I got a bag of about 60kg whole mielies at a guy in Bapsfontein for R100. I don't really give my chickens growing mesh or whatever (they look for their own food lol). I usually only give them a scoop full of crushed mixed foul food in the morning when I open the coop. The rest of the day they eat berries and greens and goggas and anything they can find. I get a 10kg bag at NWK for R55, which lasts me a month and a half (depends on if I have chicks or not. If I have chicks, I feed them alot more). I tried giving them laying mesh once... Waste of money. They don't want to eat it. I just mix their eggshells in with the mielies, and they eat that. A new thing I still want to try, that they say is very good for your chickens, is picking mulberry leaves, cutting it up and feeding them to the chickens at noon. We have 3 trees here. I gave them a handfull as a test run, and they chomped it up.
Sorry to hear of your loss nanna. Glad to hear though that your hen is okay.
I am realising more and more that my little flock is protected by a supernatural power, even though I lose a few chickens here and there. Newcastle disease is making it's rounds here in the area. Yesterday I heard about one guy that lost like thousand chickens A DAY! About 6 other people that I know of, inclucing my neighbour, lost their whole flock. It's terrible! I only had one chicken that got ill, and he's doing quite fine now (I'll try and post some pictures in a bit).
Our landlord's dogs killed about 10 of our chickens over the past 2 years. I prayed about it. And since then, even though they catch the chickens, they didn't kill another one after that (my poor rooster got half of his feathers pulled out. 2X! But he is still going strong that ol' Diehard!).
The cats and mongoose stay away from my chickens, although people on the same property lose their geese and ducks to them.
One month we didn't have the funds to buy chicken food... We woke up one morning and outside our gate, on the sidewalk, a truck stopped and lost a whole heap of mielies, drove away without picking it up. We had enough mielies for 3 months! Prayers really work lol. Even in the smallest things we take for granted.