Turkey shortage could hit Thanksgiving tables

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(NewsNation) — Shoppers might want to consider a Thanksgiving ham this year as outbreaks of bird flu are causing a shortage of large turkeys.

The government is warning that bigger birds might be in short supply in some regions after bird flu outbreaks have killed millions of turkeys.

The lack of fowl can also be attributed to a decline in turkey production that began after 2019, when turkey prices hit an all-time low. The COVID-19 pandemic also contributed to a decrease in the number of turkeys being raised.

Substituting chicken might not be an option, since all poultry production has been hit by the outbreak.

Officials said shoppers will likely be able to find turkeys in stores, but they might not be as big as people are used to since many of the birds now being raised won’t have enough time to grow to 20 pounds.

People are also likely to find themselves paying more for their Thanksgiving feast.

Turkey prices are up, with the United States Department of Agriculture reporting prices of up to $1.99 a pound for whole birds at the end of October.

It’s not just turkey that is costing more, either.

Those who opt for seafood may struggle as Alaskan crab season was canceled this year and California has delayed the start of their crab season, while East Coast states are reporting low numbers of the crustaceans.

Butter costs have also risen more than 25 percent over the past year. The labor shortage and supply chain issues caused by the war in Ukraine have hit dairy farmers, and as of September, shoppers could expect to pay $4.70 per pound.

Costs have also risen for flour, pre-made baked goods, canned fruits and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Experts suggest shopping local and not waiting until the last minute to avoid being stuck without their favorite dish this year.

People should also avoid panic buying, which could increase shortages.

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