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An Egg is Not a Chicken’s Abortion

Has anyone tried to scare you off eating eggs by telling you they are a chicken’s abortion? I have heard this, and that they are her "period" or that you are eating a fetus. Learn the truth before you spread lies.

This article is to clarify a few misconceptions about what hens eggs are, and what they are not. Some people will tell you that chicken eggs are a chicken’s abortions, or they are a chicken’s “period”. Failing either of those attempts they will try to tell you that eggs are chicken fetuses. I have to take the time to tell you that none of these scare tactics are true*, and will explain why, and give a bit more information about “the egg”.


image source

First off, lets look at a few eggs. The difference in color of shells pretty much only indicates different breeds of birds that laid them, the color does not indicate any health value of the egg, nor does it indicate if the hen was a “free range” bird or battery bird.  Consumers seem to want white eggs, so this is what the industry caters too as such battery hens are white birds, that lay white eggs.  Myself, I am happier with free range eggs and the color does not matter (as a note, most brown hens lay brown eggs, some breeds lay blue or green eggs).


image source

These are my own birds, free range in the day, and penned up at night for their own safety from predators. We fed them a proper laying ration and get at least one egg per bird every day (excluding winter when they slow down or stop laying). While they were out they munched grass, dandelions, and bugs. This article is not debating free range vs battery hens, but you will note, that in neither situation is a rooster needs to be involved.

That is right, generally no roosters are used in the production of eggs for eating. Hens lay eggs no matter what. Their bodies naturally produce eggs and they get too big and must come out. We see if there is no rooster, the egg is not fertile, so cannot be considered an “abortion”. Even if it was fertile, this is the natural process of chicken reproduction, so equally could not be considered an “abortion”.  To read more about how an egg is formed inside then hen click here.

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  1. Darlene McFarlane

    On October 10, 2008 at 8:54 am


    You have explained this very well-in terms that everyone can understand. I never heard the tactics you speak of (period and abortion) but I find it laughable that anyone could believe t. Thanks for setting everyone straight. Now I will go have my breakfast..eggs over easy.

    Darlene

  2. Ancient Aspie

    On October 10, 2008 at 11:20 am


    I’m also amazed. I never knew that people had such ignorant ideas about eggs.

  3. Karen N

    On October 10, 2008 at 2:02 pm


    Very good explanation!

  4. Fernando T.

    On October 10, 2008 at 6:28 pm


    I didn’t know people said stuff like that. Thanks for the explanation though.

  5. ebazaar

    On October 11, 2008 at 2:55 pm


    This is a great thing to know! well, i’ve never had anyone telling me that i’m eating a fetus or chicken’s period but this is sure and eye-opener! Thanks for the information! Keep it coming…and i love my scramble egss with no milk XD

  6. James DeVere

    On October 13, 2008 at 8:16 am


    Goddam Mark! I never thought of it like that. Will I cook another omelette again?
    :) J

  7. adg

    On October 18, 2008 at 10:10 am


    wow, as someone right in the middle of the “animal rights” movement, I can confidently say that I have never once heard this argument. this is, however, a wonderful tactic for shifting the focus to obvious falsity away from the simple truths that egg agribusiness is patently inhumane. while no, eggs are not “aborted fetuses,” interestingly enough many laying hens suffer from uterine prolapse–a condition where the uterus wholly exits the vagina leaving blood and puss on the egg conveyor. rather than assume that one false statement negates the valid arguments, research for yourself. http://www.mercyforanimals.org

  8. Dave Banderleg

    On October 18, 2008 at 1:04 pm


    Your argument that it is not the equivalent of a human period because there’s no blood doesn’t really hold water. Yes there’s no blood, but the egg is released, even if unfertilized, as part of a set of hormonal signals intended to help produce offspring.

    Except for the blood that’s exactly the same thing as a period, obviously chicken eggs don’t need enriched uterine tissue, because the yolk is inside the egg.

    That said, I don’t really care if it’s a chicken period, eggs are delicious. After all, is it disgusting that we eat animal muscle? No, it’s just what we have been doing for thousands of years.

  9. r

    On October 18, 2008 at 7:20 pm


    Based on your post your chickens seem to be well treated. From what you say they are getting daily sunlight, time to be outside, and a generally comfortable lifestyle, I commend you for that. Sadly, even “free range” chickens and eggs purchased from the store may not have been treated so well. Layer hens are often killed for meat when their production slows.

    Your argument that people who don’t eat eggs are “probably eating some other animal that was slaughtered for meat” couldn’t be farther from the truth. You will find that a growing number of people chose to distance themselves from increasingly cruel farming practices and increased risks of many diseases by not eating any animal products at all. You may have heard of them: Vegans.

  10. Vandros

    On October 19, 2008 at 5:20 am


    I agree with Dave Banderleg entirely regarding the period issue… you haven’t really done your argument any justice with that particular statement and infact sound a little like those you are chastising for unsubstantiated claims.

    I’ll eat eggs and enjoy them occasionally and I would certainly prefer to eat eggs from hens such as your own… but I am under no illusion as to what eggs are and where they come from.

  11. Mark Gordon Brown

    On October 19, 2008 at 6:27 pm


    Dear Readers.

    This article is not to get people to stop eating eggs, as I said, I have hens myself. Yes I have heard of Vegans, but to say they are not supporting cruelty is absurd too, because we all know eating anything (other than fruit picked from your own tree in your own yard, where no chemicals are used) comes from farms where wildlife (even bugs) is either displaced, killed or “removed” to make way for the “Crops”.
    I am not arguing anything except for the lies that some people use to get people to stop eating eggs. If you want to tell people not to eat them because battery hen farming is cruel (which it certainly is) PLEASE do so, but to call an egg the equivilent of an “Abortion” or “period” is laughable and incorrect.

  12. Chuck

    On January 6, 2009 at 11:23 am


    I always wondered how many peope against abortion ate eggs, just as a “things that make you go hmm.” Now I see that it’s a moot question. I always assumed it was an abortion, but your explanation cleared that right up.

  13. Susan

    On January 15, 2009 at 10:53 am


    I live in Atlanta and he fact that an egg is a chicken’s period was actually being promoted on a radio show last week. I was pissed because I thought I can’t believe they would try and scare people by saying such a thing. I will admit it grossed me out. I really feel that it’s irresponsible of them to do what they did.

  14. eddiego65

    On January 31, 2009 at 9:47 am


    Thanks for clearing things up!

  15. garnet77

    On February 4, 2009 at 1:54 pm


    I heard this argument on a national radio show a few weeks ago and must admit that some of the hosts comments were pretty gross. In fact I did not eat an egg for a few days. Now that I have read your article I feel a bit better. Thanks for the info.

  16. Savannah

    On February 11, 2009 at 5:59 pm


    I agree that they aren’t abortions. However, you don’t seem to really understand a human female’s menstruation. Humans also release an egg. Because we are mammals, our ovaries release an egg into our uterus and the walls of our uterus build a layer of blood during the month. If the egg is not fertilized, both the egg and the blood is released. That is our menstruation cycle.
    Chickens release an egg daily, fertilized or not. That is their menstrual cycle. As you mentioned, if they are refrigerated they do not develop into a chick. It is obviously not an ‘aborted’ fetus but it is a part of their menstrual cycle, so to speak.

  17. Mark Gordon Brown

    On February 14, 2009 at 10:52 am


    Thanks Savannah for that clarification.

  18. WTF

    On February 23, 2009 at 5:36 am


    Does he really have to explain the difference between human menstruation and bird eggs? I mean, are you really that stupid? I suppose the processes of a woman menstruating and a bird laying an egg are comparable, but they’re obviously not the same. They’re no more the same than arms and wings.

  19. adg

    On April 23, 2009 at 1:43 am


    Actually guys, I’m retarded, chickens do not in fact have uteruses.
    pwnd

  20. nine

    On May 14, 2009 at 12:27 pm


    I this week heard “chicken abortion” for the first time in conversation and I’ve laughed for about three days.

  21. Cheche

    On June 1, 2009 at 2:10 pm


    i like chickens! :B

  22. Flausher

    On July 13, 2009 at 9:04 am


    The term ‘abortion’ is wrong, I will agree with that, but you don’t seem to understand it either. Abortion implies the hen is pregnant, and then the baby hen is killed. WRONG.
    However, the term period is possibly about right.
    The eggs we usually eat are UNFERTILLISED. this is the bird equivalent of a human period. Admittedly the odd fertillised egg may slip through, but then they won’t have developed anyway.
    I am vegetarian. I have NO PROBLEM eating eggs. They are in no way baby chickens. Chickens don’t just turn pregnant, they need a rooster to make them pregnant. people seem to forget this…

  23. Soph xo

    On January 19, 2010 at 10:31 pm


    I’m really keen to be vegetarian, I’ve tried and failed but I’m not going to give up! :) Anyway, I’ll still be eating eggs and dairy – when I mentioned this on Yahoo Answers and other forums, I got some pretty hostile responses regarding eggs. I got the whole spiel about it being a chicken’s abortion/period, and although I was very doubtful about this, I was still slightly worried. Thank you for clearing this up for me, I feel so much better! I’m actually getting some chickens of my own to keep as pets soon, I’m really excited! Thank you for this article :)

  24. Chlo

    On February 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm


    just stumbled upon this after really being unsure what the egg actually is (i was convinced i’ve been eating chicks….) shows that even with a full education, i am still totally ignorant about eggs!
    i’m vegetarian and feel happy now to eat eggs again, so thank you so much for the clear explanation :)
    i also liked your part about battery hens and free range – it absolutely breaks my heart to think about the appaling conditions battery hens live in, and am really happy to see you have such beautiful, free hens of your own :)

  25. Nathan

    On February 1, 2010 at 4:39 pm


    Agreed on not abortion or fetus.

    Now, I use the “Period” comparison just to gross people out, not trying to get people to stop eating eggs or any other agenda aside from the look on their face; especially if they are eating eggs at the time.

    I think the comparison stands, conceptually, even if it isn’t the exact same process. Human females produce gametes. Chicken females produce gametes. When the human female releases their gamete to the fallopian tube, the placenta develops. Chickens produce the yoke around the gamete in the “egg”. If fertilized, in either case, the zygote forms. If not, the female gamete and the placenta/yoke are expelled. One we collect in cotton products and dispose of in toilets. The other we crack open, fry up, and eat.

    Aside from the subtle difference in purpose between placenta and yolk, the comparison is pretty straightforward. (one is an insulator/seconday means of nutrient delivery, the other is the nutrients used in development).

    I’m still going to call quiche “period pie”; and it is still going to be delicious.

  26. Rina Deych, RN

    On March 7, 2010 at 3:04 pm


    How misinformed the writer is about the animal rights “agenda,” and human health.
    First of all, a true animal rights advocate is a VEGAN and does NOT consume or wear ANY animal products. Most eggs come from factory “farms,” where chickens are kept in horrendous, filthy, cramped conditions – packed so tightly that their feathers rub off and they develop huge infected ulcerations. Many get so sick, they are thrown in piles of dead and dying birds, to suffer miserably until the end.
    When the chickens are no longer “productive” they are sent to slaughter houses, where their fragile legs are placed in shackles and their throats are cut. The baby chicks born (obviously, some of the eggs “have” to be fertilized so these agribusinesses can create more “egg layers”), they typically DISCARD the male chicks (whom they cannot use) in huge garbage bags, where they are crushed and suffocated, and die a slow, painful death. Some establishments (and you can do a Google search to find the videos and articles) drop the babies while still ALIVE head-first into huge grinders to be chopped up and fed back to the hens. Sadly, EVEN SO-CALLED “free range” establishments KILL the male babies. As for the protein myth regarding human diet, read the China study. No human needs as much protein as is promoted by the meat, dairy, and egg industry. All required protein can come more healthfully from grains, legumes, and vegetables.
    It’s quite frustrating (and infuriating) to see such inaccurate and misleading information disseminated on the internet.

  27. Mark Gordon Brown

    On March 7, 2010 at 10:41 pm


    To Rina.

    Actually I am VERY informed about animal rights activists. A TRUE animal rights activist does NOT even support pet ownership. None the less, this link is NOT about animal rights.

    I personally keep free range hens. There are NO male babies, because I have NO rooster.. you DO NOT need a rooster to get eggs.

    I do not feel humans need to eat meat at every meal, or have as much meat at their meals as they do…. but again.. this link is NOT about human nutrition.

    http://socyberty.com/activism/animal-rights-or-animal-welfare/

  28. Mark Gordon Brown

    On March 8, 2010 at 9:47 pm


    And another thing I am sick and tired of Animal Rights activists period. Not all animals have the same needs and therefore DO NOT NEED the same rights as human animals. Animal Rights Movement was started back in the 1960s as a bizarre piece of performance art, and nothing more, with the ultimate goal of bringing an animal to trial. IE a cat going of trial for killing a mouse. Don’t take my word for it, do your research it is a matter of public record, It makes me sick that vegans keep coming here with their holier than thou attitude, when many of them feed their cats, vegan cat food which is harmful to cats. You Animal Rights Vegans do not care anything about animals, just about your agenda, which is not the welfare and well being of animals. I realize that you do not like the realities of this world in that some creatures eat other creatures, but it is the way things are. Nothing that you can do is gonna change that. So stop giving grief to those of us who are trying to lessen pain and suffering in something that is gonna happen anyway.

  29. Heather

    On June 9, 2010 at 2:39 pm


    I finally decided to look into the process of how eggs are created and am so glad that I found your article!

    Thanks for laying things out, with reliable resources and references. Good to be informed… I think that so few people actually understand the process and just assume what they want to be true.

    And even as a vegetarian, I am just as annoyed with self-righteous activists as everyone else. I made a choice to not eat meat, but it was my choice. I don’t picket in the streets trying to tell people how they should live, I don’t care. I just expect people (no matter where they stand on the issue of eating meat, eggs, or whatever) to be educated and think before they speak.

  30. Linda

    On August 25, 2010 at 10:02 am


    My family had chickens and roosters for many years. I had never heard eggs referred to as ‘chicken abortions’ or ‘chicken foetuses’ up until recently. As we always used the eggs that the chickens laid, sometimes we saw some unusual things, like eggs with malformed shells (the shell was so thin that we could see the egg yolk through it and it was rubbery, so we could grip the egg and it would move!!) Plus we saw our fair share of double yolkers and sometimes the eggs would already have a tiny chicken in there (we had some frisky roosters lol!!). We collected eggs everyday aswell. I think that because we grew up with chickens, we always knew that eggs weren’t ‘abortions’ or ‘chook periods’. We also knew that chickens could lay eggs without a rooster being involved. We knew that a rooster needed to fertilise the eggs for chickens to form and that a hen had to sit on them in order for them to hatch.

    Some people are so ignorant when it comes to these kinds of things. I

  31. Nathan (not the same Nathan as above)

    On August 19, 2011 at 3:24 am


    Some people “read” this article and still made arguments assuming (incorrectly) that a bird has a uterus. They were wrong.

    Some people “read” this article and still made arguments assuming (incorrectly) that a fertilized egg and and unfertilized egg are the same. The were also wrong.

    Some people “read” this article and still made arguments assuming (incorrectly) that the discharged, unfertilized sex-cell of a bird (despite it’s enlarged size), somehow is more important than the sex cells disposed of, everyday, by every living creature on this planet. Most every female primate, and certainly every human female disposes of her sex-cells on a regular basis. Hell, I disposed of a few hundred thousand of my own sex-cells into a paper towel just a few minutes ago (Stoya is SOOOO hot!).

  32. Mithila Naidu

    On November 15, 2011 at 2:12 am


    “The Egg Industry – It hides some of the most horrifying acts of extreme cruelty on Earth!
    Around the world baby male chicks, who are of no economic value to the egg industry, are simply tossed into bins with shells and other waste.
    They either get ground up alive, or they are just tossed into plastic bags with hundreds of others, and left to suffocate. ” http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=244385385618075&set=a.114071768649438.16041.113902138666401&type=1&theater
    With avocado, tofu or other plant-based foods, any recipe that calls for eggs can be made cruelty-free. There is no excuse for this. Educate yourselves please.

  33. crosswind

    On February 26, 2012 at 1:31 pm


    Interesting ~ Thank you for explaining. Yes I have heard these comments before. Chickens don’t give LIVE births and don’t have endometrium so can’t be considered a period., BUT …fyi… humans do release an Ovum egg once a month with or without a male partner too.

  34. LA

    On February 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm


    I will NOT touch soy today. If you eat Tofu or Soy anything these days…you better make sure it’s Organic becuz 90% of soy seeds are owned by Evil monsanto adn therefore GMO , giant pesticide company reuining our food and organic seeds. GMO seeds are grown with Roundup herbicide/ pesticide (each seed) and are known as Round-up ready seeds. GMOs are causing cancer & new auto-immune disease in lab animals. The GMOs are designed to release an insecticide once the bug eats it. Well, what happens if HUMANS eat them. YEP… auto immune destruction towards our organs. Just look up Monsanto.

    BUY LOCAL & ORGANIC EGGS FROM HAPPY CHICKENS ALLOWED TO ACTUALLY EAT BUGS LIKE NATURE INTENDED. CHICKENS ARE NOT DESIGNE TO EAT VEGETARIAN DIET. EGGS ARE MORE GOLDEN COLOR AND TASTE MUCH BETTTTTTER. I LOVE GOING TO FARMERS MARKETS OR MEETING THE FARMERS AT FEED STORES LIKE STORE OWNERS WHO BRING EGGS FROM THEIR CHICKENS. ~EGGS ARE HEALTHY if you are not allergic. go long enough without them and I feel a difference.

  35. liz

    On June 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm


    I am a vegan an an animal rights advocate, and I certainly never believed or spread any of these lies. I still even eat eggs when they come from humane sources.

  36. Pedantic Pamela

    On December 14, 2012 at 2:41 am


    Not a vegan, then, are you?! #vegansdon’teateggsyoudouchebag

  37. Pedantic Pamela

    On December 14, 2012 at 2:41 am


    Not a vegan, then, are you?! #vegansdon\’teateggsyoudouchebag

  38. Mark Gordon Brown

    On December 21, 2012 at 2:49 pm


    I never said I was a vegan Pamela.. actually vegetarians do not eat eggs either, only ovo-vegetarians do.

  39. Ed

    On January 16, 2013 at 10:18 pm


    Google “balut”, now that’s a chicken abortion.

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