Thomas and Kitty Doyle on their farm in Kenagh
Kitty Doyle and her son Thomas began a joint business venture together over twenty years ago, which sees them rearing a number of ‘farm fresh, oven ready’ Christmas turkeys under the prefix Doyle’s turkeys.
Kitty and Thomas rear approximately 400 turkeys each and every year, both bronze and white types. They are then offered for sale to people in the locality and have become quite the popular Christmas treat for Longfordians.
Thomas said, “We started with turkeys about 20-25 years, in a very small way.
“It then began to grow and get bigger and bigger.”
Despite entering into a difficult and competitive market, with retailers offering discounted poultry to consumers, Kitty and Thomas have retained quite a number of regular repeat customers down through the years.
“We know of three farmers who stopped producing turkeys this year." Thomas said.
“Supermarkets are offering promotions on turkeys, half price and quarter price turkeys, which is putting more pressure on farm producers like us, so it is hard to compete.”
Continuing Thomas noted, “We have regular, repeat customers. There are many people that order from us every year.
“We cover a very wide area. People often travel far and wide to come especially for our turkeys.”
The pair not only rear turkeys, but also geese, ducks and table chickens, all of which can be purchased directly from their farm. What is unique about their production process is that all birds are tested for Salmonella.
Thomas said, "All turkeys are killed, plucked and made oven ready in a registered plant.
“We have mini whites, ordinary whites, bronze and plump bronze turkeys.”
For the farmers, preparations begin back in July. All birds are purchased at five weeks old. They are then housed at night and allowed to roam the fields during the day.
This, Thomas says, has made for a happier and more confident flock, which he says reflects in the quality of the meat produced and killing out weights.
He said, “They are let out every day and run off down the field.
“They eat grass, nettles and everything else.
“When they go in at night time, they eat their meal and all lie down then together afterwards.”
For anyone looking to add a Doyle turkey to their Christmas celebrations this year, there are still a number available. However, you must be quick as once they are gone, they are gone!
Thomas said, “I would like to compliment everyone that comes for a turkey from us, especially when they are reared the way we rear them.
“I would also like to remember all of our customers that passed away during the year as well.” Thomas continued.
For further information on Doyle's turkeys or to order yourself a Christmas turkey described by the department as ‘better than organic’, then contact Kitty and Thomas on 043-3322696 or on 086-6072946.