeys at her farm at Moulton Eaugate. Photo: SG211113-114TW

When Julie Watkins decided on a change of lifestyle she never thought she would end up playing mum to about 300 turkeys.

Julie took over an existing farm at Moulton Eaugate about six months ago and changed its name to Cranberry Farm.

There, she takes in day-old turkey chicks which are kept under heat for about four weeks before being allowed to go outside.

Julie oversees everything, from monitoring the heat for the young chicks to culling the birds from 21 weeks onwards.

The former stockbroker, former welder and, more recently, last mile steward at the London Olympics underwent a course to learn to kill humanely and now breeds turkeys in accordance with the association she belongs to, the Traditional Farmfresh Turkey Association (TFTA).

She said: “They are all bronze, a good quality turkey. Normally, the chick is being kept warm by mum who lets it out when it needs to go out. I play mum and this year, I don’t know if it’s standard, we found it difficult to control the heat because the temperature this summer was very high so we had to keep a very close eye on the temperature in the sheds.”

Turkeys go to local butchers’ shops as well as farm gate customers.

Julie, who is married to Simon, also sells cranberry bushes and has some for her own use which she hopes in time will produce enough berries to make a sauce.