Public invited to meet Presidential turkeys at Virginia Tech

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) - The Presidential turkeys are headed to roost at Virginia Tech.

WDBJ7 photo of previous Presidential turkey Peas

For the fourth year in a row, the birds pardoned by the President will travel to spend the rest of their years at Gobblers Rest.

“Virginia Tech has a long tradition of supporting the turkey industry through research and outreach, so it’s fitting that the Presidential Turkeys becoming part of the Hokie Nation is a new tradition,” said Rami Dalloul, a professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The turkey's arrival in Blacksburg follows a migration that starts under the supervision of National Turkey Federation Chairman Kerry Doughty, former president and CEO of Butterball LLC, and Butterball contract grower Wellie Jackson of North Carolina.

Virginia Tech says after two birds are chosen based on appearance and temperament, they head to Washington, D.C., where they stay at a hotel near the White House. One is chosen to take part in the Rose Garden ceremony to be pardoned, and the other is an alternate

The two birds will then join Peas and Carrots, the 2018 turkeys, at Gobblers Rest. The previous birds, Wishbone and Drumstick, and Tater and Tot, have died of natural causes.

The public can meet the 2019 birds December 1 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Livestock Judging Pavilion at 445 Plantation Road, Blacksburg, Virginia.

You can also follow the progression of the birds’ journey from the White House to Blacksburg on the College of Agriculture and Life Science’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages and post your own photos of the birds using the hashtag #PresidentialTurkey.

Poultry makes up the largest sector of Virginia’s agricultural picture with more $1.1 billion in annual cash receipts. The industry contributes more than $13 billion in economic activity in the Commonwealth, according to the Virginia Poultry Federation.

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