91 Thanksgiving Turkey Stats (Surveys, Historical, Current, and More!)

Does everyone really eat turkey for Thanksgiving? When was the turkey first consumed as thanksgiving food? If you’re looking for answers to these questions, you’ve come to the right place! 

In this TheGrillingDad.com guide, you will discover:

  • Stats and facts about turkeys
  • Interesting Thanksgiving stats
  • And more fun facts to share around the table!

2022 Turkey Stats

The survey statistics are based off of our independent survey of 2,760 American residents. 

  • 83% of people plan to eat turkey on Thanksgiving
    • This is down from 88% last year (that’s a 5.7% decrease)
  • The average price of turkey per pound is $1.53
    • This is up 12.5% compared to last year’s price of $1.36 per pound
  • 74% of people prefer to have a second protein on the table
    • 65% also want ham
    • 28% also want chicken
    • 7% also wanted either roast beef or steak
  • 62% of people said mashed potatoes were their favorite side, which made it the most popular
2022 Thanksgiving Survey Statistics

Fun Turkey Day Facts

  • The plastic piece holding the turkey legs together is called a “hock lock
  • Leftover turkey usually lasts 1-4 days in the fridge
  • Spatchcocking” is when you remove the backbone from the bird, allowing it to lay flat and cook more evenly.
  • The average American consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day
  • A turkey gobble can be heard from 1 mile away

Thanksgiving History Facts

Thanksgiving has been around for almost as long as the United States has been a country. Below are some of the facts about the early days of this holiday. 

  • Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the official United States Bird
  • Turkeys are native to the eastern United States and northern Mexico
  • Turkey was brought to Europe in the 16th century. 
  • The first English King to enjoy Turkey was King Henry VIII
  • Turkey became a popular Christmas dish thanks to Edward VII
  • The tradition of the President pardoning the turkey started in 1963 with president Kennedy 
  • Native Americans ate turkey as part of their diet. The feathers were also used to adorn dresses and stabilize arrowheads. 
  • Native Americans have been eating Turkey since 1000 AD
  • Thanksgiving became a public holiday in 1862.
  • Thanksgiving commemorates a feast that occurred in 1621 between English settlers and Wampanoag tribesmen. 
  • At the “first” thanksgiving, there were 50 English settlers, only 5 of which were women.
  • Abraham Lincoln is the president that decided to put Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of every November. 
  • Canadians have their own version of Thanksgiving, which became a national holiday in 1879.
  • After Christmas, Thanksgiving is the favorite Holiday of American adults. 
  • On the first Thanksgiving, there was no turkey, rather, deer, cornbread, seafood, porridge, and wildfowl were served. 
  • The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been around since 1924, but the famous balloons didn’t enter the parade until 1927. 
  • The tradition of watching football on Thanksgiving actually started in 1876, right after the sport was first invented. The first professional Thanksgiving Day football game happened in 1920. 
  • The longest-held race in North America, run every year since 1896 (yes, even during the pandemic), is the Turkey Trot in Buffalo, New York
  • Orlando, Florida is the number one destination for Thanksgiving. 
  • The first Thanksgiving was only eaten with spoons and knives as forks weren’t invented until 10 years later. 
  • Cranberries, a popular Thanksgiving side dish, are native to North America. 
  • The tradition of breaking the wishbone (although not on Thanksgiving, obviously) has been around since the ancient Etruscans in 900BC. 
  • Jingle Bells, a common Christmas Carol, was actually written for Thanksgiving day. 
  • Thanksgiving leftovers are what inspired the first TV dinner in 1953. 
  • Sara Josepha Hale, the woman who wrote the song “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” was the one who convinced Abraham Lincoln to make it a holiday. 

Eating Turkey Stats

Everyone knows that the bird on your table is the star of the holiday. Here are some interesting facts about turkey you might like to share with friends and family this year!

  • The average American eats 16 lbs of turkey per year
  • During Thanksgiving, 46 million turkeys are consumed (followed closely by Christmas with 22 million turkeys consumed).
  • As a whole, the United States ate 736 million pounds of turkey in 2011
  • Since 1970, turkey consumption has increased by 104%.
  • Luckily, production has kept up, and it has increased 110% since 1970. 
  • The turkey industry employs 20-25 thousand people in the US alone. 
  • Although lots of turkey is eaten during Thanksgiving, Americans actually eat more during the rest of the year. 
  • Americans put turkey as their #4 choice for protein. 
  • Female turkeys are sold as birds, while male turkeys are usually processed to make other cuts of turkey, like deli meat.
  • The US exports about 6% of the turkeys it produces. 
  • The average Thanksgiving turkey weight is 15lbs.
  • Most turkeys are 70% white meat and 30% dark meat. 
  • Canadians also eat a lot of turkeys and consumed 142 million kg in 2012.
  • Approximately one turkey is made per person in the USA each year.
  • Most turkeys are produced in Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia, Indiana, California, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. 
  • In the UK, Turkey is a major Christmas tradition.
  • Despite common belief, turkey has more protein than chicken or beef and is not what makes you sleepy at Thanksgiving. It’s actually the carbs on the table which make you tired. 
  • Turkey Giblets are made of the turkey heart, liver, and gizzard. 
  • On Thanksgiving day, the average American consumes 4,500 calories 
turkeys in the wild

Facts About Turkeys

Do you love turkeys? Besides just being tasty, these animals can be fun to look at and watch. Here are some facts about turkeys before they make it to your table. 

  • The biggest turkey ever raised was 85lbs
  • Male turkeys are called toms
  • Female turkeys are called hens
  • Male turkeys have a “beard” which is comprised of black feathers on their chest. 
  • Turkeys have amazing eyesight and can see movement 100 yards away.
  • Turkeys have been on this earth for 10 million years. 
  • Baby turkeys are tan and brown and are called poults.
  • Child-age turkeys (16 weeks) are called Fryers
  • Teenage turkeys (5-7 months) are called young roasters
  • Once a turkey is one year old, it is called a yearling
  • Turkeys are considered mature once they reach 15 months of age. 
  • Turkey eggs are larger than chicken eggs and are typically tan with brown spots.
  • In order to grow a 30lb turkey, you will need 75-80 pounds of feed.
  • Only male turkeys gobble.
  • Turkeys gobble so loud they can be heard a mile away.
  • Turkeys take short and jerky steps, which inspired the ballroom dance of the turkey trot
  • Turkeys don’t have ears, but they still have good hearing. 
  • Turkeys see in color.
  • Turkeys have terrible night vision
  • Turkeys born in captivity cannot fly. 
  • Turkeys born in the wild prefer to sleep in trees at night, which is odd because turkeys have terrible night vision. 
  • Wild turkeys live in every state of the US except for Alaska. 
  • Wild turkeys can fly, but only for short distances.
  • Current breeding tactics cause turkeys to have such large breasts they fall over.
  • There are about 8,284 turkey farms in the US.
  • A mature turkey has 3,500 feathers.
  • Modern turkeys have been bred to have white feathers so the skin will be spotless and look nicer for buyers. 
  • Turkey feathers, after the turkeys are processed, are turned into compost. 
  • Turkey skins can be tanned to make items like belts. 
  • The pink-red fleshy growth on a turkey’s head and upper neck are called a caruncle. 
  • The other fleshy growth that hangs over the beak is called the snood.
  • The red fleshy growth under a turkeys throat is named the wattle
  • It takes 28 days for turkeys to hatch.

Final Thoughts on Turkey Stats

As you can see, there is a ton to learn about the Thanksgiving Holiday! Hopefully, you’ve learned something new that you will be proud to share around the table this year.

Photo of author

Hope Davis

Born in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, I learned at a young age that the grill was one of the best ways to prepare food for a crowd. And during the winter storm months, when the snow was likely to knock out the power to our house, the propane grill was a lifesaver! You wouldn’t believe the number of things you can cook on a grill when necessary. With parents who couldn’t tell salt from pepper unless you told them, I spent my late teen years making my own seasoning mixes and marinades to dress the meat before barbecues. It wasn’t long before I developed a secret marinade that people still beg me to make for them today! When I was 21 years old I bought my first smoker. Picked up some cedar chips for making a cedar plank salmon...and well, the rest they say is history! I’ve been grilling and smoking all kinds of creations ever since and I’m always excited to share my passion with others through my favorite medium--writing!

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