I am very new at chickens (in fact, my very first batch of chicks aren't even arriving until April). I decided on chickens last spring and have been doing a ton of research since (and building my coop). I'm finally ready and have ordered my chickens (I'm not sure I'm going to make it to April, I can barely sleep now with excitement). I want chickens for eggs only (I'm a vegetarian but family members may be eating some of the meaner girls). I purchased a variety of chick breeds from McMurray; some of them are egg layers like leghorns and EEer mutts but most are dual purpose like stars, orpintons, marans, wyandottes, one lone jersey giant, etc. I went with a variety because I want different colored eggs, a beautiful assortment of hens/colors and hens that are cold tolerant and (hopefully) lay some in winter as I'm in cold Maine. We'll see. I may have made a huge mistake. My question (finally) is this: what do you feed your dual purpose hens? The books I've read (including Chickens for Dummies) only specify what "layers" and "meat" birds eat, not dual purpose. My gut says that since they'll be laying they eat layer rations once they reach sexual maturity. Could they also eat meat feed with extra calcium on the side? What about when they arrive as chicks? Please help and tell me what you feed! Thanks a ton!