Ever tried to eat Guinea Fowl? Guess what, they taste just like chicken, only better. More flavourful and more nutritious. At least, that’s what I’m told.
Yesterday I was invited by Mr. Caseh Teh, the owner of Ostrich Wonderland in Semenyih, Selangor, to revisit his farm and take a look at his guinea fowl and poultry business, which operates on the same site, under the official name of Mutiara Chicken.
It was nice to see the ostriches again, who were looking contented and well looked after in their spacious enclosures.
Since my last visit in 2013 (read blog here), one of the ostriches has become a celebrity. She’s named Chickaboo, the runaway pet ostrich who became a YouTube sensation when filmed jogging down Kuala Lumpur’s Federal Highway after escaping from a moving vehicle. It must have been a scary experience for poor Chickaboo but she is now enjoying her film star status at Ostrich Wonderland.
While ostriches are popular as a tourist attraction, Mr. Teh says they are not so profitable to farm commercially and in particular they do not like Malaysia’s rainy weather, being originally more accustomed to the arid regions of Africa. For this reason, Mr. Teh has diversified into farming guinea fowl, various popular and exotic chicken breeds, goats and other animals.
He currently has around 5,000 guinea fowls. They are mostly of the grey, helmeted variety. They are gentle and timid and you have to move slowly around them to avoid disturbing and agitating the whole flock.
Did you know?
The correct collective for a group of guinea fowl is a confusion which sounds rather silly but is quite apt given their skittish behaviour. The cute baby guinea fowl are called keets.
Guinea fowl originate from African tropical forests. They are hardy and disease resistant which makes them easy to raise. They are an active avian producing tender, nutritious meat which is more tasty than regular chicken. The meat contains more amino acids and less fat and cholesterol.
Mr. Teh told me that an ambassador from a West African country is a good customer of his for guinea fowl meat saying that the gamey flavour is more popular with Africans than white meat chicken.
Mutiara Chicken stocks a wide variety of free-range chickens including:
- Kampung Chicken
- San Huang Chicken
- Mini Cochin Chicken
- Curly Feather Chicken
- Onagadori (Yokohama)
- China Black Chicken
- Wen Chang Chicken
- Batik Chicken
- Castrated Chicken – Ayam Sunat
- White Silky Chicken
- White Polish Chicken
- Black Polish Chicken
The castrated chickens are said to be sought after for their flavour while the ingredients for Hainan Chicken and black chicken soup can be obtained here. All the birds are slaughtered onsite under hygienic conditions and frozen meat is on sale in the shop.
Ring Necked Pheasant can also be seen here as well as turkey (Ayam Belanda). Ayam Belanda translates as Dutch chicken. Malaysians like to name animals after the Dutch – the Malay word for proboscis monkey is Orang Belanda meaning Dutch Man!)
Gaggles of geese and ducks wander around the farm, giving a very tranquil, pastoral atmosphere to the place.
All the plants growing on the farm seem to have their purpose and uses. This clump of bamboo for example provides shade to the pony and chickens while dried bamboo leaves make comfortable bedding material for the hatchling enclosures.
Mr. Teh used to grow organic vegetables but he found that they require too much attention to prevent insect attack and, once ripe, they have a short shelf life. So instead he has given over the space to grow mulberry bushes which bear edible fruit while the leaves are used to make healthy mulberry tea.
Visitors are welcome to tour the farm as part of their Ostrich Wonderland admission. School excursions are also welcome by prior arrangement.
You can find details of location, opening hours and admission fee on my Malaysia Traveller website.