I have absolutely no experience with chickens, and my wife recalls having some as a young kid but not much details. We picked up 3 chicks, two Black Jersey Giants born Feb 11th and one Black Sex Link born Feb 18th. The store recommended a 20 pound bag of purina starter feed, so we bought that.
We also have little girls almost 2 years old who throw more food on the floor than they eat (at least it seems that way). So when the chicks were around 5 weeks old we started giving them our kids leftovers, mainly stuff like boiled vegetables, whole grain rice/cerals/breads, and occasionally meat or eggs. I bought some pet bird grit/gravel at the supermarket and gave them that too.
Now that they're bigger, I hung a feeder in their run and dumped the last of the starter feed in there. So here come the questions:
What is the next food I should use? I bought a 50 pound bag of Purina "Flock Raiser Crumbles" , before I open it I want confirmation that's the right stuff?
What is the next grit I should use? The first feed store I went to didn't have grit at all, the next one had two types in bulk (fill your own bag), one called pigeon grit and one called mineral grit. I bought the mineral grit.... it's very tiny pebbles and a few flakes, as opposed to sand like the pet-bird stuff... is that the right stuff?
Regarding leaving a feeder hanging, does it matter if it gets wet? Will that affect the food or anything else? I'm wondering if I should move it to under the coop where it won't get rained on, although more awkward to hang and fill...
Regarding feeding the chickens kitchen scraps. As mentioned, right now we're just giving them the food my girls throw on the floor, but I wonder if they eat kitchen scraps that people don't normally eat like fruit peels (banana/orange/kiwi/etc) and the leaves from strawberries, etc. And if yes, do I need to cut them up?