Why Whole Chickens Are Better

Incoming! Educational rant session headed your way –

As a society, we’ve selected parts of the chicken that we prefer or that are convenient (hello, chicken breasts!) and discarded the rest as less than or somehow unpalatable. Simply stand to the side in the meat aisle of the grocery store, and watch how many people pick up chicken breasts over any other cut of meat. I’m guilty of it too.

For large scale/confinement operations (some people call them factory farms), unwanted cuts and bones are sent off to be processed into soups, broths, dog food…

But on small scale farms like ours, where do the less popular cuts go??

I know countless farmers who pasture raise poultry of the highest quality and have freezers consistently sold out of breasts… yet full of wings, thighs, etc.

Now that I’ve taken part in raising and processing animals for a few years, I believe that only buying the same cut again and again fails to honor and recognize the entire animal.

I try to remind myself how people all over the world cherish animal protein. When I lived and worked in Uganda, we had the special treat of chicken once a week. Every Friday. This opportunity was a rare privilege in the community, and there was certainly never a concern or spoken preference over cuts.

I think about my ancestors cutting a whole chicken and savoring every part, understanding that each piece was a delicacy of its own, with individual nutrients and flavors.

I realize this might not seem like a major world issue. It’s probably not! BUT – I do think it points to the responsibility we have as consumers to make a positive impact on our food system, especially for those of us who can and enjoy supporting farmers in our direct communities.

So here it is – Whole chickens:

  1. Are cheaper than sold by the cut
  2. Allow you to make bone broth or chicken stock
  3. Can be split into whatever cuts you want
  4. Offer increased nutrient density, as every part of the chicken has different nutrients to offer. Just look around the world; many cultures use different parts of the chicken to cure different ailments and illnesses.
  5. Leave the farmer with a completely sold chicken, a whole life ethically raised on the farm, now in your hands to prepare and nourish your family with it
  6. Can help you feel more connected to where your food comes from
  7. Create confidence in the kitchen, as you learn new, creative cooking skills
  8. Oftentimes go a long way, contributing to several meals throughout the week

We sell pasture raised, Organic-fed chicken that’s rotated to fresh pasture daily. Over the summer market season, our chicken was almost always sold out, thanks to a number of families who prioritized savoring a whole chicken every week, making numerous meals with it, including many with fresh bone broth. We’ve been told we have the most tender chicken around.

Chickens are delicious when cooked whole but are also easy to split into cuts yourself. If you’re interested in some whole chickens from Kingdom Gardens, visit us at the market or text (912)433-3326 for on-farm pickup. I know Farmer Emily would sure appreciate it.

Some resources for you:

How to split a whole chicken into different cuts VIDEO – How To Cut A Whole Chicken – YouTube

How to split a whole chicken into different cuts TEXT version – How to Cut a Whole Chicken Into 8 Pieces – FeelGoodFoodie

Slow cooker whole chicken – Slow Cooker Whole Chicken – Dinner at the Zoo

Roasted whole chicken – Easy Roasted Chicken (Juicy + Crispy Skin!) (

An easy chicken stock recipe (note that she suggests using raw chicken to make this) – Chicken stock | RecipeTin Eats


Heirloom Varieties

I had never been so excited to open a seed order in my life. Like usual, this box was filled with thousands of seeds – amazing heirloom varieties of all shapes, sizes, and colors – but my response was different.

I was able to breathe deep, knowing we would sell out of all of the future veggies that will come from said seeds (a feat we weren’t always able to pull off).

It got me thinking; it’s such a shame that grocery stores don’t offer crops like these.

When we first started the farm, we didn’t have the customer base we needed to sell all of our products, and because of this, we had to sell to local grocery stores and independent wholesalers. It was difficult because they weren’t very interested in any of our unique heirloom crops. They wanted standard grocery items.

Red round tomatoes.

Bicolored sweet corn.

Normal zucchini and yellow squash… (not the several colorful and striped varieties we grow)

they surely didn’t want Christmas pole Lima beans! 

But because we’ve connected with so many of you (foodies and families who are adventurous in the kitchen, willing to try new, fun veggies), we get to grow whatever we want!

Praise the Lord for such a wonderful customer base and group of people who support our local farm and love our mission.

In 2024, you bet we’ll be growing those Christmas Lima beans (endangered) and many other specialty heirloom varieties that offer an array of nutrients and flavors that the grocery store can’t compare to. Thank you for making this possible.


Hurtful Comments

You said this, and it got me thinking…

You say,
“I could never raise my own animals for meat.”
“Butchery? You must be so strong!”
“How can you eat an animal that you knew??”

My response:
“How could you not?”

These comments, as well meaning as they may be, come across like:

  • You see what I do as a horrific act
  • My heart must be hardened
  • Like I lack compassion for animals
  • It requires such a monstrous effort to take a life

In reality, it’s the opposite. Hear me out.

It’s far more compassionate to deeply know and respect the animal –

It makes a difference when you are thankful for an animal’s individual life, rather than blindly grabbing a limp piece of meat, set on Styrofoam, from the grocery store.

There’s a reason why over a third of our most loyal customers are folks who used to be vegan.

They understand what makes us different. They’re seeking a deep connection to their food.

Consider this – getting to raise an animal, watching them move to fresh pasture daily, frolicking through the forest, breathing fresh air and positively impacting the ecosystem… that’s beautiful.

Over 96% of pigs in the U.S. are raised indoors.
And over 99% of chickens live the same confinement life, never allowed to see the outside or experience natural light.

As a culture, we’ve outsourced animal production to giant metal buildings, hidden away from society, and in turn, we’ve outsourced the responsibility of death as well.

So yes – it surprises me when people are shocked that I raise animals for meat, while they continue their disconnected weekly grocery runs, picking up disembodied cuts wrapped in soggy plastic.

Supporting local farmers connects you to the created world – to life – in ways that are intangible and hard to describe.

Maybe the lack of compassion lies in the folks who are the most disconnected to where their food comes from.

Raising animals for meat is an eye opening and life changing experience that will leave you appreciating where your food comes from more than ever before.

Heavy thoughts for the end of your week, I know.

If you’re interested in participating in one of our chicken processing days to experience a real farm to table butchery, be sure to subscribe to our local newsletter, where tickets to our community processing days will become available in 2024.

People are surprised to learn that processing days are some of our favorite days on the farm, and we’d love to have you out to enjoy a beautiful, lifechanging day on pasture for yourself. 

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