Poultry (Chickens, Turkeys...) in Virginia

The turkeys raised in Virginia are descendants of birds that were native to Mexico. They were domesticated there 2000 years ago, perhaps for ceremonies and rituals as well as for food.1

Between 2016-2019, the turkeys "pardoned" at he White House by the president at a Thanksgiving ritual were sent to Gobblers Rest at Virginia Tech. THey completed their natural lives there, rather than ended up as the centerpiece for a big holiday meal. In 2020, however, the two turkeys (Corn and Cob) were sent to Iowa State University. The president of the National Turkey Federation had raised them, and he was an Iowa farmer.2



1. Aurelie Manin, Eduardo Corona-M, Michelle Alexander, Abigail Craig, Erin Kennedy Thornton, Dongya Y. Yang, Michael Richards, Camilla F. Speller, "Diversity of management strategies in Mesoamerican turkeys: archaeological, isotopic and genetic evidence," Royal Society Open Science, January 17, 2018, http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.171613
2. "Lame duck's pardoned turkeys will not be Hokie-bound," Danville Register & Bee, November 27, 2020, https://godanriver.com/news/state-and-regional/lame-ducks-pardoned-turkeys-will-not-be-hokie-bound/article_2e82acd7-d3bd-5304-b682-a97f3944b65b.html (last checked November 27, 2020)

Virginia Agriculture
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