If you are new to veganism, it wouldn’t be surprising for you to experience some confusion about what is and what is not vegan. So, let me clarify. Veganism states that no one exploits animals is cruel to them, or uses them for food or clothing when possible to do so.
There are hardships with these of course, in some nutrients (but the food world is getting better at this), in how many products include animal products or by-products in some way, and if you don’t live in a vegan household, it can be extra challenging.
Sometimes we have to learn ourselves, it can be hard to know what is bad and what isn’t, especially with the food market these days.
One strange question you don’t expect yourself to be asking but probably should is if vegans can eat eggs that have come from their own chickens.
No, you cannot. If you are vegan you cannot eat eggs, even if they have come from your own ethically raised chickens!
Plenty of vegans raise animals, especially those who would usually live unpleasant livestock lives. They might adopt or rescue a chicken with no intention of using the chicken for food. It is against the vegan way to sell animal products, but if you’re giving them a home to live their life comfortably that is totally okay!
But, Chickens Lay Eggs Naturally… Right?
Well, yes. Chickens do lay eggs, it’s natural. So some would argue that you could eat eggs or use them if the chicken is raised humanely, you aren’t forcing the chicken to do it, and the egg will just go to waste.
It is a tricky one, because on one hand, it is waste, and the chicken is only laying the egg because it is in their nature to do so. So, this is why I am here to talk to you about this. To ethical eggs, or not to ethical eggs, that is the question!
Where Do ‘Backyard’ Chicken Eggs Come From?
The first thing you need to think about when considering backyard chicken eggs is where the chickens actually came from. Most chickens will come from a breeder, and most breeders will only want the hens and will usually kill the roosters at a day old as they cannot reproduce.
The industry around eggs really does not care about the males at all, and most of the time they get used to meat. They do not bring profit to egg dealers or to chicken breeders, so they do not care for or raise roosters as there is no money in it.
Some vegans may buy their chickens from farms, but this is not great either as farmers often treat their chickens like inventory. This is why farm animals are called ‘livestock’. So, when you buy a chicken, even though you are giving the chicken a good life, you are still putting money into the exploitation of chickens.
This is why it is tricky to be vegan if you saved a chicken this way.
However, some pet stores may sell chickens, and these are less harsh, however, always make sure you know that the pet store has bred the chickens themselves and that there are males and females there in the mix.
I mean… You could steal a chicken, but that would be illegal, even though it is probably the most ethical way to go about owning a chicken in terms of animal rights. The law won’t like you if you do.
Manipulated Vs Natural Egg Laying
For most, owning a chicken in itself puts the concern to rest, as vegans should not own a chicken, because in some way it leads to their exploitation. However, if this is not enough to turn you off, let’s consider egg-laying.
You see, hens are made to have a menstrual cycle, sometimes daily (I do not want to be a hen), and most farmers and breeders manipulate the process to produce more eggs than hens naturally would.
In essence, it alters the hen’s reproductive system to gain more eggs. Typically a hen would lay from 12 to 20 eggs per year in the breeding season (spring). However, in the 1900s this went up to 120 eggs each year, and now they are made to lay anywhere from 200 to 350 eggs each year.
Chickens also have the instinct to lay more eggs if their eggs are taken from them, therefore if you remove the egg this makes the hen likely to lay more. Let’s not forget about the strain on her body!
Each hen needs 2 grams of calcium per egg to produce the shell, when the hen lays a lot of eggs this can actually strain her body and make her calcium deficient.
Nothing quite says exploitation like malnutrition does it?
When Can You Own A Chicken?
Rescue hens are often taken from factories or farms due to poor conditions. If you own a rescue hen, good for you! But do not do so just to give yourself a source of food. Plenty of vegans who want to eat eggs use this logic and state they’re giving the hen a good life.
You don’t get textiles from owning a dog or a cat, leave your chicken be!
Review a rescue hen as you would a cat, dog, or rodent. Your chicken should be taken to the vet, get treats, have check-ups, and be treated as a member of the family, not as an asset because it’s not much better than them being on a farm!
Eating Eggs From Your Own Chickens, Is It Okay?
Vegans can’t eat eggs from the chickens they raise, even if you rescued a chicken from a factory hell hole, the chicken can eat the eggs herself, which will actually help her stay healthy and fit.
If you have a rescue, she has had a hard life, let her eat her own eggs and leave her be to enjoy your freedom with you, her family.
Put yourself in your hen’s position. Leave her eggs as her body will start working overtime if you take her eggs, and it’s bad enough to menstruate so much, let’s give the hens a break!
Why Don’t Vegans Eat Backyard Eggs?
Vegans do not eat backyard eggs because of the strain it puts on the body of the hen and how money often gets poured into the exploitation of hens just by owning one.
While your chicken may be laying eggs semi-normally, taking them away will put her body into overdrive to produce a new egg as this is just an instinctive reaction in chickens. She can become calcium deficient if she is needing to produce eggs a lot.
Many vegans consider the happiness and comfort of animals with utmost importance, and being mindful of the effect of laying eggs on a chicken’s body is part of this.
However, considering the chicken breeding and farming industry as a whole, it is hard to even own a chicken without money going into the industry leading to the continuing exploitation of chickens.
That being said, even if you are only vegan for health reasons, eggs from a happy chicken living in your yard and eggs from a chicken at a factory are really no different in terms of nutrition, if you don’t eat factory eggs, don’t eat backyard chicken eggs!
Do Vegans Eat Homegrown Eggs?
Vegans do not eat homegrown eggs, this is all down to animal exploitation. The production of an egg puts strain on the chicken’s body, and it is much better for the chicken to just leave the egg after she has laid it and let her choose what to do with it.
What Vegans Can Eat Backyard Eggs?
Vegans can’t eat backyard eggs. That being said some industrial vegans might, but not all. Industrial vegans tend to focus on not confusing any food that comes from animals who were farmed or raised industrially.
An industrial vegan may eat their own chicken eggs if they feel that it is not harming the chicken. However, for industrial vegans, this is a topic of personal preference.
Can Vegetarians Eat Eggs?
Vegetarians do eat eggs. Vegetarians only avoid meat products, but they do eat dairy and eggs. However, this is also a topic of personal preference.
Can Vegans Eat Pasture-Raised Eggs?
No, if you are vegan you cannot eat eggs, period. No matter how they were raised.