Nobody here but us unnatural vegetarian chickens

Grocery stores are now selling vegetarian eggs. As I stared at the news in wonder I could hardly process all the thoughts that tumbled through my brain.

Grocery stores are now selling vegetarian eggs.

As I stared at the news in wonder I could hardly process all the thoughts that tumbled through my brain.

Vegetarian eggs!

What were they made out of? Carrots? Liquefied squash? And if so, how in the world did they manage to get the carrots or squash inside an egg shell? An image of lab coated scientists injecting eggs with syringes hatched in my brain.

This quickly led to the question of what in the world the vegetarian egg shells were made out of and how were they able to make them look and feel just like real egg shells?

It was all too clever and interesting for words.

Is there nothing we can’t adulterate to resemble something familiar? We have soy milk cartons standing shoulder to shoulder with cartons of cow milk and packets of tofu crumble coloured to look like cooked hamburger and now vegetarian eggs right next to the ones laid by chickens. Technology sure is something.

But wait. I was mistaken. Turns out vegetarian eggs aren’t made out of vegetables at all. Instead they are eggs laid by vegetarian chickens. This discovery just opened up a whole new can of worms.

Speaking of which, if you did open a can of worms chickens would eat them. Chickens love worms. They love all kinds of insects too. That’s why they’re always scratching around the farm yard. They’re omnivore’s not just herbivore — which means being a vegetarian is not natural.

And don’t we want natural? We hate the idea of chickens stuffed into their battery cages where they never see the sun or scratch in the dirt. We can’t have it both ways. If a chicken is free ranging around and scratches up a worm, or if a bug happens to come along and land on a blade of grass, the chicken isn’t going to think, “Oh, I better not. I’m not supposed to have any meat. I’m a vegetarian chicken, don’t you know.”

Though sometimes free range just means they’re being raised in a barn that’s so crowded they can barely turn around instead of in a cage so small they can barely turn around.

Or they’re outside, but the outdoor pen is so crowded they can barely move. It’s hard. People want cheap food, and farmers want to actually be able to make a living. Farmers are funny that way. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that there are two sides to every story.

But this vegetarian egg thing just kills me. I mean it’s ridiculous. An egg is simply one rooster and 21 incubation days away from being a chicken. No matter what you do to a chicken it will never be a vegetable. I don’t care how many greens you stuff down its gullet or how many worms you snatch from its beak.

If you’re simply looking for eggs laid by happy chickens, your best bet is to find someone who has a small free range flock on their farm and a few extra eggs they are willing to sell you. It’s trendy right now to keep a couple chickens in the city, but I’m not so sure that’s the happiest thing for the chicken.

I think some people were misled by seeing too many episodes of Friends where Chandler and Joey have a duck and a chicken free ranging around their apartment. You can’t house train a chicken. Or a duck. Speaking as a person who has cleaned out more than her share of chicken coops, chicken feces are both nasty and prolific. You’d only need to step on one gluey pile of poop before you would see the need for keeping your cluckers in a cage.

Even if you don’t live in an apartment and are able to keep your chickens in your backyard, you will still need to protect them from dogs, cats and neighbourhood children which would also mean putting them in a cage.

It seems to me that pretty soon the only difference between privately caged chickens and commercially caged chickens is that the commercially caged ones are guaranteed regular feed and water.

However, if you have enough space to build a safe roomy run and an insulated coop, and if you truly do have the time to look after your chickens day in and day out, then you can have your omelettes and enjoy them too. But that still won’t make them vegetarian.

Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace River country. You can reach her by email at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

A candlelight vigil will be held in Red Deer on Thursday to honour the 350-plus people killed in the Easter bombing attack in Sri Lanka. Contributed photo
Candlelight vigil planned for deaths linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak

A candlelight vigil is being planned for those who died due to… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Jaxsen Wiebe battles Calgary Hitmen forward Cael Zimmerman for a loose puck when the two teams squared off in February last season. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Calgary Hitmen shutout Red Deer Rebels

Rebels name centre Jayden Grubbe team captain ahead of Friday’s game

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

A trial countdown sign marks the days at George Floyd Square, March 4, 2021, in Minneapolis. Ten months after police officers brushed off George Floyd's moans for help on the street outside a south Minneapolis grocery, the square remains a makeshift memorial for Floyd who died at the hand of police making an arrest. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will begin with jury selection on March 8. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Officer’s trial could reopen intersection where Floyd died

MINNEAPOLIS — During a group’s recent meeting at the now-vacant Speedway gas… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2020 file photo Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell calls for an end to violence in the city during a news conference a day after a demonstrator was shot and killed in downtown Portland. Amid protests following the police killing of George Floyd last year Portland dissolved a special police unit designed to focus on gun violence. Critics say the squad unfairly targeted Black people, but gun violence and homicides have since spiked in Oregon's largest city, and some say disbanding the 35-officer unit was a mistake. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP, File)
As violence surges, some question Portland axing police unit

PORTLAND, Ore. — Elmer Yarborough got a terrifying call from his sister:… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Just don’t call it cod liver oil

Many people swear that a daily dose of various vitamins is an… Continue reading

Letter: Preserving green spaces in Red Deer

The Advocate published an article Feb. 11 about Sunnybrook residents concerned about… Continue reading

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Most Read