Frozen turkeys have been deep-chilled at zero degrees or below. They are at their best if used within a year. Frozen turkey is the least expensive, but freezing dries out the meat and most moisture is lost down the drain during defrosting, this is a good cause for brining your turkey.
Fresh birds have never been chilled below 26 degrees, and have a short shelf life. Fresh turkeys are readily available at supermarkets, you rarely ever have to special order them. Buy a fresh turkey no earlier than two days before you need it.
Did you know that every year, roughly 55% of all turkey is consumed at Thanksgiving. Christmas consumption is around 26%, followed by Easter at 19%. If you have ever wondered how most supermarkets can give away free frozen turkeys, it is most likely they are using up last years surplus.