When we set out to raise chicken for our own eggs, we wanted to make sure that their nourishment was in keeping with our own philosophy of diversity, eating a rainbow. Some village locals told us just to throw them some wheat or corn to supplement the grasses and forage, but I wanted to create a mixture that would keep them healthy and provide a balanced diet without spending a fortune. You can find a variety of options for pre-mixed chicken feed in your local forage shop, which can cost roughly 1lv/kg, but I wanted to limit the additives and also add more diverse elements.
I don’t have a scientific background in chicken nutrition, which is why I have relied on the Storey Guide to Raising Chickens to provide me with guidance for building a complete feed. The problem with the books that I use as references are from the United States, so not all recommendations offered are readily available in Bulgaria, or at least, I haven’t been able to source certain ingredients yet. I have had difficulty finding bone meal (костно брашно) and soybean meal in Kyustendil, so I use sunflower meal (кюспе).
My mix changes with the season, but mostly with what ingredients my local forage supplier has on hand. For a few months, he had dried green peas, and recently he had sorghum.
In the winter I add an extra kilogram of corn to help increase the chicken’s energy, so they can generate more heat.
Casey’s Chicken Feed
24kg coarsely ground grains
- 9kg corn
- 5kg wheat
- 5kg oats
- 5kg millet
*If peas are available, I will substitute 1kg of peas for 1kg of corn
*If sorghum is available I will reduce the wheat, oats, and millet to 4kg and add 3kg of sorghum.
10kg sunflower meal
8kg wheat bran & rice bran (50/50)
1kg dried milk
200g Himalayan salt
Coursely grind will a mill and mix.
*Angel and I use an old cement mixer to ensure all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
*The total cost our mixture is about .50-.60 ct./kg,
We get 9 eggs a day from our 9 hens, pretty consistently… one hen is not laying, currently, because she is brooding. She is incubating 5 chicken and 6 duck eggs.
It is difficult for us to eat all the eggs ourselves, so I usually give eggs to my inlaws and friends. Their feedback was reassuring. My mother-in-law was amazed at how yellow the eggs were, compared to other free-range chicken eggs and my friends remarked on how strong the shells were compared to eggs they usually get from the market.
I have been using this recipe for over two years, my birds are healthy and happy. They live outside in our self-designed chicken house with access to fresh grass and clovers sown specifically for their eating pleasure. Raising chickens is a worthwhile endeavor and I would encourage anyone that loves fresh eggs to consider getting a few.