Free-range Happy Turkeys Something to Celebrate

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Look
a little nervous, don’t they? Who can blame them? Perhaps the least we
can do is make sure their short lives are enjoyable and stress-free…

Free-range
turkeys make up only a small percentage of the nation’s overall production
of nearly 270 million birds, according to the National Turkey
Federation, which had no figures on how many of the more than 6,000 turkey
farms are free-range.

"It’s a niche market, specifically producing turkeys for the Thanksgiving
holiday," said Sherrie Rosenblatt, the federation’s public relations
director. "Some consumers prefer to know that their turkey had the
ability to ‘roam free.’ "

Unlike their less fortunate brethren who spend their short lives crowded
in huge barns, Maine turkey farmer Bob Neal’s birds have plenty of room
to roam and socialize. The result, Neal said, is a happier turkey that
does
not
require
stress-reducing
antibiotics given to most birds in their feed.

Neal said the diet of premium feed he buys from Canada helps produce
a tastier, more tender turkey, one that can command a price three or
four times as high as the ones lining supermarket freezers. Neal sells
his whole turkeys for $2.25 a pound, a 20-cent increase; the stores
he
supplies charge even more.

from
the Maine Press-Herald

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