Can vegans eat eggs from backyard chickens

Can Vegans Eat Eggs from Backyard Chickens?

Can vegans eat eggs from backyard chickens? The answer to this question is a little bit controversial. Most vegans believe that eating eggs from any source is not vegan. While this may be the case, not everyone agrees. I’ll list some of the arguments and you’ll see why this is such a hot topic.

Can vegans eat eggs from backyard chickens?

No, vegans do not eat eggs from backyard chickens because they do not consume any animal products. The backyard chickens may be treated well but eating eggs from any source normalizes the act of consuming animal products, so it is not vegan.

Dietary restrictions for vegans

Vegans eat a wide variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. They also eat dairy-free and egg-free versions of foods like pizza, burgers, and ice cream. 

Vegan food is becoming more available as dietary choice gains popularity. There are now vegan restaurants in most major cities and many grocery stores stock vegan products.

On the other hand, vegans do not consume any animal products. This includes:

See also: Tofu vs Eggs: The Ultimate Scramble Showdown

Selective breeding of chickens

Chickens look differently as they did in the past. 

In 1925, it took 112 days until the chicken was slaughtered and it weight 2.5 lbs. at that time it was killed. In 2010, it took 47 days until the chicken was slaughtered and it weight 5.8 lbs. Chickens today grow 300% faster than those in 1960.

How is that possible? With selective breeding. 

Selective breeding means that humans select the animals with the highest reproducibility with the intent to breed chickens that lay eggs more often (up to 300 per year) compared to 4-6 eggs that they would lay naturally.

These chickens often suffer from diseases like osteoporosis (80-89% of them), bone fractures, and reproductive disorders.

Animal welfare is secondary in these egg farms, while economic interests are the primary driver. The animals are just a commodity.

One of the ugly secrets of egg farms is that male chicks are killed by being gassed or macerated right after birth because they don’t lay eggs. 

And these are the reasons why vegans don’t eat eggs. But what about backyard eggs? Those chickens are well taken care of, right?

Reasons why vegans don’t eat eggs from backyard chickens

Vegans do not eat backyard eggs because of several reasons. Here are a few things you should know and think about.

  1. Where did the backyard chicken come from? From a store that sells young chicks, farmers, or are they saved from a slaughterhouse? If we are paying for the chickens, we are supporting the cruel chicken industry.
  2. Chickens aren’t meant to lay so many eggs as they do. With selective breeding, they started laying up to 300 eggs per year. 
  3. The eggs can be fed back to the chicken because it is a great source of protein for them. This is not food meant for humans.
  4. By eating eggs from stores or the backyard chickens, we are supporting the egg industry, which is cruel and does not care about chicken welfare.
  5. What happens when backyard chickens get sick? And when the backyard chicken grows older and stops laying eggs? Do their caretakers take them to the vet, or slaughterhouse or kill them themselves? 
  6. And why does the owner have the chicken in the first place? Is it for the eggs? If so, the relationship is immediately transactional. We expect eggs in return for providing them food and shelter. This is not how we treat our dogs and cats.
  7. Vegans treat animals as companions and not as a source of food. 

Frequently asked questions regarding eggs

How do chickens make eggs?

Chickens are interesting creatures that are known for their production of eggs. But how do they make them? 

  1. It all starts with the chicken’s diet. Chickens consume a variety of food items, including grain, greens, and even insects. 
  2. This diverse diet provides the chicken with all the nutrients it needs to produce eggs. 
  3. The process begins when the chicken eats food and breaks it down in its gizzard. The gizzard is a muscular organ that grinds up the food, allowing the chicken to digest it more easily. 
  4. Once the food has been broken down, it moves into the chicken’s intestine where nutrients are absorbed. The intestine also produces a substance called albumen, which makes up about 60% of an egg white. 
  5. The final stop on this journey is the oviduct, where the egg is formed and shell forms around it. 

This process happens several times a day.

Are eggs good for chickens to eat?

As any chicken farmer knows, a healthy diet is essential for keeping chickens happy and productive. One common debate among chicken farmers is whether eggs are good food for chickens to eat. 

Some believe that eggs are an important source of protein and other nutrients, while others worry that raw eggs may contain harmful bacteria. 

In general, most experts agree that eggs are a perfectly safe food for chickens to eat.

Why do chickens eat their own eggs?

Chickens are known to eat their eggs. Eggs are a source of protein, and chickens need protein in their diet to stay healthy.

Are eggs cruel?

Most people don’t think twice about eating eggs. They’re a breakfast staple, after all. But what many people don’t realize is that the egg industry is cruel. 

Chicks are born male and female, but only the females are used for egg production. The males are killed shortly after they hatch, often by being ground up alive

The hens who are used for egg production are confined to small wire cages where they can barely move. They’re also deprived of natural light and forced to live in their waste. 

As a result of these conditions, many hens suffer from health problems. When their egg-laying ability declines, they’re sent to slaughter.

See also: Intensive Animal Farming: 4 Tips to Help End This Cruel Reality

Are any eggs cruelty-free?

Unfortunately, no eggs are currently considered to be cruelty-free. All commercial egg-laying operations confine hens to small cages where they are unable to stretch their wings or engage in natural behaviors. 

In addition, hens typically have their sensitive beaks trimmed with a hot blade, a practice that is known to cause pain and distress. As a result of these conditions, many hens suffer from physical and psychological problems such as feather loss, cannibalism, and depression. 

While some companies have started to switch to cage-free or free-range operations, these eggs are not truly cruelty-free as the hens are still confined to cramped spaces and subject to painful procedures. 

Until these practices change, it is not possible to purchase eggs that have not been produced through cruelty.

See also: Do Vegans Eat Eggs? The Answer That Might Surprise You

Are farmhouse eggs really cage-free?

It depends on the farm. Some small farms that sell directly to consumers may indeed keep their hens in “cage-free” conditions, but most industrial-sized egg farms do not. 

Most eggs sold in the United States come from battery cages, where each hen is confined to tiny spaces.

Can vegans keep chickens?

Yes, veganism is compatible with keeping chickens, particularly rescued chickens. Veganism is all about choosing not to consume or use animal products, so yes, a vegan could keep chickens as pets and provide them a safe space to live their lives freely.

See also: Rehoming Chickens Easily: The Basic Things You Need to Know

Can vegans eat their own chickens’ eggs?

No, vegans do not eat their own chickens’ eggs. Eggs are not vegetables, fruits, grains, or nuts but are animal products. And vegans do not eat animal products.

What do you call a vegan who eats eggs?

A vegan who eats eggs is called an “ovo-vegetarian.” There are different types of vegetarians, and ovo-vegetarians are vegetarians who eat eggs but not dairy products. Ovo-lacto vegetarians are vegetarians who eat both eggs and dairy products. Lacto-vegetarians are vegetarians who eat dairy products but not eggs. And pescetarian is a vegetarian who eats fish, but no other meat or poultry.

Key takeaways 

A vegan lifestyle excludes all animal products, including eggs. But, can vegans eat eggs from backyard chickens? No, a vegan cannot eat eggs from backyard chickens, even if the chickens are treated well. 

Some people argue that eating eggs from backyard chickens is humane because the chickens are not being factory farmed. However, consuming eggs from any source normalizes the act of consuming animal products, which is not vegan. 

There are many plant-based sources of protein that vegans can eat, so there is no need to consume eggs. Backyard chicken eggs may be delicious, but they are not vegan. Chickens are not our resources of food or money.

See also: Can Chickens Fly? Find the Answer and 14 Fun Facts About Chickens You Didn’t Know



Petra profile image

Hi, I’m Petra and for most of my life, I was an omnivore. A vegan couple made me curious about veganism, so I did some research. What I found out about the animals, our planet, and the health benefits of a vegan diet made me go vegan overnight. It’s been 5 years now and it’s been one of the best decisions of my life.

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