Turkeys Will Be Hard to Find & Very Expensive This Holiday Season

Bird flu is wiping out supplies of turkeys and eggs in the United States.

Another year, another bout of bird-related worries. This year, turkeys will yet again be more expensive due to a bird flu that is making its way across the country. Avian influenza is taking out entire flocks, causing the supply to be at its lowest point going into the winter season since 2006, according to Bloomberg.

The surge of the flu has led to the price of turkey hens rising 30% higher than last year and 80% higher than before the pandemic, and it appears unlikely that will change before the holidays. "There’s nothing appearing on the horizon to suggest anything new is going to surface to help ease the supply-side pain for Thanksgiving turkeys," Russ Whitman, senior vice president at commodity researcher Urner Barry, told Bloomberg.

The current flu outbreak has led to the death of 45 million birds and that figure is likely to increase as birds begin migrating for the winter. Normally, hot summer weather causes the flu to die off for the year, but instead, the illness has returned with a vengeance. It is a troubling sign, and some poultry experts posit that the bird flu could become endemic like it is in Europe.

This year's outbreak has already surpassed the record setting outbreak from 2015, and it cost the industry $3.3 billion to recover.

Hopefully, there will still be holiday sales on turkeys. But be prepared to pay extra—turkey hens cost $1.82 per pound the week of September 26 compared to the $1.42 per pound it cost this time last year.

Maybe consider serving tofurkey this year.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.