Herb Fed Poultry GBP Monday through Friday ££ Unit 1, Woodmans House, Pilmoor York, North Yorkshire YO61 2QG 01845 501 168 info@herbfed.co.uk

Christmas Turkey Buying Guide

Christmas is the meal of the year! The one everyone wants to get right! Everything should start with your turkey and so here is our guide to the difference between a Herb Fed free range turkey and a supermarket shelf factory farmed turkey.

Strain of Turkey

HERB FED

All Herb Fed birds are a bronze slow growing strain of turkey. The bronze turkey is the original and traditional turkey.

Known for their superior flavour and distinctive black feathers, because they are a naturally slow growing strain the meat does not shrink upon cooking as it does not retain water.

 

SUPERMARKET
Mass produced turkeys are a fast growing strain so the muscle retains water when growing and therefore, when cooked, water is released and the meat shrivels up.

Herb Fed Bronze Stag bird
Poults arrive on the farm as day olds

Early days and growth

HERB FED – slow grown

Herb Fed turkeys are allowed to grow slowly and develop to full maturity – they arrive on the Herb Fed farm as day old chicks (poults) and are reared for a minimum of 20 weeks before slaughter.
This means the bird has had time to develop naturally to a plump turkey with a good layer of fat.
As a result, the bird cooks better within its fat and tastes better with the fat giving excellent flavour, it also means there is much more textured meat on the breast.

 

SUPERMARKET – grown fast

Supermarket birds are slaughtered at 12 weeks old.
This means the turkey is not plump with therefore has a relatively small amount of breast meat. There is very little or no fat so is often flavourless and dry.

All Herb Fed birds are a bronze slow growing strain of turkey. The bronze turkey is the original and traditional turkey.

Known for their superior flavour and distinctive black feathers, because they are a naturally slow growing strain the meat does not shrink upon cooking as it does not retain water.

Rearing Lifestyles

HERB FED

Kept in small batches of up to 500 under heaters in an insulated shed until 5 weeks old. Sheds have automatic opening air vents and windows to ensure a consistent temperature for the poults.
At 5 weeks they move outside into large poly tunnels built with wind brakes on the sides to allow plenty of fresh air and light to flood the poly tunnels, but also provide some protection for the Yorkshire elements.
Bedded up 3 times a week on fresh straw.

At 8 weeks old they are let out into the field where they can roam freely on a daily basis before being shut up at dusk to give protection from Mr Fox.
Turkeys are very curious birds and can be easily bored so we make sure they have lots of things to keep them busy – shrubs to peck at, straw bales to fly onto and perch on and not to mention the herbs to explore and eat.

 

SUPERMARKET 

Produced in very very large sheds with little and often no natural light and cramped conditions.
Bedded up on wood shavings which creates little stimulus to prevent the turkeys from becoming bored. This in turn can result in the feather pecking (pecking each other’s feather to bleeding point causing damage at each other).
Never allowed to roam outside and killed young.

The birds at home in their poly tunnel and exploring the field
Turkeys pecking away at the herbs

Turkey diet – after all, your are what you eat!

HERB FED

Herb Fed birds are fed a varied diet which contains 80% cereal and low protein to maintain slow growth, plus a high proportion of oats which gives extra fat and flavour.

Our herbs are also a healthy addition providing a minimum of 10 varieties of fresh herbs that give the birds extra nutrition and further environmental stimulus. Finally, an odd one but true – like most birds’ turkeys like to swallow grit to help digest their food. They can find the grit a plenty while foraging in the fields they roam.

 

SUPERMARKET 

A high protein compound feed designed for absolute efficiency so that birds will get to a weight that they can be killed at as fast as possible.

Slaughter & Processing

HERB FED 

To minimize stress, our turkeys are slaughtered on-site in our approved processing facility. They are then dry plucked and waxed to give the finest finish.

Like a game bird the turkeys are hung for at least 10 days ‘long legged’ at 2 – 4oC to allow the meat to tenderize and take on even more flavor.

After hanging, they are eviscerated, the giblets are saved to make the best gravy and the birds are trussed and weighed ready for dispatch.

Each of our birds are individually boxed and sent out with a pack of fresh herbs and a recipe for the ‘perfect Christmas stuffing’ in which the herbs are used.

SUPERMARKET 

Birds mass caught and slaughtered in a commercial abattoir and potentially transported 100’s of miles.
They are wet plucked which increases the opportunity for bacterial levels and therefore reduces shelf life. This means that the bird often has to be ‘gas flushed’ to give it extra shelf life.

The End Result

HERB FED – individually boxed for you

A moist flavoursome free range turkey with ample breasts that has been grown in an enriched happy environment and fed on a diet fit for Kings and Queens. Slaughtered and processed in a humane sensitive fashion to create the ultimate Christmas meal – after all a happy bird is ‘a bird with taste’

 

ON THE SUPERMARKET SHELF

A dry and tasteless bird that has been reared in the most basic of environments where it has been given what it needs to grow efficiently and slaughtered a large factory process.

Order yours now – ORDER HERE

Not sure what size – find out what we recommend here

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