Our award winning Dukeshill Free Range Bronze Turkeys are specially reared for us by Rosie Wadlow. To say she has a rather good pedigree for turkey rearing is a bit of an understatement! During the Second World War Emily Ward (Rosie’s great grandmother) started rearing turkeys and chickens on her family farm in an effort to help with food production. Emily would hatch the turkeys and rear them for Christmas; she continued to do this into her late seventies. Emily’s daughter Dora loved the turkeys as a child and wanted to build hers and her Mother’s passion into a viable business. So in 1950, when Dora was seventeen she travelled over to Canada with her sister and mother on a fact-finding mission, to learn as much as she could about the Canada Bronze turkey. Dora was so impressed with the turkeys that she used all her savings and bought some eggs back home with her. When she hatched them out, they were the first Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys in the UK.
Dora grew her hatchery business, and in the 1960’s she was hatching up to 30,000 chicks each year and selling most of them to other turkey farmers but kept a few for her to sell at Christmas. All the breeding stock were free range and laid their eggs in nesting boxes in the fields at New House Farm. In the late 1970’s Dora stopped breeding turkeys because it was no longer financially viable. But Dora carried on producing turkeys for the Christmas market. When Rachael (Rosie’s mother) married into the Huxley Family, she started helping her mother-in-law Dora, and over a period of time she took over the running of the turkey business and expanded by supplying more and more turkeys to the local butchers.
When Rachael’s daughter Rosie took over the business she wanted to go back to the rearing of slow growing, game hung, free range Bronze turkeys. As a result Rosie is the fourth generation to produce turkeys at New House Farm. Her first steps were to prepare the old grass pastures, planting them with plenty of quinoa and millet for the turkeys to peck at, and preparing dust bathing areas for them to relax in. The quinoa and millet crops at New House Farm are hand cut for the turkeys daily. Not only do the birds love pecking at the seeds but it also provides the turkeys with a rich source of nutrients as well as being great for the songbirds and bees around the farm. Rosie is very excited to be rearing free-range turkeys that taste amazing, and have the highest welfare.
No wonder they were the winner of the Supreme Poultry Champion at the 2019 English Winter Fair. You will be able to taste for yourself the fabulous quality of the meat this Christmas so make sure you hurry up and order one as numbers are limited!