Eating quality is ‘key’ says Essex turkey firm boss

EATING quality has led a traditional Christmas hatchery business and turkey producer to drop two of its lines.

FarmGate Hatcheries managing director Paul Kelly says the business, which is owner of the prestigious Kelly Turkeys operation at Danbury in Essex, has stopped breeding from two pure lines over the past three years because of relatively poor eating quality.

“It is no coincidence that our breeds have won the quality British turkey awards for eight consecutive years,” he said. “We have a very unique programme to select breeding stock that eats superbly. I can confidently say I have tasted more turkeys of different breeds than anyone else on the planet. I can assure you there are big differences in various breeding lines for both bronze and white.

“Ultimately it is the experience your customers have at their Christmas dinner that is the key to repeat business.”

Mr Kelly describes their bronze turkeys as ‘the genuine article’, bred from a bronze mother and a bronze father.

He advises producers to plan their poult order carefully to supply demand. “Getting the correct weights makes the whole job not just a little bit, but massively easier,” he says.

FarmGate Hatcheries is offering a choice of six bronze and four white strains available from May to September. Prices are up by 2.5% to reflect inflation.

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One change is in the parentage for the smallest strain – the Tiny bronze — which will now achieve 10% heavier weights.