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

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