Kelly Turkeys has this year trialled placing turkeys in vineyards to feed on fallen grapes, after the harvest in a bid to reduce food waste.
After the grapes are harvested in October, about 5% of the crop – around 500 kg/acre – is generally left on the ground. Paul Kelly, who pioneered the concept of rearing turkeys in woodland, saw the new vineyards being planted in East Anglia as a wonderful opportunity for his premium KellyBronze turkeys.
“I felt there was a terrible amount of produce now going to waste at the vineyards,” said Paul Kelly, managing director of Kelly Turkeys, of Danbury, Essex. “So I had the idea to let a flock of our turkeys run under the vines to consume the leftover grapes, and it worked – they literally gobbled them up!
“I’ve come to recognise that when the turkeys love a certain type food, it’s a very good sign. It goes a long way towards their overall well-being and, ultimately, the quality of the meat. This is already proven with the inclusion of certain oats in our turkey feed, which improves the fat and flavour of the birds.”
Grapes have high levels of potassium needed for bone strength and muscle development. They are also a good source of fibre for the turkeys along with vitamin C and vitamin B.