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Veganism and pet chicken's eggs

As you can tell from my icon, I have pet chickens.  They are still young and lay a few eggs a week each.  They are well loved and will never be harmed or butchered.  Even after they stop laying eggs they will still be my dear chicky-chicks.  Would it be against vegan principles to eat their eggs?  They would lay them no matter what.  We don't force them and they are unfertilized.  It almost seems like a waste to just throw them away.

Against vegan principles? Yes. Animal products.

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it's not vegan to eat them, but it also isn't harming animals. do whatever you want, but if you love the label "vegan" don't eat the eggs. give them away or feed them to your chickens (they like them... i think).

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I really don't want to feed eggs back to them.  From what I understand, when they have the taste for eggs it causes problems.  I suppose I can just give them away.  But, wouldn't that also be against vegan principles?

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seems like it whether you eat them or not depends on your reason for being vegan in the first place. I personally would eat them, because i am vegan for reasons regarding animal rights and cruelty, and since they haven't been harmed and are treated well, then I wouldn't see a problem. up to you though

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It's ok for chickens to eat their own eggs; the shell is especially good for them, so that they don't lose the calcium completely and can have temporary grit for their stomach (they swallow rough objections to help "chew" in their stomach).

I've thought about this too, and not sure about the ethics. When I worked at a farmed animal sanctuary, we either gave the eggs back to the chickens, or boiled them and gave them to the pigs, cats, and dogs.

I could see an ethical justification of eating them if there's that many, but it still wouldn't be vegan. You could try giving them away to neighbors/friends/family... I'm sure they'd like fresh eggs.

If I were in this situation, I wouldn't eat them. Ethical question aside, I don't want to consume that much cholesterol or animal protein.

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I agree that, while it wouldn't fit the definition of vegan, it doesn't seem like it would do any harm.  On the other hand, you could give them away to people who would otherwise buy factory-farmed eggs.

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I don't care about labels; my goal is to do the least harm possible to the world around me in general/ other living things in particular. I don't call myself vegan, b/c I make exceptions based on that goal, which a self-labeled vegan would not make-- your case in point being one of those exceptions. I think the actual harm caused to any creature, by you eating those eggs, is zero. If your identity as 'vegan' trumps other issues involved, and you decide NOT to eat 'em... the harm from that decision is *also* zero (assuming another good use for the eggs is found, rather than wasting them). I don't think that 'the right thing to do' in your personal situation is anything someone else can tell you, or anything you have to explain to anyone else.

If it's important to you to be able to wear t-shirts that say '100% vegan', then I'd say don't eat 'em. Do you have dogs or cats? or a kitchen for the homeless nearby, that might like fresh eggs? Those might be some good options.

To me, there is no exploitation involved at all, if you eat those eggs... I am not 'taking advantage' of my dogs, when they give me lower blood pressure and improved mood, each time I pet them... it's a gift they give me, without even trying, at no harm to themselves. I see eggs from loved pet hens the same way.

But, again, I don't identify as 'vegan' (though I eat that way almost all the time), and I am completely uninvested in that label as an end, in and of itself. So my perspective may not be the one closest to where you are... but I think the main thing is to 'do no harm' (or as close to it as possible). Eating pet-chicken eggs is not harmful to anyone, unless it's harmful to the way you see yourself. And that's something that isn't a community decision.

However you resolve it for yourself, just by giving the issue careful consideration and making a decision based on a thoughtful & ethical world view, you are doing *way* more for animals & the environment than the majority of humans living in the modern world! So, it's kind of a win/ win, imo.   

;)b

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i don't think i would even want to eat them... especially if they came from your pets... it would make me queasy especially knowing where they came from yuck just egg your enemies house or something :) if not chuck them who cares if they go bad... but ultimately that is my opinion but to each his own...

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You wouldn't be doing any particular harm by eating them, but then again you wouldn't be doing any particular harm by feeding them to the chickens, or to the local strays, or whatever. You have nothing to gain by eating the eggs, and nothing to lose by not eating them.

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i'd give em away.. Whoever you give them too will be using your pet hen eggs instead of factory farm eggs and it will end just a little more animal suffering, you know? Not everyone wants to be vegan, (AKA give up eating eggs) but most people are for ending animal suffering, so I"m sure whoever you give them too will be stoked. It's a win-win

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I agree with fufu and Narcissus. That's probably the option that's most in the spirit with minimizing harm done to the birdies (in general).

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I would say eat them (I'm an ovo-lacto vegetarian though) or give them away to someone who you know would like them. I'm pretty sure plenty of people would appreciate fresh eggs. Both are good options. I wouldn't feed the eggs back to the chickens, it makes me think of the film Soylent Green, and that idea makes my skin crawl.

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I would say eat them (I'm an ovo-lacto vegetarian though) or give them away to someone who you know would like them. I'm pretty sure plenty of people would appreciate fresh eggs. Both are good options. I wouldn't feed the eggs back to the chickens, it makes me think of the film Soylent Green, and that idea makes my skin crawl.

Haha, yeah. It weirded me out a lot at first too. But, since chickens lay eggs so often, they can lose a lot of nutrients that way. Depending on their environment, they might need the shells to help grind the rest of the food.
I guess it's more like people who eat the placenta? : | If it's what you have to do...

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I would say eat them (I'm an ovo-lacto vegetarian though) or give them away to someone who you know would like them. I'm pretty sure plenty of people would appreciate fresh eggs. Both are good options. I wouldn't feed the eggs back to the chickens, it makes me think of the film Soylent Green, and that idea makes my skin crawl.

Haha, yeah. It weirded me out a lot at first too. But, since chickens lay eggs so often, they can lose a lot of nutrients that way. Depending on their environment, they might need the shells to help grind the rest of the food.
I guess it's more like people who eat the placenta? : | If it's what you have to do...

I make sure that my hens get plenty of nutrients.  So, that shouldn't be a problem.  They have never been eggbound and have bright and alert eyes.  Factory farms tend to give them the bare minimum when it comes to food.  They are a commodity not a pet or even a living being to them.  Commercial food is made up of food millings, fish and meat by-products, bone or oyster shell and nutrient supplements.  Unless, it is vegetarian or organic.  Then it is food millings, flax seed, oyster shell and nutrient supplements.

I give mine a grain/seed mix - whole red winter wheat, oat groats, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, millet, quinoa, etc. -  I make myself, greens, fruit, yogurt, oystershell, mealworms and what they find in the backyard, usually earthworms, grass, japanese beetles and earwigs.

As you can see, I like to brag :P  They are so sweet - well to me not the neighbor cats or wild birds - cute and cuddly.  I wish I could figure out how to post pictures, so you could see them.

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Aww, your chickens are spoiled ^^ Well, they still *could* eat some of their own eggs, and they generally like them too. I'm not sure what was in the grain/seed mix at the sanctuary I worked at, but when I'd accidentally drop an egg, they'd all go crazy to get to it. I don't know what's with that ??? But they were not so impressed with the turkey eggs. Weird stuff...

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I agree that, while it wouldn't fit the definition of vegan, it doesn't seem like it would do any harm.  On the other hand, you could give them away to people who would otherwise buy factory-farmed eggs.

I like this. Reducing eggs being consumed by people who would ordinarily be buying eggs produced in factory conditions, and true free range eggs contain far more minerals than factory eggs getting better nutrition into your friends. Win on both fronts. Or than again, you could eat them. Personally I would not because... well just because, but I would not argue your vegan label over that. For myself, I use the label to explain less consumption of animal products to non vegans - not just zero - even though I do not consume any animal products.

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dlb, I would worry less about going against vegan principles and just decide to do what you're most comfortable with. If you decide to eat their eggs, well, you've already provided them with a great home that most chickens never ever have a hope of getting. If you don't, it's up to you what to do with the eggs. I know folks who feed them to their dogs which seems like a good solution. I guess in my eyes the most important "vegan principle" is to reduce the suffering of animals. Usually that means not consuming any animal products, but you've already reduced suffering hugely for your chickies by giving them a great home, and eating their eggs isn't going to harm them. Each person will have their own opinion on this. Some folks just aren't comfortable doing it regardless of the hens' situation. It's up to you!

eta: I really likeveggydog, fufu and evergreen's suggestion of giving them to people you know who would otherwise buy factory farmed eggs. Talking to people about why your birds have a better life is a good way to raise awareness about the industry's awful practices and get people thinking about how to eat more ethically.

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i'd give em away.. Whoever you give them too will be using your pet hen eggs instead of factory farm eggs and it will end just a little more animal suffering, you know? Not everyone wants to be vegan, (AKA give up eating eggs) but most people are for ending animal suffering, so I"m sure whoever you give them too will be stoked. It's a win-win

true words

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i posted about this somewhere in the forums when i first went vegan.  my husband is ovo-lacto vegetarian, and he buys eggs from a friend who raises her chickens as pets (much like you).  'vegan' is just a label, and i think that if you are more conscious about the harm you are/aren't doing, then let that be your guide....

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I eat eggs every once in a while for Vitamin B-12. I don't want to rely on supplements (including nutritional yeast) for my vitamins.  I do eat local organic free range eggs btw. Eggs and Honey are the only animal products I use and want to use right now. I limit my intake though and I am not worried about the cholesterol as mine is around 111 last time I gave blood and I read egg's cholesterol doesn't affect you as much.
I dream of having my own place and having some chickens, geese, or ducks (don't know which one!) along with some goats and have fresh eggs and milk from happy animals. I really wouldn't have a problem with that.

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