The time for Americans to clean out some fridge space before Thanksgiving may have come a little early this year. Butterball, the U.S.’s top maker of Thanksgiving turkeys, is having some problems delivering the bigger birds to stores around the country. The company told retailers that their orders for fresh turkeys 16 pounds and bigger have been cut by 50%. Butterball, which produces around 20% of the country's turkeys and 1.3 billion pounds of turkey meat a year, has confirmed in a emailed statement that “there may be limited availability on some larger sizes of fresh turkeys” and that the shortage is nationwide.

... This is a big worry because 16 pounds is the average weight of turkeys eaten at Thanksgiving. According to Butterball’s handy calculator, a 16-pound turkey would feed a dinner party of six adults and six children.

Mind you, that doesn’t mean there’ll be no big turkeys to be had. It’s only fresh turkeys from Butterball that are affected; the company sells frozen ones too, and there are several other manufacturers who will be only too delighted to fill the gap.