First post here (of many to come I am sure...). I was surprise gifted 2 chickens (a hen and a roo) from my grandfather in June. They were eating scratch before coming to me and were hatched around April (making them around 6-10 weeks old when they arrived at my place). Upon arrival I free ranged them and fed them layer food (rolling acres from TSC) twice a day (morning and night). The rooster got sick and died from what looked like a full crop (gassey like sour crop, listless and walking around with his beak open) and the hen had the same symptoms. Upon switching back to scratch on the advisement of my grandpa the hen recovered. He gave me another roo (who is a jerkoff) who also free ranges and eats scratch. I KNOW they should not eat long grass and are more susceptible to worms as free range chickens however 2 weeks ago I tried switching them to a mix of scratch and layer food. ONCE AGAIN they became ill (listless, full crops and walking around with open beaks). I switched them to scratch again and voila, back to normal... I can not find ONE thing to point to layer feed causing problems for anyone else on the internet and have read more of the harm scratch can do but i can not get my chickens on pellets for fear of losing them. One other note... when i feed them they seem ravenous. I fear if i leave the food out all the time they could be more susceptible to predators as i read that it is more the food that animals are drawn to rather than the actual chickens themselves. They are lightly fenced in a large area to keep them from pooping on my patio as they previously did but not enough to keep a hungry coyote out. Let me know if i am leaving out crucial information, I am not so much looking for a diagnosis but rather someone who may have had the same experience with feeding their chickens pellets and possibly what i should try from here (i also worry they are not getting enough protein and nutrients from the junk food scratch they are eating). Thanks all.