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Festive fears fade as Norfolk farmers pledge: 'We will save Christmas.'

PUBLISHED: 16:22 26 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:22 26 July 2019

Norfolk farmers are set to save Christmas after a heatwave in Europe left the supply of turkeys into the UK under threat. Picture: Ian Burt

Norfolk farmers are set to save Christmas after a heatwave in Europe left the supply of turkeys into the UK under threat. Picture: Ian Burt

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Norfolk farmers are set to save Christmas after a heatwave in Europe left the supply of turkeys into the UK under threat.

Farmer James Graham says shoppers need not worry about finding a turkey this Christmas. Picture: Matthew Usher.Farmer James Graham says shoppers need not worry about finding a turkey this Christmas. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The soaring temperatures sparked fears that the traditional British Christmas could be ruined thanks to French farmers suffering a lower supply of eggs.

With the French suppling a quarter of eggs hatched in the UK concerns were raised that prices could rocket or the supply cold dry up completely.

But Norfolk's turkey farmers are determined December 25, 2019, will not be destroyed by the mercury spiking in France in July.

Steve Childerhouse of Great Grove Poultry has had no issues with egg supply. Picture: Norfolk Food HeroesSteve Childerhouse of Great Grove Poultry has had no issues with egg supply. Picture: Norfolk Food Heroes

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Because our farmers either keep their own flock or source their eggs from local hatcheries the traditional Christmas dinner is not under threat after all.

James Graham farms black turkeys at Peele's Norfolk Black Turkeys in Thuxton and said French supply issues will not ruin his customers' Christmas dinners.

"We have our own flock of turkeys which lay naturally," he explained. "I can imagine for people who do buy eggs from hatcheries which import eggs, or even import it themselves, that this would be worrying.

"I have actually got fewer turkey eggs for this year's Christmas supply because my birds didn't lay for as long as they usually do.

"This is down to the weather - though not hot weather. The Beast of the East last year meant that the turkeys started laying later, and because they lay naturally this has meant they've reacted this year when we had cooler weather in February," he explained.

"Having said that, I'm not going to have any supply issues because I've got what I need for Christmas," he said.

The British Poultry Council has confirmed it had not received reports from members about problems with egg production in the UK.

Steve Childerhouse is the owner of Great Grove, a free range poultry farm in Attleborough, and said his hatchery in Essex had not been affected.

"We bought our eggs just over a month ago and the chicks are now about five weeks old," he said. "The prices were a bit steeper but I don't think it was to do with the heat - just inflation. I can't see the French market really impacting the UK."

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