Virginia Tech, home of the “HokieBird,” is the home of the National Thanksgiving Turkey and alternate following the White House presentation. The turkeys are cared for by veterinarians and students of Virginia Tech’s Animal and Poultry Sciences Department at “Gobbler’s Rest,” an enclosure located inside the Livestock Judging Pavilion on campus in Blacksburg, Virginia. The public is able to visit Gobbler’s Rest and learn about the university’s teaching, research and outreach programs in animal and poultry sciences and veterinary medicine.
The turkeys’ presence at Virginia Tech helps to further promote the importance of modern animal agriculture, the role our land-grant research universities play in developing techniques to help feed a hungry world and the historic observance of the traditions of Thanksgiving.
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 of 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.