Rearing turkeys in a forest seems like a good idea. There is plenty of shade, water and greenery. But, what about the foxes?
This was the first reaction of Traditional Farmfresh Turkey Association members during a recent open day to a Christmas turkey unit that rears birds in a forest.
All the trees, long grass and green undergrowth is ideal cover for marauding foxes. So, how many birds do you lose to foxes in a season?
Stephen Childerhouse of Great Grove Poultry, Norfolk, who reared 3000 of his bronze Christmas birds in a forest last year said: â€œJust three birds in all the 15 years.â€
According to him, predators are kept away thanks to a waist-high ring of electric fencing circling the six-acre site. At nightfall, birds can roost in safety on the lower branches, settle down in the undergrowth or take advantage of the sheds.
â€œWe all know that the turkey is a jungle bird, so it seemed logical to keep the trees and let the birds have some fun,â€ said Childerhouse. â€œEvery one of the 15 or so Christmas flocks that we have had over the years has responded magnificently.”
However, Childerhouse does admit that forest flocks do not taste any better.