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10th Dec 2020
Keys Christmas poultry sale 2019 sm

A Christmas tradition now in its 68th year will go ahead this month despite the Covid pandemic – with special measures being taken to ensure the safety of those attending.

Hundreds of turkeys, geese, chickens and ducks from local producers will go under the hammer at Keys’ annual Christmas Poultry Sale in Aylsham on Monday 21st December.

The sale will this year take in a large, open-sided building at the firm’s Aylsham site, giving the advantages of lots of space, plenty of ventilation, and a roof to keep the rain off. 

The annual sale dates back to 1953, when Geoffrey Key held the first Christmas sale just months after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.  The auction has taken place at Keys’ Aylsham sale ground in every year of the Queen’s reign, and is traditionally the firm’s last sale of the year.

“This is a Christmas tradition we wanted to retain in this year of all years,” said Tim Blyth, director at Keys.  “With appropriate precautions, we can hold the sale in a way which keeps everybody safe.

“It is really nice to bring together local producers and local consumers, especially in these days when people want to know where their food has come from.  It remains very popular with farmers and producers, as well as those who come to bid.”

Traditionally the Keys Christmas Poultry Sale attracts hundreds of people – mostly private individuals there to buy the main attraction for their Christmas lunch.

The majority of the birds, which include Norfolk Black and Bronze turkeys, and free-range geese and ducks, have been raised by small-scale local farmers.

Keys started out in 1953 as a small livestock market selling mainly poultry, and by the end of the 1950s had become one of the largest of their type in the country.  A young Bernard Matthews purchased his first turkeys from the firm.

The Keys annual Christmas Poultry Sale takes place on Monday 21st December from 11am.  Viewing of the birds on offer starts at 9am on the morning of the sale.