Nov 19, 2013 2:13 PM by Nathan O'Neal
TUCSON - The country's largest producer of turkeys is warning of a shortage of large birds leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Butterball announced that it will be shipping out half as many large, fresh turkeys to retailers this year. One major problem, the company reports, is that many birds had trouble gaining weight this year.
Food distributors have seen their turkey orders for birds 16 pounds and larger have been slashed virtually in half.
Butterball released the following statement:
"Butterball and its retail partners have ample supply of frozen whole turkeys of all sizes - small, medium or large. While there may be limited availability on some larger sizes of fresh turkeys, Butterball has shipped 100 percent of customer orders of frozen whole turkeys and products are in distribution across the country. We experienced a decline in weight gains on some of our farms causing a limited availability of large, fresh turkeys. While we are continuing to evaluate all potential causes, we are working to remedy the issue. We sincerely regret the inconvenience that some of our customers have experienced as a result of this issue.
Butterball produces 41 million turkeys each year. Nearly 1 out of every 4 turkeys consumed on Thanksgiving is a Butterball bird.
Other brands have not reported any production problems. Your best bet if you want a big Butterball bird is to get a head start and purchase your turkey early, just to be safe.
Butterball expects to have its production of large turkeys back on track in time for the Christmas holiday.