President Biden pardoned Chocolate and Chip, this year’s National Thanksgiving Turkeys, on the South Lawn of the White House Monday. Chocolate and Chip will now retire to North Carolina State University to live out the rest of their natural lives.
Last year, the National Thanksgiving Turkeys, Peanut Butter and Jelly, were raised in Jasper, Indiana. They’re now enjoying retirement on a Purdue University farm in West Lafayette.
“Peanut Butter and Jelly have been excellent advocates for us here at Purdue and for the National Turkey Federation,” says Jason Fields, Purdue’s Poultry Unit Manager, who takes care of Peanut Butter and Jelly with the help of Purdue students.
Fields adds they’ve been quite busy the past year with visitors and events.
“We’ve brought them to campus a few times and they’ve been guests of honor at the ag alumni fish fry. And also, during the month of August they were on display at the State Fair.”
Fields shared with HAT what goes into taking care of Peanut Butter and Jelly.
“A lot of people don’t realize that a normal turkey span before they’re harvested is only about 18 weeks. So, they’re right now at a year and a half old. So, just keeping checks on their body condition, making sure they’re on the right type of maintenance diet so they don’t grow too big, and just keeping them comfortable and making sure that they’re going to have as much longevity as possible.”
And Fields says they probably have the nicest accommodations on the farm.
“They have an extra-large shed that we did air condition in the heat of the summer and now it’s heated as well. They also have about 2,000 square feet of open pasture area where we have some shade trees and areas to get sun as well.”
Other presidentially pardoned turkeys have lived to be 3 to 4 years old. Fields is hopeful they’ll be around at least that long if not longer.