Christmas may be the last thing on your mind in the middle of Summer, but here at Morton’s Family Farm, our Christmas journey is just beginning.
Our turkey chicks arrived last week, ready to be reared for 25 weeks ahead of Christmas. They are mainly Norfolk Bronze with 100 Norfolk Black/Norfolk Bronze chicks – a male Norfolk Black crossed with a Bronze hen.
If you follow Morton’s, you’ll know that our ethos is to raise each bird as slowly and ethically as possible, focusing on the wellbeing of each and every one of them. Supermarkets rear turkeys on average for 16 weeks, whilst our rearing process is almost double this time. This allows fat to develop between the muscle fibres on the bird – producing a firmer texture and basting the meat as it cooks leading to a far superior tasting product.
The chicks begin their lives in our ‘turkey hotel’, a covered area with gas heaters over a bed of straw, safe from the elements outside. It’s important they begin their lives comfortably, so they are better equipped to brave the outside when the time is right. After around 8 weeks they will move outside, able to fully explore the land we have and roam around as they please. The birds are fed on a cereal diet containing a percentage of whole oats and natural forage.
Many turkeys, even those labelled free-range, live in cramped and terrible conditions with up to nine birds per square metre. Often conditions even for free-range birds can be so cramped that the birds never make it outside, as they can’t get to the exit of the shed.
At Morton’s, the wellbeing of our animals is the most important part of what we do. Our turkeys roam freely around our land, exploring their surroundings and foraging as they please.
The Norfolk Bronze is known to be one of the finest turkey breeds around, the Gold Standard of turkeys, with a deep, rich and slightly gamey flavour. They are known for their slightly unusual colour, with their feathers a shimmery green and bronze colour, often appearing metallic. The Norfolk Black has a much fuller, gamier flavour but with a smaller breast and a finer texture than the Norfolk Bronze. Our Bronze/Black chicks give you the option of the best of both worlds.
We will keep you regularly updated with how our chicks are doing over the next few weeks!