My neighbors went on a family ski trip and fortunately I was asked to check on their chickens while they were away. These are "pet" chickens, living with a family of three young primary caretakers. They built a nice safe coop for the chickens. They roam the yard and are often picked up and loved. These are really healthy, "spoiled" chickens that are layers, they are not for "dinner".
They have a flock of six chickens, three white and three brown feathered... which means you get a combo of brown and white eggs. During this time of year you get one egg per chicken, laying all their eggs typically before noon.
The first day Anthony and our doggie Simba joined me to check in on the chickens. I never knew chickens were so eager to EAT. My neighbors eldest child gives them cooked oatmeal each morning. I decided to bring down a bowl for them. It was devoured in about ten seconds! Thank goodness I was thinking "possible dog fight behavior" and brought separate bowls. The chickens REALLY like oatmeal. There was a lot of commotion, cackling, beak slapping on the container, and wing puffing. The next day Simba and I brought down triple the amount and bigger bowls. They really enjoyed their reward for laying six lovely eggs.
You can't force a chicken to lay - we only got five eggs 1 day.
When you buy "standard - cheap" eggs at the grocery, chickens are raised in a way that is NOT comparable to the Norman Rockwell farm imagery of our youth. Every time I would drive down to Georgia, crossing the state of South Carolina, I would run into a chicken truck. That for me was enough to make me at a minimum seek out cage free eggs. That's at least a step in the right direction. If you can find a local farmer offering free range chicken eggs and you can SEE the treatment, that of course if the best source for cruelty free eggs.
You as a consumer CAN make a difference. Chickens are COOL. I'm so glad my neighbor SHARES their bounty with us. It's WONDERFUL.