Turkey producers will need to breed smaller birds this Christmas, the managing director of poultry supplier Farmgate Hatcheries has predicted.

Last Christmas there was a shortage of turkeys around the 4kg weight mark, said Paul Kelly. "There's every indication there will be another shortage, maybe a worse one, of the popular smaller sizes."

Producers should stock a range of weights to meet customer demand, he said.

Successful initiatives last year included Kelly Turkeys' demi Kellybronze, a 5kg turkey split into two to cater for smaller families.

Meanwhile the Traditional Farm Fresh Turkey Association is planning a campaign this year to promote its traditional production methods.

Members' slower-grown turkeys are dry plucked, usually by hand, then hung for at least a week, which producers claim gives the birds extra texture and flavour.