Christmas Turkey Buying Guide

Christmas Turkey Buying Guide

Christmas is the meal of the year! The one everyone wants to get right! Everything should start with your turkey and so here is our guide to the difference between a British Turkey from Turnbull's and a supermarket shelf factory farmed turkey.


Strain of Turkey

Turnbull's Turkeys 

All of our Free Range Bronze Turkeys are born from a slow growing strain of turkey. The bronze turkey is the original and traditional turkey.

Known for their superior flavour and distinctive black feathers, because they are a naturally slow growing strain the meat does not shrink upon cooking as it does not retain water.


Supermarket Turkeys
Mass produced turkeys are a fast growing strain so the muscle retains water when growing and therefore, when cooked, water is released and the meat shrivels up.


Early days and growth

Turnbull's Turkeys 

Our turkeys are allowed to grow slowly and develop to full maturity and are reared for a minimum of 20 weeks before slaughter.
This means the bird has had time to develop naturally to a plump turkey with a good layer of fat. As a result, the bird cooks better within its fat and tastes better with the fat giving excellent flavour, it also means there is much more textured meat on the breast.


Supermarket – grown fast

Supermarket birds are slaughtered at 12 weeks old.
This means the turkey is not plump with therefore has a relatively small amount of breast meat. There is very little or no fat so is often flavourless and dry.


Rearing Lifestyles

Turnbull's Turkeys

Kept in small batches of up to 500 under heaters in an insulated shed until 5 weeks old. Sheds have automatic opening air vents and windows to ensure a consistent temperature for the poults. At 5 weeks they move outside into large poly tunnels built with wind brakes on the sides to allow plenty of fresh air and light to flood the poly tunnels, but also provide some protection from the elements before they are bedded up 3 times a week on fresh straw.

At 8 weeks old our Free Range Turkeys are let out into the field where they can roam freely on a daily basis before being shut up at dusk to give protection from Foxes and other predators.  


Produced in very large sheds with little and often no natural light and cramped conditions. Bedded up on wood shavings which creates little stimulus to prevent the turkeys from becoming bored. This in turn can result in the feather pecking (pecking each other’s feather to bleeding point causing damage at each other). Never allowed to roam outside and killed young.


Slaughter & Processing

Turnbull's Turkeys

To minimise stress, our turkeys are slaughtered in approved processing facilities.

Each of our birds are individually prepared by our Skilled Team of Butchers for minimum fuss on your big day!


Birds mass caught and slaughtered in a commercial abattoir and potentially transported 100’s of miles. They are wet plucked which increases the opportunity for bacterial levels and therefore reduces shelf life. This means that the bird often has to be ‘gas flushed’ to give it extra shelf life.