Anna Spiegel outlines the process by which the pardoned turkey was chosen:
The selection process began in June with a whole rafter, or flock, of turkeys. National Turkey Federation chairman Steve Willardsen chose a farm he owns in Rockingham County, Virginia, as the birthplace. Forty eggs were selected and incubated together. Once hatched, the poults moved to their own barn. Turkeys are naturally skittish, but the select group was trained to be what the National Turkey Federation describes as "media-savvy." Handlers familiarized the turkeys with human contact and played music around the clock so the turkeys got used to loud noises and human voices.
The final bird, and its alternate, were picked "based on the birds’ ease with handling, physical health, and superior looks."
(Photo: The National Thanksgiving turkey and its alternate are seen during a press conference November 20, 2012 at the W Hotel in Washington, DC. By Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)