Here's where turkeys pardoned by the President will find a permanent place to nest

Posted at 12:27 PM, Nov 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-23 13:27:27-05

Originally Published: 23 NOV 19 08:43 ET
Updated: 23 NOV 19 12:59 ET

    (CNN) -- Don't worry too much about the two national turkeys chosen for presidential pardons this year.

Not only is their salvation secured, but so's their retirement home.

For the fourth straight year, the special pair will flock from the White House to enjoy their golden years at -- wait for it -- Gobblers Rest at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg.

"Virginia Tech has a long tradition of supporting the turkey industry through research and outreach, so it's fitting that the Presidential Turkeys becoming part of the Hokie Nation is a new tradition," said Rami Dalloul, a professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, in a statement. Dalloul is a poultry immunologist who sequenced the turkey genome.

The National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate will join Peas and Carrots, last year's pardoned birds. Earlier lucky cluckers Wishbone and Drumstick, plus Tater and Tot, died at Gobblers Rest of natural causes.

The school says the two birds are chosen based on appearance and temperament, then sent to a hotel near the White House for media events. One will be plucked for the Rose Garden ceremony sometime next week, while the other will serve as its wingman.

The tradition goes back to 1947, when President Harry Truman "pardoned" the first holiday bird.


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