Bird flu has made the three-egg omelette a luxury item in parts of America, but the other fowl bearing the brunt of the highly pathogenic virus’s outbreak is the poor turkey, whose flocks have been culled by 7.8 million so far. The USDA is now recognizing that this could have bad consequences in, say, five months, when a certain holiday occurs on the third Thursday of November.
The federal agency’s latest monthly hatchery report is a bit ominous: Reuters notes that it reports a “significant decline” in the May count for baby turkeys, or poults. That number (22.3 million) is 8 percent lower than it was last May. Turkeys born in May or June will be the right age for slaughter in time for Thanksgiving, so these two months are critical. Analysts can’t agree on just how bad the news is, but at least one expert tells Reuters that it’s clear that, at the very least, “big, whole birds for Thanksgiving are going to be extremely hard to come by.” Looks like it could finally be Tofurkey’s year.