Here’s your chance to bid for a champion turkey for Christmas dinner
The chance to bag a prize-winning fresh bird for the Christmas dinner table is set to bring hundreds of bidders to traditional festive poultry auctions across Norfolk.
Sales will be held across the county in the build-up to the big day with turkeys, geese, chickens and ducks from local producers due to go under the hammer.
In Aylsham, a Christmas tradition which is now in its 67th year will take place on Friday December 20 at Keys' annual Christmas poultry sale at the firm's salerooms off Palmers Lane. The auction starts at 11am, with viewing of the birds from 9am.
The majority of the birds, which include Norfolk Black and Bronze turkeys as well as free-range geese and ducks, have been raised by small-scale local farmers.
Keys managing director David Broom said: "We love the Christmas poultry sale, as it really marks the start of the festive season for us - and for the many, many people who come to the sale to buy the bird which will be on their Christmas Day table.
"It is really nice to bring together local producers and local consumers, especially in these days when people want to know where their food has come from. It remains very popular with farmers and producers, as well as those who come to bid.
"Unlike much supermarket poultry, those coming to our sale will know exactly who has raised their bird, and in many cases will be able to chat with the producer themselves."
The following day, there is another opportunity to buy poultry reared locally in the time-honoured way, at Norwich Livestock Market on Hall Road.
The market's annual Christmas poultry sale will start at midday on Saturday December 21 after customers have had the chance to view hundreds of ducks, chickens and turkeys, with a selection of oven-ready as well as rough-plucked and long-legged birds.
Also on December 21, auctioneer Fabian Eagle will be selling "turkeys, geese, ducks and probably the biggest cockerels in East Anglia" at his Christmas Poultry Auction, starting at 11am at Swaffham Racetrack.
He will also hold the second of two midweek sales at 10.30am on Wednesday December 18 at Eldon Farm in Holywell Row. At the first sale this week, Mr Eagle said the majority of the birds were bought by butchers who travelled up from London.
"Turkeys were making in the region of £2 per lb, geese were in excess of £3.50 per lb and cockerels were in the £2 per lb bracket with most cockerels weighing between 15lb and 17lb," he said.
And the final chance to buy a fresh bird before Christmas will be on Monday December 23 at Diss Auction Rooms, where TW Gaze is holding its annual Christmas Poultry Show and Sale at 5pm, with viewing from 4pm.
Around 250 birds are up for sale including turkeys, chickens, geese and duck, plus guinea fowl, pheasants and partridges.
A spokesman for the firm said: "All the birds are from local farmers and some of our farming families have been putting their birds into our sale for many years. The birds are sold as close to Christmas as possible so that they are fresh and ready for the Christmas dinner table."
Before the sale, all the birds are entered into a show, with expert industry judges awarding rosettes for each class - with the overall supreme champion often fetching a premium price at the auction as bidders battle for the honour of festive centrepiece at the auction.
Guest judges this year will be Matthew Ward, agricultural director of Crown Chicken, and David Brown, poultry sales and marketing director of Cranswick Poultry.
Auctioneers said the Diss sale would not be affected by this week's bird flu outbreak a few miles away at Athelington, near Eye, as none of its consignors were within the 1km restriction zone for the low-pathogenic strain of the disease.
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