Virginia Tech, home of the “HokieBird” will be the new home for the National Thanksgiving Turkey and alternate. The turkeys will be cared for by veterinarians and students of Virginia Tech’s Animal and Poultry Sciences Department at “Gobbler's Rest” within a newly built enclosure located inside the Livestock Judging Pavilion on campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.
The turkeys’ presence will help further promote the connections of modern animal agriculture, the important role our land-grant research universities play in developing techniques to help feed a hungry world, the historic observance of the traditions of Thanksgiving and the continuing importance of agriculture in our nation’s economy.
The historic connection with Virginia Tech and the National Turkey Federation also has an unexpected beginning.
Virginia Tech's Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine are recognized for their innovative studies. Poultry Immunologist Rami Dalloul sequenced the turkey genome, opening the door to new levels to understanding their genetics. Virginia Tech alumnus Bob Evans, doctor of veterinary medicine, cared for the 2012 National Thanksgiving Turkey and participated in that year's presentation of "Cobbler" to President Obama.