Before I ask my question I want to state that I understand not everyone agrees with removing commercial feeds from chickens diet. A lot of people believe that it's what chickens have always eaten so why change. I totally understand this and support your ability to have your own opinion. I don't want to create a bash session just a discussion. That being said: many of my clients up here in New England (Vermont to be precise) are looking for eggs that are fed not using commercial grains. By nature I feel that raising animals needs to be done by looking at the animal and what they are designed to do and allowing that to take place if at all possible. My horse is raised on hay and pasture and I am not feeding her commercial grains. It isn't what she would eat in the wild so I don't want her to eat it here. In researching how to feed my chickens a balanced diet I have come across something that was very interesting. We have a company in our state called Vermont Compost Company that makes it's own compost using food waste from neighboring restaurants as the basic supply for their compost but also accepting compost materials ( veggies, meat, dairy etc ) from people in the area as well who drop it off. They use chickens (hundreds of chickens) to turn their compost piles and in return the chickens eat nothing but the items in the compost piles (food scraps, bugs, etc) year round (including Vermont's 3 month + winters) and are able to produce as many eggs as layers fed on pelleted feed. They have a video showing the farm and talking to the owner. He does not restrain his chickens at all. They have access to a large barn style coop to lay eggs but are allowed to come and go as they please. Geoff Lawton made a mobile version of their method and put it into practice and produced great results. I would love to try something like this ( even if I can only do it during the three months we aren't buried in snow). I am considering a composting area with a cover to protect it from snow that the chickens would have access to 24/7 where I could add kitchen scraps, manure, hay, shavings etc for a coop containing about 16 chickens and one rooster. It would not need to be at the grand scale done by Vermont Composting but a similar system scaled down to the amount of birds I have. I would love peoples thoughts on what you have done to eliminate commercial feeds from your chickens diets and how it has worked for you.