In back of La Provence, a restaurant in Lacombe, La., across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, 30 hens spend their days catching insects and worms and pecking at kitchen scraps—especially carrot and beet peelings, crawfish heads and other foods that will give their eggs’ yolks a deep orange color. They also peck at ground oyster shells, for calcium. At night they go into their coop and lay eggs. “These birds are specifically designed as egg layers,” says Steve McHugh, ...

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