HI, I have 15 RIR (except they appear to be sex-links) pullets. The guy at Cooperative Extension said not to give them anything but chick feed until after 8 weeks, so as not to throw their diets off balance or upset their stomachs. Which makes some sense, but as I read this forum, it's obvious that many of you are putting your chicks outside almost from day one, so clearly those babies are getting food other than chick starter! I can't easily put mine outside as the brooder is too big to fit through the door and I don't have a secure place for them outside (soon, but not quite yet). So - can I give them fruit and vegetable trimmings (no pesticides, of course!), grass clippings, things like that? And if I do, do I need to give them grit? And if I give them grit, what kind do I use? I read about someone using parakeet grit, but I checked the ingredients and it has oyster shells - one book I read said to be careful chicks don't get too much calcium because it can damage their kidneys...how much is too much?! And is there anything they shouldn't have at all? Can I give them a pan of dirt in the brooder to dig and dust in? The brooder is a 4 ft x 4ft box, so they have a fair amount of room, but I'd like to give them more to occupy them as they get bigger. They are on non medicated feed, but get Terramycin in their water. Which brings up another question: how long should I use the antibiotic? Some sources say eight weeks, others say twelve. I know some people don't use it at all. And what about chick starter - how long do I use that before switching to a grower ration? Or do I skip right to a layer feed since I'm not raising meat birds? Or do I just run screaming from the room??!!! Aside from all this, I'm having a ball watching them grow up. Though I ordered RIRs, it seems that the majority are sex-links, which brings me to my final (for now!) question. Are the feathers they have now, at 4 weeks, the same color as their adult plumage, or are they likely to change? I ask because some are red, some are cream/tan, some are tan with red markings, some are kind of mottled red and tan or red and cream. They're very pretty, especially a couple of them, but I'd be delighted if they stayed more or less the colors they are now, because then I'll be able to tell them apart! Well, sorry for the LONG post, but I had lots of questions. Thank you in advance for any advice y'all can give me.