The average German citizen eats approximately 18 kg of poultry per year. Only around one per cent of these 18 kg is produced organically. Just like for all other animals that are farmed organically, organic turkeys must have access to an outdoor run. It makes them hardier, strengthens their immune system and enables them to accumulate vitamin D.
Organic turkeys also enjoy some additional benefits:
The poultry house must receive natural daylight so the birds can live according to their natural circadian rhythm.
They have bedded scratching areas and perches or straw balls to encourage natural behaviour.
The stocking density is limited to 21 kg of live weight per m² of floor space (equivalent of approx. 2 hens). This reduces the stress on the birds and keeps them healthier.
Genetically modified feed, performance and growth stimulants and synthetic amino acids are all prohibited.
The turkeys’ feed is 100% organically grown, i.e. no artificial fertilisers or chemical pesticides are used.
If medicines are used to treat illness, the bird may only be slaughtered after twice the statutory waiting period.
Raising chicks up to the age of six weeks requires a great deal of experience and intuition, and is often only done by specialist establishments. Young turkeys are sent to fattening farms from their seventh week onwards, once they are more robust. After approximately 20 weeks, at a live weight of 10–11 kg, the birds are ready for slaughter.