​Free Range or Organic? What’s the difference?

​Free Range or Organic? What’s the difference?

Published by The Turkey Team on 13th Nov 2019

Unlike some farms, at Copas Turkeys the level of husbandry and animal welfare will never differ between our organic and free range turkeys. Organic and free range birds will be given the same care and attention in exactly the same way. So, in a game of spot-the-difference, the differences come down to: Feed, Flock size, Land, Medication and Certification. Let us explain a little more:

  • Poults. There is not a ready supply of organic turkey poults in the UK so the poults are not from organic parents but from day zero they are on organic feed and converted to organic. They are also not beak trimmed. A process done humanely to prevent turkeys pecking and damaging each other. They can be right bullies at times.
  • Feed. The organic birds are fed organic feed from an organic food mill. To make the feed organic the ingredients (wheat and oats etc.) have been produced without any fertilisers, pesticides or chemicals. Generally, this means the crops do not yield as much as non-organic versions, so the ingredients and the feed are more expensive to produce. This can result in 30% higher prices per tonne of food.
  • Flock size. The maximum flock size of organic birds is 2500. This reduces competition to food and give the birds more space. For the same reason we keep all our flock sizes (including free range flocks) to the same standard, if not smaller.
  • Land. The organic birds roam on organic certified paddocks. No chemicals or pesticides are used on them and the cover crops planted for turkey range enrichment are from organic seeds. This is the same as our free-range birds although we would use non-organic seed for the cover crops. The organic birds will also have more area per bird in the paddocks with 12m² per bird vs 4m² for Free Range. We see 4m² as a minimum standard to be superseded.
  • Medication. Organic birds are not medicated unless it is in the best interest of the birds and prescribed by a vet. This is the same principle for all our birds.
  • Certification. All the organic birds are certified Organic by a governing body. We use Organic Farmers & Growers(OF&G https://ofgorganic.org/certification/organic-certification). As well as our other certifications by SALSA, Golden Turkey Association, Freedom Foods and Red Tractor.

People often ask if you can taste the difference. We'll leave you to be the judge of that. All our turkeys are available for Christmas from our shop https://www.copasturkeys.co.uk/our-shop/ or stockists all over the UK https://www.copasturkeys.co.uk/find-a-stockist/.