Is there a turkey shortage? What about the price? All of this is the talk of the barn.By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With only 17 days left before Thanksgiving, we need to talk turkey.

Is there a turkey shortage? What about the price? All of this is the talk of the barn.

“We are have suspended taking orders right now,” says Pounds Turkey Farm’s Beverly Pounds. “The estimations of Grade A turkeys to sell and orders are matching up really closely so it’s best to suspend and not oversell.”

For the folks at Pounds, the run on their turkeys comes from the closing of a turkey farm near Blairsville and some media reports that turkey was getting caught up in the supply chain issues.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Beverly’s take, “I don’t think so. According to USDA, there’s there are about 1.5% fewer fresh turkeys being processed this year. So that doesn’t sound to me like a huge shortage, and there should be plenty of frozen turkeys.”

The grocery stores agree, but that does not mean you will necessarily find the size you want. Early indications are nationwide birds under 20 pounds are going to be harder to find.

Pounds says they are bucking that trend. Among the 7,000 birds they’ll send to Thanksgiving tables, they have the 10-12 pound variety, and not as many over 22 pounds this year. Simply put, she says the birds didn’t eat as much. “It stayed so much warmer this fall longer. And they eat more when they’re chilly.”

Still, feed costs were up about 30% on the Pounds farm, along with higher packaging cost and higher labor costs. It’s a universal problem across the turkey farming industry so we’re all going to be paying more.

“We had a 40 cent a pound increase on our turkeys this year,” says Beverly Pounds.

The grocers are reporting 10 to 20 cents and more per pound increases over last year.

Bottom line: if you have a specific need – a specific size – shop early.

And Beverly Pounds says don’t forget that if you freeze your turkey, you will need a day of thawing in the refrigerator for every five pounds the bird weighs.

She says then add another day on that thawing schedule just to be safe.