This is a guest post by Nadja from the San Fran area. She E-mailed me this and I think she shares some good advice. Thanks Nadja!
Please remind people to always provide laying hens with free choice oyster shell and a source of grit and to not give more treats than they can easily clean up in fifteen minute. I am involved with the chicken community in the SF Bay Area since moving down here, and most of the problems people have seem to be related to having seen too many movies where all the chickens were fed was scratch. Not only do excessive grain treats cause obesity, they imbalance the ration and can cause deficiencies. Obesity is linked to egg binding and other problems. I have seen hens driven to premature molt by well-intentioned owners who didn’t provide layer feed and provided scratch as the sole diet on the assumption that “free range” in the backyard would fulfill most of the poor biddies nutritional needs. A suggestion you could make is growing a little kale and chard for the girls as treat material; they like it, and in moderate amounts (that fifteen minutes or less to eat it), it is a good dietary addition.