In this article I want to talk about the ethical aspect of keeping backyard chickens if you’re a vegan.
This topic seems to be coming up regularly in social media forums and groups, and often leads to mixed opinion, so as a non-vegan chicken keeper myself, I wanted to find out the true answer to the vegan debate.
You can ethically keep chickens if you’re a vegan proving they’re kept in the right conditions. A true vegan will not eat the eggs which their chickens produce, dispite the fact they’re kept in good conditions.
Read on to find out more about why vegans would want to keep chickens if they don’t eat eggs, what to do with eggs you don’t eat, along with information on keeping chickens ethically.
Why it’s Okay for Vegans Keep Chickens
The majority of chickens who are kept in large-scale commercial farms across many parts of the world, in general, get a pretty rough deal.
They’re often kept in cages with little space and no opportunity to do all of the things they love, such as scratching and grazing for natural foods.
So when a chicken has the opportunity of space and good living, they will lead a happy life which most never will.
Vegans choose to keep chickens to give them a life which they would never get in a commercial situation or because they want to rescue ex-commercial hens.
It is completely ethical for them to do so, providing the following:
- The chickens are given a better life than they would if they were kept commercially for eggs or meat.
- They’re allowed to free-range and are not kept locked up.
- Chickens are cared for but not used for any gain to the owner.
Why Don’t Vegans Eat Eggs From Their Own Chickens Eggs?
A true vegan doesn’t eat any products which come from animals, which includes backyard chicken eggs.
Many people argue that chickens will lay eggs every day without care and regardless of whether or not someone is going to eat them. They have a good life, so why not eat the eggs that they lay naturally under no pressure?
But it just doesn’t work like that because however much a chicken lives the best life, a true vegan still won’t keep chickens for eggs.
Why Keep Chickens if you Don’t Eat the Eggs?
You could be forgiven for asking the question of why people keep chickens if they don’t eat the eggs if they’re either vegan or because they don’t like eggs.
In recent times people have become much more aware of the downside of large-scale commercial chicken farming and how restrictive it is for the bird.
Many people don’t understand that chickens are intelligent birds who have the instinct to be free to forage and graze; they also have amazing personalities and an ability to interact with humans.
Even if you don’t want to keep chickens for eggs, they still make great (outdoor) pets who will actually interact with you as much as a dog or cat.
Thanks to chicken rescue charities, there is increasing opportunity to re-home chickens who have been kept in a commercial environment which offers an excellent opportunity to vegans and those who want to see chickens getting the life they deserve.
Although many ex-caged or battery rescue chickens continue to lay eggs, some don’t, and for this reason, anyone who adopts them giving is them a forever retirement home.
As well as rescue chickens, there are often local opportunities to take on birds that are unwanted or at risk of being culled because they no longer lay eggs.
If a potential chicken keeper doesn’t want to keep chickens for eggs, then older rescue hens are a great way to go because the ultimate reward is getting to see them free and enjoying life, especially when they’ve come cages.
The image below shows some of our scruffy ex-caged birds; they love being free and relish every day (despite the bald bottoms). Any eggs they lay are a bonus, and we don’t care if they never lay again.
What Can Vegans Do With Eggs They Don’t Eat?
Most chickens lay daily, so as an example, you could have 28 eggs per week that you’re not going to use if you have four chickens.
Although vegans don’t eat the eggs and feel it’s unethical to profit from their animals, it’s a shame to waste the eggs, so here are some suggestions on what you can do with the surplus:
- Give the eggs away to your friends or neighbors.
- Hard-boil some of the eggs and feed them back to the chickens as a treat.
- Sell the eggs to put back into a good chicken feed, treats, and equipment.
If you give eggs away to your friends, family, and neighbors they will love you for it or you can make some cash to give back to your flock rather than making a profit.
If you cook eggs to give to your birds, only given them as an occasional treat because they need balanced nutrition, which they get from a complete chicken feed.
Do Vegans Need to Feed Chickens Layer Feed?
I just wanted to touch on this before we wrap up this article, because although you’re not keeping chickens for eggs, its important for a laying chickens health that they get the right feed.
This article was first published on May 4, 2021 by Pentagon-Pets.
A laying chicken needs more calcium to produce hard egg shells, to prevent laying problems and so they have enough calcium for both laying and bone health.
If chickens don’t get enough calcium, they can lay soft eggs, which can make the chicken sick.
So even if you’re not using chickens’ eggs, they either need to be fed a layer feed or provided with an oyster shell supplement alongside their feed.
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Pentagon Pet is the owner of this article that was first published on May 4, 2021.
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This article and its contents are owned by Pentagon Pets and was first published on May 4, 2021.