I'm new to keeping a flock, so I apologize for the newbie question. First some background... I have six happy ladies (5 Ameraucanas and 1 Orpington) who have a converted cedar playhouse as a coop and 13 acres to free range. I brought them home mid-July when they were supposed to be 10-12 weeks. They're friendly, they seem happy and healthy, they're not laying yet but I attribute that to the cold and the short days right now here in Connecticut. My question is about the amount and type of food that I'm giving them. They ate starter feed until 18 weeks when I switched to layer, and I feed them from a hanging feeder that is always available in the coop. They mainly only eat from that in the morning before I come to let them out of the coop. We have very sandy soil--our house was built on a former gravel pit so it's very sandy--so I don't supplement with grit or oyster shells. I keep reading about giving chickens "only so much" food or only giving them what they will eat in 15 minutes and this completely baffles me. My ladies eat for 90% of their waking hours. They scratch and forage all day long. So what in the world does that "only feed them so much" mean? The ladies aren't huge, in fact the other day when it was pouring rain and they all got soaked, I cold see that they still look so little under all those feathers! So...am I doing something wrong? Should I not free-feed them in the coop? Should I add grit? Should I be adding any supplements to their water (I keep reading about that, too)? Is there anything that I'm not doing that I should? I mean, they seem perfectly fine and healthy (except for not laying, but I'm trying to be patient about that) but since this is my first go around raising hens, I'm doubting myself. Thanks everyone, in advance, for your input!