Turkey Project Ends Chapter in Early Broiler Story

UK - Kelly Turkeys is to invest in new accommodation for its turkey breeding programme – and so replace two buildings where some of the first broiler chickens were reared in the UK almost 60 years ago.
calendar icon 17 October 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

The traditional turkey breeders have been using the buildings at Wyck Farm at Maldon in Essex, for housing pure line and grandparent stock for more than 40 years and are now planning to install state-of-the-art housing.

The original buildings – two wooden sheds totalling 12,000 square feet – were put up by John Ogier, one of the pioneers of broiler chickens in the UK, who used them to rear 10,000-bird flocks in the 1950s. It was he and Geoffrey Sykes who introduced from the United States the concept of broilers – chickens reared specifically for meat.

After John Ogier, a motor racing enthusiast, was killed in a road accident, Derek Kelly bought the farm and himself reared broilers there before becoming involved in turkeys and setting up Kelly Turkeys in 1971.

Mr Kelly said: "One of the first things I did was to replace the hot water heating system John Ogier was using to brood the chicks. Ironically, this is now the system that is being adopted in some of the latest broiler housing!"

Construction of the new 11,000-square foot housing will start in the new year, with the breeding stock due to move in during May. It will become one of Kelly Turkeys' three pure line and grandparent farms, with the others near Peterborough and near Ayr in Scotland.

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