Thanksgiving Turkeys Might Be in Seriously Short Supply This Year: Here’s Why

by Shelby Scott

Whether we like it or not, the summer season is slowly coming to a close. This means we are one step closer to cozy bonfire nights and apple picking. It also means we are slowly inching our way toward Thanksgiving. However, while it may seem unimportant now, Thanksgiving turkeys may be far and few in between this year. Read on to learn why.

There are multiple factors in the coming turkey shortage. The biggest factor is the labor shortage which came as a result of the pandemic. Big factory plants where consumers typically get their Thanksgiving birds from were short-staffed this season, like other industries and employers. Because of this, farmers and growers lacked the necessary hands to maintain birds under 16 pounds.

According to the New York Post, the shortage most likely pertains to birds under 16 pounds which are the most common sized and desired birds for consumers during the holidays. Additionally, larger birds (approximately 20 pounds or so) will be easier to come by. However, they are less desirable as they take more time and effort to prepare. The Post said properly defrosting a bird of such a size can take up to six days.

“We can build up supplies with frozen turkeys for the Thanksgiving market, but fresh turkeys have a tighter schedule,” explained David Anderson, an agriculture economics professor at Texas A & M University. “The eggs have to hatch at a certain time.” The article further explained why the larger-sized birds would be more readily available. And that’s because turkeys this year have grown more quickly than producers can get to them. Shortages in extra hands mean that the smaller-sized turkeys are growing above their desired size before handlers can prepare them.

How to Best Procure Your Own Thanksgiving Turkey:

While it’s a little late to procure your own Thanksgiving turkey by hand for the upcoming holiday, we thought it best to provide you a little insight should this be the circumstance next year. Despite that picking your turkey dinner up from the grocery store is by far the easiest method, the most meaningful and efficient way to make sure you have a good meal for Thanksgiving Day is to snag one yourself during turkey season.

This does mean you have to throw on the old camo get-up and head out into your favorite blind. Nevertheless, here are some of the best methods for procuring your own Thanksgiving dinner.

First of all, if you live up in the northeast as I do, turkey season is already long gone as that took place this past spring. However, next year when you go, remember to:

  1. Keep an eye open for abandoned feathers. They may point you in the direction of dinner.
  2. The age of a bird often directly correlates to the tenderness of its meat when harvested. So, pay attention, if you can, to the length of the bird’s spurrs. The longer the spur, the older the bird.
  3. You got to be quick. Running, turkeys can reach 25 miles per hour, while in the air, they can fly up to 55 miles per hour.

These few points are definitely worth highlighting, however, if you want to learn how to get the most out of your turkey hunt, head here.