Not a good idea - a fat hen will have more health problems and will also be less productive. There is a thread here that is quite large, on Fermented Feed, where a lot of this has been discussed at length recently (and ongoing). Give me a moment to look up the thread name, and I will get back to you with the exact name.
I have feed available 24/7 for my girls. (In a feeder that is rat, mouse & wild bird proof) They free range all day, but have the option to have the feed too. I guess it would only be a problem if you had chickens that were prone to over eat. My chook are fine...just the right weight.
I have been using a small dish of fermented feed, just the last couple of weeks too; & think the girls are the better for it. I dont have many chooks
The name of the thread is Fermented feeds?
and if you click on the above, it will take you to it. Bee has some great posts in it, she also free ranges all day, then feeds just a bit in the evening, just what they will eat in 15 minutes, and does tweaks depending on the condition of her chickens. She has a great deal of experience.
Personally I see it as a waste of feed to leave it out 24/7 if you free range. Let them be the birds they are and forage. I feed my mixed flock of 40 about 4 - 5 cups of feed in the morning and make them forage for the rest. I do toss out kitchen scraps as I have them.
I agree. I've even taken to cutting down my feed ration even more to about 1 1/2 c. of FF for a flock of 14 and they are ranging better than ever, legs are getting more orange and they are getting more exercise....even better for them than feed we can provide.
They are ranging out further from the coop and structures now and utilizing the whole 3 acre meadow, whereas before they were sticking close to about one acre.
This is high foraging months and bugs are aplenty, so it's all free food that is better nutrition than I can provide from grains.