I don't pretend to be an expert about Chickens, I am just going by what my Girlfriend's parent's chickens are like.
There are about 7 of them. They are only females, no rooster involved. They feed the chickens a mix of a ton of seeds and other various things. We go give them plant scraps. When they were young, I am told, they laid eggs almost every day.
My girlfriend is telling me that they would normally eat the eggs to recupe the energy they lost during the production of the egg itself, in the wild, but she has never seen them eat any of the eggs they have laid. They tend to prefer the food we give them. My GFs parents have never seen that either.
I can understand the logic you said about taking eggs is like stealing. I am not sure what these chickens would do if we kept feeding them but didnt take their eggs. Would they eat them, or would they go bad? I am not sure.
Either way, these chickens live a pretty good life. They get to run around and dig in the dirt. There is a big area they can roam, but they tend to stay near the coop. We let them out almost every day. I love hearing them clucking and moving around outside.
I am not trying to defend any actions or anything. I have yet to eat any of their eggs, and even if I did it would be a very rare thing. Hopefully my thoughts dont make anyone angry. I want the best for the animals and maybe I dont know enough to justify what I am saying. Learning as I go