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Turkey production suffers ahead of Thanksgiving because of avian flu

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Posted at 8:14 PM, Nov 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-14 23:15:15-05

Turkey farmers say avian flu, or bird flu, has taken a major hit on the industry in the months and weeks in the run up to the Thanksgiving holiday when demand soars.

Farmers in Idaho say there won't be enough turkeys to satisfy demand in their area this year.

WWNYTV reported earlier this month that there were about half the turkeys on average at farms because of bird flu affected the birds.

Cathy Cabalo, of Cabalo Orchard and Gardens, said, “We started off the year as normal with 600 birds. They had not even left the rooting barn, but the bird flu came into the area.”

Workers has to quarantine birds inside for an additional six to eight weeks after an outbreak.

“We locked them inside, 600 turkeys, the bread and butter to the season. We didn’t dare let them outside,” Cabalo said.

“It’s their natural behavior to cuddle very closely, and when they huddle closely they create a pile and unfortunately when they are small they will suffocate,” Cabalo said. “We lost almost half of our birds to a piling incident in the barn because they couldn’t go outside.”

13 KRCG reported that Turkey prices are already up because of inflation.

Thomas Bennett of Bennett Farms in Michigan said the bird flu that spread in the spring started the shortage issue that's being seen now.

"If I had 300 more turkeys right now, I could sell them. I just don't have them," said Bennett. "I joke with my costumers because they'll email me, 'Do you have a turkey hidden somewhere?' It's like no, I don't even know if I'm getting a turkey."

The issue is also affecting chicken farmers as well, the Associated Press reported.

State and federal officials hope the issue won't be as widespread as it was during a 2015 outbreak that killed around 50 million chickens and turkeys and causing prices to soar.