About Our Turkeys

Everything you need to know about how our turkeys are reared

The life of our turkeyS

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

Vincent Carr has supplied Waitrose with about 3,000 organic, free range, bronze feathered Christmas turkeys each year since 2008. He puts the quality, firm texture and fuller flavour of the meat down to their living environment and what they eat. 

“On top of their organic, cereal-based diet, the turkeys are free to roam from dawn until dusk, with access to herbs, apples, berries and grasses. Everything counts towards the flavour of the bird,” he says. 

Vincent, who works on the farm with his two sons, aims to keep his birds as happy as possible, with plenty of space. 

“Turkeys are inquisitive creatures, relaxed and easy to work with. But they do like some shelter - it's their natural habitat – so over the past 10 years we’ve planted about 400 trees. They love having cover from other birds. We’re in the most peaceful corner of the world, so it’s a special place to live – for us as well as the birds.”

Turkey farmer Vincent Carr, Donegal, Ireland

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.

Nick Coleman

Partner & Assistant Turkey Buyer

"We work really closely with our turkey farmers, some of whom have been supplying us for 30 years, to produce the best quality birds for our customers' enjoyment. We make sure they work to our high welfare standards at every stage of the animal's life. That's because we believe it's the right thing to do by our turkeys and the farmers who rear them"