SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -

Turkeys are flying off the shelves of local grocery stores and not all types can be restocked once they sell out.

Major retailer Butterball informed grocery stores all over the United States they'll be distributing about 50 percent fewer fresh turkeys this year.

"That's unusual. I can't say that I've ever heard of a turkey shortage before," says Harter House shopper Hannah Peck.

The company says it's because some of the turkeys on its farms didn't gain enough weight this year. This will mainly impact birds 16 pounds and bigger, which according to the Butterball website is the size needed for feeding parties of eight or more.

The shortage only applies to butterball fresh turkeys. If you're buying frozen you should have no problem getting your hands on a bigger bird this year. Local growers say whichever type of bird you choose, order soon because the demand far outweighs the supply this year.

"We are doing really well. We actually sold out a week ago. Sometimes we sell out a few weeks before Thanksgiving. We were nervous because we doubled our production this year," says farmer and businessman Armand Bechard.

At Bechard Family Farms they're experiencing a greater demand because of both national and local growing woes.

"I've talked to some of the other producers that sell turkeys and some of them didn't raise turkeys this year at all. Some of them have had problems [with predators also]. Ours are in enclosed pens that we move everyday to new ground so they're fairly protected from predators," says Bechard.

But shoppers say the limited availability of certain types of turkeys won't put a damper on their plans for the big day.

"My mother bought the turkey months ago but I did hear that on the news so maybe that's why she bought it so early, said Harter House shopper Scott VanGelder.

Planning ahead is key on one of the Nations biggest food holidays.

"When they're gone, they're gone so if you didn't get one this year and want one next year, we start taking orders in February so call early. Everyone all of a sudden wakes up 2 weeks before thanksgiving and thinks about ordering a turkey  and this year some people lost out because of it," says Bechard.

 Again, this limited supply just applies ONLY to Butterball brand fresh turkeys. There are still plenty of frozen* birds available.
   
What are your plans for Thanksgiving meal? Share that and your thoughts on how the turkey shortage might impact you and your family on the KY3 facebook page.