So, we have our first flock of 13 chickens (and 5 guineas), currently 18 weeks old. As far as I know no one has started laying yet. A few weeks ago we opened the pen door and said "Have at it Ladies!". My hopes are that they will free range and eat our bugs and greens, and not require too much in the way of feed. (Though, silly me, I wasn't counting on the poop everywhere!) We are in a pretty rural area on 5.5 ac, with lots of open grassy area and some woods. Around us are farms and other houses with similar sized lots, some woods, and farm fields. We are pretty far off a quiet road. I give the girls some kitchen and garden scraps. Usually fruits and veggies, but the occasional rice or stale bread as well. I haven't been doing much in the garden lately and they have full access. I used wheat straw as mulch and they have been pecking and scratching in there a lot. They also have been eating watermelons, pumpkins, and tons of tomatoes left in the garden. I usually fill their feeder about 1/3 full at some point in the day (7lb. feeder) and make sure they have fresh water. Since they seem to love it, and my little boys love passing it out, we also toss out some oats when we go out. (Probably a cup or two a day total, not rolled oats.) They forage in the garden, wander around the lawn, and in to the woods for hours on end. Always pecking and scratching. They can also be found under bushes or evergreen trees seeming to be chilling out or napping for fair portions of the day. I want to encourage them to forage, but I also don't want them to be underfed. They usually come running whenever we go out but I am not sure if it is because they are hungry or hoping for oats or another treat! My question for anyone else who free ranges is: How can I tell if they are getting enough?????