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Is there a turkey shortage ahead of Thanksgiving?

Kind of, but it's not what you think.

TAMPA, Fla. — In recent weeks, "turkey shortage" searches have spiked on Google Trends.

But, one of the nation's most prominent consumer groups says don't panic, you'll be able to find a turkey for Thanksgiving.

So, where did this "shortage" question originate? According to Consumer Reports, it all came from an announcement back in July. 

That's when Shady Brooke Farms, a major turkey producer in the United States, revealed it was expecting to have limited supplies of small, fresh turkeys by this November.

And, the Department of Agriculture tells Consumer Reports that's consistent with what they're seeing in the industry: fresh turkey production will be about 1.4 percent lower than this time last year.

But, sounding the alarm and calling that drop a "turkey shortage" is an exaggeration, a USDA spokesperson explained to the nonprofit.

"You might have a harder time finding a fresh turkey smaller than 16 pounds because demand is up due to smaller holiday gatherings. (These little ones sold out first last year.) But frozen turkeys in all sizes will be in abundance," Consumer Reports writes.

In fact, frozen extra large turkeys will likely be easier to find, experts told the New York Post. But, those tend to be less popular because they can take days to correctly defrost.

Whichever turkey you find might not be cheap. 

Consumer Reports says supply chain troubles, labor and feed shortages, and rising packaging and transportation costs all mean you'll probably pay 10-15 percent more than you're used to. 

“Turkey is such a seasonal item, dominated by the Thanksgiving market,” David Anderson, a professor of agriculture economics at Texas A & M told the Post. “We can build up supplies with frozen turkeys for the Thanksgiving market, but fresh turkeys have a tighter schedule. The eggs have to hatch at a certain time.”

Bottom line: The smaller, fresh turkeys will likely be harder to find at grocery stores ahead of Thanksgiving. So, if you can go with a large, frozen turkey for your family, it might be your best bet.

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