I have a mixed flock with a handful of layers + roo eating layer feed. They free range all day until they are ready to sleep.
My next batch of chicks is approaching 10 weeks of age, and they now also free range. They are penned with younger chicks (who are feathered, but still susceptible to ravens I think), so I pretty much lock the older ones out of their pen and let them back in to eat a couple times a day. When they come in to roost, they find a shelf in the barn, and I have to shoo them back into their pen or pick them up. Huge pain.
They'd love to join the layers. I've read that putting the layers on starter/grower is an option (I have unmedicated for my ducks). Do I need to supplement oyster shell, since they all free range? If I do, will the chicks not eat it too, still getting too much calcium in their diet?
Even better, could I just put them all on whole grains since they forage all day? Too little protein for the chicks still? I've read that some people only feed their free rangers in the Winter, and I'd love to reduce the amount of commercial feed fed to my girlies.
Any advice would be great, I've been too nervous to switch because I'm uncertain!