Our cockerels are becoming more and more popular every year, and let me tell you this is not any old chicken!
Our Christmas cockerels are allowed to grow slowly, at a pace that is natural to them. They have a life span of 100 days compared to the average supermarket chicken, which is reared to 42 days. This gives massive enhancements to the complexity of the flavour whilst leaving the meat tender and fresh.
Slow rearing allows the birds to lay down fat adding to the flavour and succulence when cooking, and when ready to eat, has a concentrated flavour that tastes as chicken should – or would have originally tasted in days gone by.
As with all our poultry, our cockerels are raised from day old chicks and are immediately put into small groups under heat lamps and within a predator-proof enclosure to ensure safety, warmth and to maximise early, stress-free growth.
We rear our cockerels in large open barns with natural ventilation and light. They have extensive space and room to roam, and are regularly bedded down with fresh chips and straw. They are fed on a natural cereal-based diet with no artificial additives or growth stimulants being added to their feed. We also give them treats of peanuts, scattered on the ground to stimulate natural behaviors and enhance quality of life, movement and therefore flavour.
Our resulting cockerels are available from 2–6kg, with a few reaching a whopping 7–8kg.
As with all our poultry, our ducks are raised from day-old duckings and are immediately put into small groups under heat lamps and within a predator-proof enclosure to ensure safety, warmth and to maximise early, stress-free growth.
When fully feathered they are allowed free access to fields surrounding the farmyard. Each night we are careful to make sure all the birds are shut up to protect them from foxes.
Our ducks are a cross Pekin with Aylesbury Duck. The Pekin Duck is most famous for appearing on Chinese food menus around the world; however most of the meat produced in the UK is in fact from this hybrid cross with Aylesbury ducks. We choose these birds because they produce a high quality, tender meat.
These birds are a delightful sight around the farm with their bright orange bill and legs and cream feathers and their upright carriage reminds us almost of a penguin. Our ducks roam freely on grass meadows surrounding the farm, enjoying a natural environment. They are fed on wheat and a specially-prepared ration which enables them to mature slowly.
We use turkey breeds that are slow-maturing to produce superior-tasting meat with a fantastic flavour. We allow our turkeys to reach full maturity so they remain succulently tender and moist when roasted. We provide exceptional standards of animal welfare to ensure our turkeys are reared in healthy, happy and stress-free environment.
We currently use 3 breeds of white turkeys: Wirral White, Wirral Supreme, and Hockenhull White.
All our turkeys are slow-maturing, which is the secret to their succulent meat and fantastic flavour. Our turkey poults spend their first few weeks of life under heat lamps and within a predator-proof enclosure to ensure safety, warmth and to maximise early, stress-free growth.
As they grow they are gradually acclimatised to more open spaces and a cooler climate. When they are older and strong enough to cope with their new environments, they are introduced to the rest of the inhabitants of Ash Farm and the luscious pasture and open spaces.
Our ‘Free Range Turkeys’ roam on lush grass during the day and are safely tucked up in their barns at night to protect them from any predators. Whilst outside they behave naturally, foraging for food and using sand baths to keep their feathers dry and clean.
At Christmas we sell only female (hen) turkeys. Hen turkeys have a finer grain in the meat, making them tender. They also carry more meat on the breast which means customers get more meat per lb/kilo… so great value!
All our birds are prepared on the farm, therefore negating any travel, stress and in turn loss of flavour. All of the above go to ensure that full traceability and the highest welfare standards are maintained throughout.