How do you know the difference in the quality of food? Take an egg, for example. An egg is an egg is an egg is an egg, right? After having guineas on our farm for over two years now, we have learned that the answer to that questions is a big, steadfast NO!
You can get a chicken to lay an egg if they are fed organic, non-organic, soy, or soy-free. You can get a chicken to lay an egg if they are factory farmed and confined to small, tight spaces, or if they live on a holistic farm and are allowed to free range on grassy and/or woodland pastures. The beauty of an egg, however, is that you can literally SEE and TASTE the difference. There are even subtle nuances between two eggs that come from two different farms that value similar farming practices.
Now multiply this "difference" in sight and taste by 10. Divide it by 3. Take out the remainder of 5. Add two and multiply it by 25. WOW.
No need to do math. Just look at the pictures on this blog post, and, folks, meet the GUINEA EGG!
On our farm we refer to guinea eggs simply as, . . . drum roll, please . . .
The Golden Egg.
We believe this wholeheartedly. No family member or friend gets to try guinea eggs unless there is a special reason to give them some. Right now, they are the caviar of our woods, a seasonal delicacy to be savored, and, well, sautéed in a pan, preferably with a nice amount of butter or lard. Guinea egg yolk was the first thing our daughter ate as she began to try food at 6 months old.
You can think of many reasons why a guinea egg could be compared to gold. These reasons have many positive connotations associated with them. All of them apply.
Let's take a brief intermission and get one thing straight before I continue to travel with you down this blog post. Guineas are loud and difficult to train. They have a couple negative stigmas attached to them and there is a lot of truth to them. But if someone looks beyond, and can get past the occasional loud "BUCK WHEAT, BUCK WHEAT, BUCK WHEAT" and "CHI-CHI-CHI-CHI-CHI" noises, it's well worth it.
Guineas are the feathered version of a livestock guardian dog. They are ever watchful, curious little creatures that will sound the alarm if there is a predator, especially aerial. They can run so fast they look like they are flying on a broomstick. If anything is different on our farm, they are there to check it out. Was the wheelbarrow left in a different place? Was there a shovel left on the ground? The guineas know, trust me. They have a way about them of sticking their necks out really far and bobbing their heads up and down if they are cautious of something new. We jokingly mimic this all the time.
Our guineas have access to the same fermented organic, soy and corn free, non-gmo grain that our chickens do. They are happy to eat it, but in the spring, summer, and fall, that is just a small supplement to their diet of bugs, grasses, strawberries (they love them), field mice, toads, salamanders, etc. They fend for themselves a lot of the time, certainly a very good trait to have for a farmer's pocketbook.
Our guineas hide their nests in the thicket of the woods, never more than a couple hundred feet from their coop. The guinea cock builds the nest. He picks the perfect spot and rubs his body against the ground to create a nest indentation. The hens then use this nest every day. He stands guard while they lay. The ultimate companion.
We love our guineas at our farm. With their unique appearance, speed, vigor, nimbleness, and curiosity they are one of the animals that are an absolute pleasure to have around. Best of all, they have retained a lot of the wild traits that have been bred out of chickens. A guinea cock will not run the hens ragged and is an absolute protector, willing to sacrifice his life in order for the hen (or hens) to be safe.
Most of all, guineas are a true testament to what food looks like if animals are raised how they should be: lots of space and freedom to roam freely, foraging for high quality, natural food.
It is our farm family's opinion that no egg will ever compare to the little oval shells filled with "caviar" that we get from our woods. The Golden Egg.