By Iain Watts and Sophie Norris
A ‘turkey whisperer’ has revealed how she keeps the birds calm ahead of the Christmas slaughter – by performing musical concerts and singing lullabies to them.
Elin William, 25, joined Rhug Estate in Corwen, Wales, last year and noticed that over the festive season the poultry enjoyed listening to classical music as they roamed freely in the pastures.
But after learning of her musical talents, estate owner Lord Newborough suggested Elin play a guitar concert for his ‘very curious’ birds that are hand-reared annually ahead of Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Hilarious footage shows Elin in ‘concert’ at the farm of 1,000 Norfolk Bronze and Black turkeys as dozens gather around and gobble along to Hallelujah and Kylie’s I Just Can’t Get You Out of my Head.
Following such a positive response from the birds, Elin plans to continue the performances when the new chicks arrive next year.
Elin, originally from Anglesey, said: “Lord Newborough had the idea of me singing to them in the field. At first I thought he was joking but decided to give it a go and they loved it.
“Last year we experimented with playing the turkeys some classical music and they loved it. They’re very inquisitive animals and curious about a lot of things that go on at the farm.
“We try to induce as little stress as possible on the animals so Lord Newborough decided to continue with the music as part of this. It helps to keep them nice and calm.
“I was trying to stay away from Christmas songs so I sung them The Animals’ ‘House of the Rising Sun’ and a Welsh version of ‘Hallelujah’.
“We have become quite well-known for the music in the local area. It’s one of the things people always ask about when they visit and seems to spread through word-of-mouth.
“The turkeys are all so loud, you can’t not hear them. They’re very responsive to music.
“If they hear shouting and talking, visitors will be able to hear them gobbling away in the field.”
The staff at the Rhug farm are used to adopting experimental methods when rearing their animals and like to prove their turkeys are extraordinary.
Elin said: “Every night when they are put into the sheds they are actually herded with a sheep dog. Our sheepdogs are very sensitive and well-trained.
“It’s really quite a sight and they are completely compliant with the dog. They just don’t seem to mind at all.
“Even from a young age the turkeys are responsive to music and we often stick the radio on for them to drown out the loud noises of the farm, such as the tractors or other machinery.
“Currently we have over 1,000 turkeys, 300 geese, Aberdeen Angus cattle, wild bison and goats.
“The turkeys arrive as day-old chicks in June and then are hand-reared in the pastures until Christmas when they are supplied to mail order customers, local chefs, and restaurants all over the world.”