CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal is going to cost a lot more this year, largely due to a turkey shortage driven by an avian flu outbreak.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average turkey will cost about $1.99 a pound, as opposed to $1.15 last year. What’s pushing these prices up almost 75 percent? In part, a turkey shortage. Turkeys are more scarce this year due to a widespread domestic outbreak of the highly contagious avian flu.

So far this year, 43 states have experienced outbreaks, 252 commercial flocks have been affected and a total of 47.9 million poultry have been affected. Right now, bird flu is an animal health problem that poses little to no risk to people. Currently, there’s only one reported case in a human.

While people may not be facing health risks, it is going to be harder to get your Thanksgiving day turkey. Jeff Katz, the Vice President of Arnold’s Meats said, “That bird flu took and wiped out a lot of birds over the summer and so it was affecting chicken prices, now it’s affecting turkey prices and availability.”

Katz added the shortage is affecting certain sizes of birds and that if you need a specific size for your gathering, it’s best to order early before they run out.

Jerry Devine, a shopper from Hadley, said, “I’m afraid they are not going to have any, you are hearing that with the virus that they are having that there is going to be a shortage of turkeys this year. So we always come here god’s honest truth to get out turkeys anyways, just making sure we can get one this year.”

So to ensure you get your bird, you’ll want to clear out your freezer and shop for your holiday meats early.