For anyone struggling to give up eggs, here is some basic chicken physiology…
The ancestor of the modern laying hen would lay at most a dozen eggs, once per year. Over the course of many years of selective breeding, the domesticated laying hen has been turned into a creature who will lay up to 300 eggs a year during her peak laying period.
This high number has only been achieved through cruel genetic and behavioral manipulations. Normally, hens are instinctively driven to lay a number of eggs (totalling about 10) called a “clutch”.
After this number is achieved, the hen will stop laying eggs in anticipation of the hatchings. This behavior holds true whether the eggs are fertilized or not.
Egg farmers take advantage of this fact by removing any eggs that the hens lay. This forces them to continue to try to form their clutch of eggs in vain desperation. Sadly, they will be driven to madness as they attempt to form their clutch because their eggs are constantly stolen.
Needless to say, this puts a tremendous psychological and physical strain on these birds. An animal that might otherwise live the better part of a decade is all but used up within a couple of years.
I can not bare to go into the horrendous conditions that ‘free range’ hens are kept in at this time or what’s happens to male chicks and cockrells.
A hen in a backyard setting, given proper nesting materials will also attempt to form a clutch. If the eggs are stolen rather than left, you are perpetuating the same cruel fate that she endured on the farm.
She will desperately attempt to form her clutch until she stops laying eggs or simply drops dead.
The calcium needed to form just one egg can bind up ten percent of the calcium from her bones. Extended egg laying without proper mineral replenishment will lead to soft or fractured bones. When left alone, hens will actually eat their unfertilized eggs. This replenishes them with much needed minerals lost during the egg formation process.
What people think of as “waste”, is actually the critically needed and cherished fruit of her labor. Her eggs are hers, not ours.
She needs a rest, not ongoing misery. Please leave eggs for chickens. :)