Sunday, September 20, 2015

Will there be a Thanksgiving turkey shortage?

The avian flu outbreak is creating a shortage of turkey-breast meat this fall, since thousands of turkeys were depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. 

Now the big question is, "Will there be enough Thanksgiving turkeys this year?". 

The basic answer is yes, but they might be smaller.

photo credit: Turkey via photopin (license)
If you're looking for a turkey in the grocery store now, there will probably be fewer and they'll be more expensive. My sources tell me that the big producers will be processing the young toms earlier than usual, making room for another crop of toms only. You probably won't see the 25-30lb turkeys in the store, but you will see 12-15lb birds. 

This has no effect on the backyard birds. If anything there are more backyard turkeys since people thought there might be a problem. This is also the right time to line up a locally-raised turkey if you'd like to go that route. 
Click here for hints on finding a farm-raised bird.

It's interesting to note that chickens aren't as affected by avian flu depopulation as turkeys. Chickens are ready for the table in six weeks, where turkeys are ready in 24 weeks.

As always, ask further questions in the comment section.

--Dale, aka Turkeyman