Shabden Park Farm turkeys come to us
at six weeks old in June and are reared, free range, on grass pasture
in time for Christmas.
We order our turkey poults to a selection of breeds
and strains to acheive a variety of sizes, catering for everyone's
Christmas. Stag birds become much bigger than hen birds. We rear
both white and bronze birds.
The turkey poults are fed a specially formulated non-GM cereals
rearer and housed on clean straw bedding. At around ten weeks old,
when the weather is fine, the turkeys are put outside onto grass
pasture during the day. The birds are always brought back into the
shed for the night to roost, free from draughts. We put perches
in the building to enable them to roost off the ground, a natural
instinct which makes them feel safe.
to eight weeks before Christmas, as the weather becomes colder,
the birds are housed during the day and night, and we change the
feed to a specially formulated non-GM cereal-based fattening ration.
This enables the birds to put all their efforts into fattening rather
than trying to keep warm.
Farmer Mark hand-plucks all our turkeys on the farm and they are
dressed and trussed by Kirstie.
breed geese are bought as day-old goslings in May and are naturally
reared for the Christmas dinners of our farm shop customers.
The goslings are kept indoors under a heat lamp
for the first few weeks, although after the first week or so we
start to take them out into the garden for a couple of hours per
day, when the weather is warm. During the night they huddle together
under the lamps to keep themselves warm.
The goslings are fed non-GM chick crumbs, and like our other animals,
have unrestricted access to clean drinking water.
Small goslings like these are easy prey for foxes so they are kept
in a high-sided pen and supervised when they are taken out.
goslings are very small, we use an old sandpit for them to splash
around in. The water helps them to preen their feathers, especially
as they begin to shed their yellow down and grow white feathers.
The goslings start to show patches of white and grey at around two
to three weeks old.
At around six weeks old, we let the goslings have daytime access
to pasture. They have an area of around half an acre fenced with
electric to deter predators, and a bigger bath tub! Every evening
they are brought back into the safety and warmth of the shed.
We finish feeding chick crumbs at around ten weeks when they are
nearly full grown and have become white. They graze the pasture
during the day and receive a small amount of non-GM cereal-based
ration in the evening when they come indoors. Using this method,
the geese mature slowly and traditionally on natural pasture.
approaches, we start feeding ad-lib a non-GM poultry finishing feed
containing protein and fibre from wheat, barley or maize, omega
3 oils from soya or linseed, and vitamins and minerals; all of which
are again derived from the natural raw materials. This gives the
geese plenty of food during the autumn and winter months, when short,
succulent grass is not available, and ensures that they have enough
energy in their ration to keep growing and putting on weight right
up until Christmas.
As the weather gets colder, we keep the geese indoors on straw bedding
so that they put all their efforts into achieving a good size and
weight, and not just keeping warm.
Mark hand-plucks all our geese on the farm to minimise stress and
the birds are dressed by our butchers in the farm shop to keep them
at their freshest.
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