I have 6 hens - 2 started laying last week - 1 is close, but the other 3 are at least a month away from eggs. The ones that seemed to have lost weight are the 2 that are laying. I feed them Purina Layena mixed with some Flock Raiser I had. I have feed in the coop and outside the coop. They are locked in their coop until about 7 or 8am. They are in a run (with access to the coop) until I let them out for 1-2 hours most afternoons. Some of the feed is gone out of the feeder in the coop (eaten when they wake up) but the feeder outside the coop is barely touched. I give them BOSS in the afternoon to have them come back to the run. I also offer some of the feed in a bowl with water to make a mash but they don't always eat it. Please don't tell me to change feed - I have alot of feed. I don't think I should offer scratch because I think they will eat even less of the feed if they hold out for the scratch. When I go into the run in the afternoon, I change their water and pick up poo & they talk and talk to me. Then they rush the gate when I leave so that they can free range. I like to let them free range but I can't everyday. I know they have been getting some nutrition free ranging. I have stopped giving treats about a week ago to encourage pellet eating. Questions: 1. Do hens lose weight when they first start laying? 2. Should I not let them free range until they start eating the feed? 3. I read some people give a handful of scratch before going to roost when it's cold, should I do that, too? (we frequently get nights into the 20's-30's) but then they may not eat their pellets if they rely on the scratch. 4. Should I be concerned - will they eat when they get hungry enough? I am worried that with the cold weather and weight loss that I may lose them.