Everything you need to know about how our turkeys are reared
THE LIFE OF OUR HIGH
We believe in keeping our turkeys happy. All the birds reared for Waitrose live in ventilated houses that benefit from natural light in the day and restful darkness at night.
Our birds have bales and perches to climb over with plenty of room to move around in their natural environment, which helps them grow strong and build healthier legs. We source all our turkeys from farms in England and Ireland.
Meet the producer
Sam Frost’s family has farmed turkeys in Norfolk for three generations. This year, working alongside his father, sister and uncle, he will rear around 35,000 free-range birds across their 35 acres, including the high-quality bronze-feathered birds they supply to Waitrose. "Our traditional slow-growing turkey, bronze-feathered has a great flavour and a little more fat, which makes the meat much more tender and succulent,” he says.
“I get a lot of satisfaction from caring for the turkeys and giving them a good life. They are inquisitive creatures, so you need to keep them occupied. They leave their sheds at around 7am to roam freely in the ranges until it gets dark.
“A cereal mix gives them all the nutrition they need, but turkeys are foragers too, so we plant maize for them. It grows very tall so they can really get in among it, pecking the bottom of the plants down – almost like felling trees – to get the corn from the cobs."
"Turkeys like to be off the ground when they sleep as it makes them feel safe, so we put perches in their sheds, plus bales for them to sit on. They get clean straw every day and the muck goes back onto the arable land to help with soil organic matter.”
Our farmers rear a number of different types of turkeys for Christmas, including...
Waitrose & Partners free range turkeys
These white-feathered birds live outdoors from six weeks old onwards. They roam on grass with straw bales, trees and mixed scrub to scratch in, with at least one acre per thousand birds.
The birds return to shelter houses at night with deep straw bedding or shavings for comfort and warmth.
Dry-aged bronze-feathered free range turkeys
A slower-growing breed, these birds are reared using traditional farming methods and renowned for producing succulent, richly flavoured meat.
The birds enjoy a cereal-based diet and roam freely in open pastures for their whole life.
The turkey is dry-aged for a minimum of seven days to give a richer, fuller taste.
Waitrose Duchy Organic free range bronze-feathered turkeys
A slow-growing, bronze-feathered breed renowned for their full flavour and succulence. These birds are reared on organic farms, eat an organic diet and roam freely in pastures and woodland.
Our animal welfare standards cover all of the bird’s life, from their housing to how they are transported. Our organic farms are independently inspected to meet strict turkey welfare requirements.
"Christmas means something unique to each of us, but what we eat is at the heart of it. Here at Waitrose we're pleased to offer a range of festive birds, as well as the traditional turkey for your centrepiece"
Partner & Turkey Buyer