Archives for category: Presidential Turkey

Did you catch this terrific video piece from CNN about Minnesota’s Presidential turkeys?  Check it out!

And here’s a video piece from Politico:

Other media links:

Wall Street Journal          For Thanksgiving turkeys, presidential pardon takes practice


Time Magazine                 10 things you probably didn’t know about presidential turkey pardons                       President Obama pardons Thanksgiving turkeys,,20761491,00.html                      President Obama crowns victor of turkey ‘Hunger Games’

Photo gallery:


Washington Post             Popcorn the turkey wins presidential pardon, but Caramel also spared


New York Times               History of the Presidential Turkey Pardon


New York Daily News      Sibling of turkeys getting presidential pardon has a different fate, as food for the    needy at The Salvation Army


Associated Press              Obama pardons turkeys as part of annual White House rite


Pioneer Press                    This Minnesota turkey drew the short straw


Star Tribune                      So far, this Minnesota turkey is one lucky bird

* Includes Minnesota Turkey video footage, photos and a link to our micro-website


Star Tribune                      Minnesota turkeys win White House pardon


Star Tribune                      Minnesota continues grand tradition of not pardoning turkey                   Several blog posts


The Huffington Post       Obama pardons national Thanksgiving turkey


Dakota Student (UND)   Burkels to talk turkey at White House


India Times                        America’s biggest shopping weekend (turkey pardon mentioned)


Washington Times          Inside the Beltway – Obama Plan: Raise Money, Then Pardon Turkey                  What it takes to get a Presidential pardon


Canada Poultry                Standing proud                             Minnesota turkey goes up for presidential pardon


Staffer blog                         Recap of pardoning week

The Presidential Turkeys are Off to DC | via

Have you seen the photo we posted on Facebook earlier today? It’s the Presidential turkeys making their way to Washington DC in the back of their vehicle – looking very comfortable, we might add!

We just heard tonight – via the driver of the car – that the birds are loving Lady Gaga. Everytime they hear “Bad Romance” they gobble!

You can’t make this stuff up.

Obama Foodorama Blog on the National Thanksgiving Turkey 2013  | via

Check out this great post from the Obama Foodorama blog – it’s all about the Presidential turkey and the Burkel family from Minnesota – along with some historical tidbits about the National Thanksgiving Turkey ceremony, an annual tradition since 1947 when Harry S. Truman was president.


This week, we’re in the midst of several school visits in the Twin Cities. We brought two of the turkeys from the Presidential flock in Badger down to the Twin Cities last weekend and they are now making the rounds at several urban and suburban schools.

It’s great fun, as for the most part, these kids have never been this close to a live turkey before. We present information on turkey farming, Thanksgiving and the Presidential flock – and then give them a chance to meet the turkey in person. Plus, our newest staff member, Erica, grew up on a turkey farm so that brings the connection even closer.

Kids always ask the best questions – and they are always super curious about the snood (the fleshy piece of skin hanging off the turkey’s beak). As we’ve mentioned before, the snood on tom turkeys doesn’t serve much of a purpose except that hen turkeys think it’s pretty special. (And yes, the kids thinks that’s pretty funny!)

We dusted off the following video, which we used a couple of years ago for similar school visits – there are a couple of dates wrong, but the information is good and the format is fun for the kids.

Plus, we added this video, which introduces the Burkel family from Badger to the kids:

Enjoy a few of our photos from our school visits – it’s been a fun week!

Presidential Flock - School Visits in the Twin Cities | via

Presidential Flock - School Visits in the Twin Cities | via

Presidential Flock - School Visits in the Twin Cities | via

Presidential Flock - School Visits in the Twin Cities | via

Presidential Flock - School Visits in the Twin Cities | via

Presidential Flock - School Visits in the Twin Cities | via

Just in time for the weekend … check out this fun video of folks from Minnesota getting their gobble on!  Most are from Badger High School – filmed by Alex Burkel. If there was ever a turkey video worth sharing with your friends, this is it! :-)

Last week, two classes from Badger Elementary School visited the Presidential flock, learned more about raising turkeys and, in the process, helped acclimate the turkeys even further to lots of noise and commotion. The photos below are of the kindergarten and 5th grade classes.

John and Joni Burkel’s two youngest children, Emily and Jack are part of those classes, as well. Emily is a kindergartner and Jack is a 5th grader. Judging from these photos, it looks like everyone had a great time learning about turkeys!

Presidential Turkey Flock 2013 | Student Visits on the Farm - via




Jack handing out turkey toes

Presidential Turkey Flock 2013 | Student Visits on the Farm - via






Presidential Turkey Flock 2013 - from Minnesota | via

This post is purely for fun and entertainment! One of the Badger High School students was in the large turkey barn at the Burkel farm last week and found herself a friend – or dancing partner, perhaps!

We couldn’t resist creating this video – thanks, Kate, for giving us permission!

What would you name these 2013 Presidential Turkey Hopefuls? from MN | via

Have you heard? Female turkeys really dig the snood!

But what is the snood? And the wattle for that matter?

Check out this short video featuring Alex Burkel, whose family is raising the Presidential flock in Minnesota this year. Alex points out the wattle and the snood – no thanks to a photobombing turkey – and also explains that turkeys have about 3,500 feathers or so.

Turns out, a snood’s main function in life is to attract the girl turkeys (or “hens”) to the boy turkeys (or “toms”).

See it really is true – chicks dig the snood!


Team Presidential Turkey 2013: Meet the Burkel Kids | via

Hi, my name is Andrea Burkel. This year my family has been given the honor to raise the turkeys for the Thanksgiving Pardoning with the president, so I thought I’d start out by introducing everyone!

First I’ll talk a little about myself. I am currently 17 years old and a senior in Badger High School. I’m planning to attend college at UND (University of North Dakota) after I graduate. My interests include volleyball, golf, band, and choir.

My older sister, Vanessa, is 19 and currently attending college at UND. Alex, my 15 year old brother, is a sophomore at Badger. He loves playing his trumpet and is also involved in one act plays, basketball, and golf.

My other brother Jack is 10 and in fifth grade. Right now he’s hooked on the video games Minecraft and Call Of Duty: Black Ops II. He’s also learning to play trumpet and likes to play outside, jumping on the trampoline and playing in the tree house that he and Alex built in our backyard last summer.

Emily, the baby of the family, will be turning 6 in December. She’s in kindergarten this year. Emily loves to play dress up and often has tea parties with the rest of us kids and all of her dolls.

I’ll be posting more later about caring for the presidential turkeys with my family and friends! Stay tuned… :-)

Team Presidential Turkey 2013: Meet the Burkel Kids | via

We’ve had quite a few visitors to our farm this month because friends and family want to come check out the Presidential flock! It’s great practice for the turkeys – they need to get used to people being close and taking their pictures.

Team Presidential Turkey 2013: Meet the Burkel Kids | via

Here are a couple of the turkeys, preening for the camera – see how their feathers are all puffed out? They do that to show off!


Presidential Turkey Flock 2013 | via

We’ve got new video from the Burkel family – specifically Alex, Jack and Emily – who took a video camera into one of their large turkey barns and provided a little tour and some information about what turkeys drink and eat.

The barn featured in the video is housing about 4,000 turkeys right now – you can see that they aren’t raised in cages (which is sometimes a common misperception) and they have plenty of space to move around.

Turkeys are housed in modern barns like these because it protects them from the weather elements – whether it’s really hot in the summer or below zero in the winter – and it keeps predators away, as well.

The turkeys’  barn is much like our own houses – it provides heating, cooling and a clean, safe environment in which to live.

As Alex explains in the video, the family chose about 80 birds out of this larger flock to raise as the “Presidential flock.”  Once those birds grew bigger, the Presidential flock was narrowed down to about 20 hopefuls, which in turn, was reduced to less than 10 who have “made the cut.”  Time will tell which two birds are the most well-behaved to make the trip to Washington DC!

Check out the video and let us know if you learned anything new about turkeys!