Free Range can actually mean a whole host of things in the poultry industry. The term implies a playful, ‘Chicken Run’ type of operation, when in fact some farmed birds are subject to over-cramming and grimy living conditions –in which they are bred to continuously eat, therefore have little interest in pecking away outdoors and tend to have unhealthy and stress-filled lives.
If something sounds too confusing to understand or pronounce then we don’t feed them to our Turkeys! This means nothing synthetic, no enhancers or fertilisers.
Free-range farms begin the rearing process with the best quality chicks taken from slow-growing strains. Our turkeys are a slow growing breed and their feed is based on locally grown cereals and vegetable protein. There are no additives, drugs or growth promoters in their feed, as we believe it is much better to rear them the natural way. Unlike non-free range farms which keep their turkeys in small, confined spaces for long periods of time, free range turkey farms house their birds in clean, mobile sheds that are always bedded with fresh straw, and access to the fields, leading to healthy and happy bronze and black turkeys.
Many farms try to rear as many turkeys as they can to ensure they gain a large profit (so try to avoid the large scale operators!). However, Morton’s farm only takes on a small, manageable amount, so that each turkey is well looked after. All birds are also dry plucked on the farm for minimum stress, by avoiding the prolonged transportation.
Our free range farms have a special cold store area where each turkey is left to mature for around 10 days. This ensures all of the turkeys have a delicious, traditional taste, making your Christmas extra special.
So why do people choose to go Free-Range at Christmas?
“I want them to have as natural a life as possible, with hundreds, and thousands of Turkeys being reared just for Christmas Day – I want one who lived a happy life” she said, adding that. “I would rather scrimp on other stuff and have the very best meat possible, and you can really taste the difference.”
Once you have chosen you turkey it’s important to order at least 4 – 6 weeks before Christmas to ensure you get the exact size and type of bird you’re after.