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Thanksgiving Turkey Facts and Figures

Updated on November 4, 2016

The turkey has long been a traditional Thanksgiving feast and there is something about it that makes a Thanksgiving meal without it feel somewhat incomplete. So, for now, let’s set aside the yams and the green bean casserole and put the stuffing and the yeast rolls on the back burner for a bit and focus on the main star of the meal; the lovable turkey.


Why the Turkey?

The origin of using the turkey as the main part of the Thanksgiving meal is hard to put a finger on. Originally, the Thanksgiving feast didn’t involve that much tradition. Our ancestors may have chosen any source of meat; fish, turkey, chicken or even pork; as the main course. Legend does say, however, that Queen Elizabeth ordered a roast goose as a celebratory meal after she learned of the sinking of the Spanish Armada while it was on its way to attack England.

This did become somewhat of a tradition in England following this occurrence and the idea was carried over to the America’s. Eventually the Goose was replaced by the turkey and we’ve never looked back. Although the story focused around the Christmas season, Charles Dickens’s The Christmas Carol cemented the bird’s place in the celebratory meal idea when one was given as a gift at the end of the story.

Turkeys are a great option because they are fairly inexpensive compared to other animals and they really serve no purpose other than to be eaten. For example, they don’t lay eggs, like chickens, that we eat, nor do they produce milk like cows. It appears that they were created for one thing and one thing alone; a yummy dinner for all of us carnivores.


That’s a lot of Turkeys!

It is estimated that Americans consume 45 million turkeys every Thanksgiving. One of the best things about them is they are large and juicy (and delicious, of course). They are perfect for large families and they are easy to find when the time is right. Most likely, unless you wait until the last moment, you will be able to find a wide variety of the flightless birds at your local supermarket.

However, not all turkeys make it onto dinner plates every year. In fact, since 1989 one turkey has been presented with a Presidential pardon in the United States and is allowed to live out the rest of its life rather than being made part of a meal. There is even a special ceremony to present the lucky turkey to the nation called The National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation

Celebrating the Turkey

Although, it is most often the star of the Thanksgiving feast, the turkey can actually be eaten any time of the year. It is a great option for those looking for something healthier than most other meats and can make for some interesting recipe, which do not include roasting it whole.

As versatile as it is, many people still only consume it annually. However, there are people who wish to change that and the month of June has now been set aside for National Turkey Lover’s Month. This is to show to people that there are tons of ways to enjoy turkey outside of the traditional Thanksgiving Holiday.

More Turkey Facts

Fun Turkey Facts

One reason that turkeys are popular during the fall season, scientifically speaking, is their development process. Turkeys are born during the spring and a typical maturity rate for the breed is nine months. This means that they are perfectly matured and healthy just in time for the fall. By the time they are fully matured, turkeys can weigh in at nearly ten pounds!

Turkeys are truly amazing creatures. As before mentioned they really have very little value other than for food and we are uncertain as to when they became a popular item. Ben Franklin, in fact, loved the bird so much that he attempted to make them the national bird, saying they were far more respectable than a Bald Eagle. Luckily, others did not agree with him and we are able to enjoy them during the Thanksgiving season.

There is also an interesting fact regarding turkeys and their tolerance for noise. The breed is very skittish and is prone to having heart attacks if they are scared by loud noises. In many instances where a farm is near an airfield, entire flocks of turkeys have been killed by heart attacks when a jet flying fast enough to break the sound barrier flies close by.

I don’t know about you, but I am now fully ready to enjoy some turkey this Thanksgiving season. With the many recipes that are available for the delicious bird, it’s no wonder that we love them all so much. Plus, they make great sandwiches the next day!

Turkeys are a great part of tradition and one that many people look forward to each year. If you are planning a Thanksgiving dinner, you almost have to include a turkey as the centerpiece. However, some families are beginning to turn away from this tradition and opting for other alternatives as well. However, regardless of your background, it is probably safe to say that you have probably spent at least one Thanksgiving meal where a huge turkey sat in the middle of the table waiting for all to enjoy


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