Christmas turkey shortage: Islanders face deadline for orders

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IT’S last orders for your Christmas turkey, according to a Jersey butcher, due to a shortage of the birds caused by avian flu.

Rob Stevenson, owner of the country butchers at Rondel’s Farm Shop, said 5pm tonight was the deadline his suppliers had given him for orders of his free-range turkeys.

That is ten days earlier than his usual cut-off date for Christmas, which has always been the first weekend in December.

Poultry farmers in the UK have reported being ‘absolutely hammered’ by bird flu outbreaks this year.

Mr Stevenson said: ‘We were told on Tuesday by [turkey farmer] Paul Kelly himself that we have until this evening to place our orders. We can’t take any orders after that. We’ve never known this before in the 16 years we’ve been butchers here.’

He added that orders were at their normal level for this time of year. ‘We’re on target at the moment. We’ve even taken calls from customers who are abroad on holiday making sure their order is in on time for Christmas. Everything is going to be fine as long as the boats are running.’

Mr Stevenson said 155 orders for Kelly Bronze free-range turkeys were already placed and a further 45 for Grove Smith turkeys. He added that he had also managed to source free-range turkey crowns from Italy to ensure that anyone missing the deadline can still have a traditional Christmas dinner.

The joint owner of Woodlands Farm Butchers, Avelino De jesus, said he was not worrying about the supply of turkeys yet and was still taking orders until the first weekend in December.

Mr De jesus said: ‘Some people are ordering earlier this year, but some don’t like the price of a turkey – it has increased by 20–28%, due to the cost-of-living crisis, the price of feed, plus avian flu.

‘But I’m not worrying at the moment. Our suppliers say it will be fine and I think it could be even busier than last year.’

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