Search

Watch Norfolk’s talented turkeys play musical instruments in the countdown to Christmas

Free range Christmas turkeys enjoy a bit of musical enrichment at Traditional Norfolk Poultry in Shropham. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Free range Christmas turkeys enjoy a bit of musical enrichment at Traditional Norfolk Poultry in Shropham. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Archant 2017

You’ve heard of turkey drummers – but these festive fowl are stuffed with many more musical talents as they count down the days to their Christmas swansong.

A free-range Norfolk producer has decked the halls of its turkey sheds with toy instruments so the performing birds can gobble up the limelight before meeting their dinner-table destiny.

By pecking out tunes and rhythms on plastic xylophones, tambourines and maracas, it is hoped they will be stimulated and entertained, improving their health and welfare.

It is all part of the “environmental enrichment” programme at Traditional Norfolk Poultry (TNP), based at Shropham, near Attleborough.

Jane Codling, the firm’s poultry welfare officer, said: “Turkeys are very curious and they test everything out with their beaks, so we like to find things that promote their natural behaviour.

Free range turkeys enjoy a bit of musical enrichment 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Free range turkeys enjoy a bit of musical enrichment Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

“Every year I try something different. I went to charity shops and car boot sales and I found a xylophone, and the birds really loved it , so I went and bought a lot more instruments.

“It keeps them occupied and it really holds their interest. I am not sure if they are enjoying it, or if it annoys them – but it definitely stimulates them, which is good thing.”

TNP is one of the country’s biggest producer of free-range turkeys and, by the end of this week, a third of the 300,000 Christmas birds it has grown this year – including Norfolk Bronze, Norfolk Black and some heritage breeds – will have been slaughtered, processed and sent off to supermarkets.

Joint managing director Mark Gorton said the birds were given the best possible living conditions before they leave the farm, which benefits both animal welfare and consumer quality.

Free range turkeys enjoy a bit of musical enrichment 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Free range turkeys enjoy a bit of musical enrichment Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

“Obviously the birds don’t know what’s coming, but all the way through before they meet their maker, everything is geared up for their welfare,” he said.

“We talk a lot about the quality of the turkeys but they are all being grown to eat, so they need to taste good. If the turkeys are happy in their environment it will come through in the taste and texture of the meat, so it is a benefit to the consumer as well.

“The whole idea of environmental enrichment is to stop them showing the vices associated with growing them on a farm, which is not their natural environment.

“You can see there is no feather-pecking here, which shows they are happy in their environment. If we can keep them stimulated they look after each other and keep themselves in pristine condition. Anything that can make them enjoy their surroundings is good, and that is what we always try to do.”

Free range turkeys enjoy a bit of musical enrichment 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Free range turkeys enjoy a bit of musical enrichment Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

TNP celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, and recently won the prize for best seasonal turkey product at the British Poultry Awards, as well as the grower of the year title at the 2018 National Egg and Poultry Awards.

Free range turkeys enjoy a bit of musical enrichment 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Free range turkeys enjoy a bit of musical enrichment Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Free range turkeys enjoy a bit of musical enrichment at Traditional Norfolk Poultry in Shropham. Pictured are poultry welfare officer Jane Codling and joint managing director Mark Gorton. Picture: Sonya DuncanFree range turkeys enjoy a bit of musical enrichment at Traditional Norfolk Poultry in Shropham. Pictured are poultry welfare officer Jane Codling and joint managing director Mark Gorton. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Search hundreds of local jobs at Jobs24

Management Jobs

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Insight

Dan Evans, a partner at Cozens-Hardy solicitors, considers whether Overage is a sensible option or an unnecessary complication.

At this time of year, many of us throw caution to the wind so we can ensure our loved ones have a good time over Christmas.

Women in Business

cover

Enjoy the
Women in Business
digital edition

Read

Business East

cover

Enjoy the
Business East
digital edition

Read

The Best Employers

cover

Enjoy the
Best Employers
digital edition

Read

Celebrating Success

cover

Enjoy the
Celebrating Success
digital edition

Read

B2B Exhibition

cover

Enjoy the
B2B Exhibition
digital edition

Read

Green 100

cover

Enjoy the Green 100
digital edition

Read

Meet the Team

Mark Shields

Business Editor

|

Chris Hill

Agricultural and Farming Editor

|

Business Most Read

Awards

Norfolk Future 50 EDP Business Awards Green 100