Chat, football and a bed in the shed: how to rear a tasty turkey
Football and conversation are among the creative methods used by Irish farmers to ensure a healthy, happy turkey.
Far removed from the industrial turkey producers, these family businesses are dedicated to raising the best-tasting birds from the moment they hatch.
Robert Fitzsimons (43), from East Ferry farm in Midleton, Co Cork, is a sixth-generation farmer. The father of four, married to Yvonne, said: "We love turkeys, we grew up with them. My grandmother used to hatch chicks with incubators and we try to treat them the same as we treat humans, with respect.
"We give them footballs and bales of hay to play with in the yard. I'm sad when I see the turkeys go but we know we've done the best we can while they're here. And we know the turkeys will be a great Christmas dinner for families, so that makes it all worthwhile."
He added that his 950 free-range turkeys this year got very used to human company.
"They get accustomed to being fed and recognise people's voices, they get friendly with us."
Meanwhile, David McEvoy (48) spent the early summer weeks sleeping in a shed beside his turkey chicks to ensure they not only survived but thrived. "I have a bed out in the shed for when they are born because they're so fragile," he said.
He owns Termonfeckin Delicious, a company run from Highfield Farm, Termonfeckin, Co Louth.