Essex turkey operation expands operations as demand grows

Paul Kelly, Kelly Turkeys. Picture: KELLY TURKEYS

Paul Kelly, Kelly Turkeys. Picture: KELLY TURKEYS - Credit: Kelly Turkeys

A premium turkey producer based in Essex has invested £300,000 in redeveloping one of its four pedigree breeding farms in the UK to help keep up with growing demand for its day-old poults.

The re-developed Kelly Turkeys Southwoods Farm near Maldon in Essex Picture: ROGER RANSON/BHR COMMUN

The re-developed Kelly Turkeys Southwoods Farm near Maldon in Essex Picture: ROGER RANSON/BHR COMMUNICATIONS - Credit: Archant

Danbury-based family-owned firm Kelly Turkey completed a three-year investment project at its Southwoods Farm near Maldon after acquiring the site.

The company has refurbished the 34,000 sq ft (3160 sq m) of housing, and built a new naturally-ventilated pedigree stag shed.

“This will free up space in the existing accommodation for more egg production from hens, and provide dry storage for equipment during the winter months,” said managing director Paul Kelly.

The work also included installing new feeding and drinking systems throughout the site, high security fencing and locks, and additional biosecurity measures.

The unit is run by a team of four people headed by farm manager Mick Chittock, who has worked for Kelly Turkeys for more than 20 years.

“We are continuing to invest in our breeding programme with full pedigree replicates at our four sites – two in East Anglia and others in the Midlands and Scotland,” said Paul.

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“This will help us to develop our range of breeds to match consumer demand and to provide enhanced security of supply in the event of disease restrictions.”

The additional breeding capacity will enable the group’s FarmGate Hatcheries to meet increasing demand for day-old poults and growers.

The hatchery is a major supplier of traditional breeds to producers of Christmas turkeys and has developed an export business to customers in Europe and beyond.

Kelly Turkeys reintroduced the bronze turkey to the UK market 30 years ago. The firm is believed to have the world’s largest range of coloured turkey genetics.

FarmGate Hatcheries – part of the Kelly Turkeys group – is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of poults for the traditional Christmas turkey market.

The company has been hatching poults at Danbury, near Chelmsford, since 1971 and supplies a wide range of traditional breeds that are selected for eating qualities, flavour and texture.

The business was launched by Paul’s father, Derek in 1971.