Our final WOOFing venture in Korea has been on a chicken farm south east of Seoul. We travelled by Metro for an hour to reach Ungilsen station. Byung Su and Eun Ha have about 4,500 laying hens plus about 1,000 month old chicks. They are kept in greenhouses covered with black net which have been made into chicken houses. Apparently it is difficult to get a building permit to construct a chicken house, but permits are not required for greenhouses.
Our main job was to collect the 2,000 - 3,000 eggs each day. We did a morning pick up and then again about 3pm. The cages had nesting boxes, filled with rice husks, where most hens laid but they also found little spots to lay in the cage. Each cage had about 3 roosters and Sven got the job of going into the cage to search for eggs as sometimes the roosters objected to intrusions into their "harems". You learnt not to turn your back to them and on occasion a boot had to be strategically "gently" placed to deter their advances!
The chickens were fed ground corn in the morning and some afternoons we wheelbarrowed corn silage, boxes of lettuce and other greens, or weeds and grass cut on the property and mulched in a machine for their afternoon "snack". We often caught glimpses of rats who were living the high life with abundant food supplies.
On the farm there were also some goats in a pen, two geese and a dog.
We also had time for some other jobs. We finished weeding grapes which were lying on the ground since their greenhouse had been blown away in a typhoon. We put carpet down to keep the weeds at bay and fastened them up on structure. We also planted onions and corn. The corn came up in 4 days!
Another job was to wipe the not-too-dirty eggs before they were put into the chiller. They had an automatic washer for the dirtiest ones.
Our room was a converted container with a shade roof and showers at one end. Long drop composting toilets were a short walk away. I found myself a convenient little container for night use so I didn't have to brave snakes and spiders enroute to the toilet at night! We saw a few snakes here - one I nearly ran over on the bike, one Sven cornered near the door to the shower room and one was just wiggling across the driveway.
Our kitchen was in a big greenhouse with open sides. Eun Ha cooked us lunch each day and sometimes dinner. We got our own breakfast and guess what we ate just about every day? No not rice - eggs! Quite often for lunch it would be cold noodles in ice cubes made with different broths which was good on hot days. It is beginning to get warmer, about 30 degrees during the day, but interspersed with cooler days and rain. Summer is rainy season here.
The farm had bikes for us to use and several evenings we would head off down the nearby bike trail that followed the river. On our day off we heading in another direction along the river past so many coffee shops and restaurants. It is a popular spot for Seoul apartment dwellers to visit on the weekends for hiking and biking.
We spent an afternoon at the river market where there were about 200 stalls of crafts and food. So many stalls were giving out free samples of their food. One evening after having dinner in a traditional Korean restaurant - where the food just keeps coming and coming- they took us to walk around a lotus flower park where the huge leafed plants were just beginning to flower.
During our stay at the chicken farm, I have been finding out lots about chickens and eggs. Where would we be without Google! When I thought about it, I didn't really know exactly how an egg was formed but found a short U-tube video "How An Egg is Made" which enlightened me. I also wondered why do chickens cluck when they lay an egg? How many eggs do hens lay a year? Why do some people trim their hens beaks? How long can eggs last for in the fridge - this one surprised me! How can you stop a hen being clucky (broody). Why are some eggs brown and some whIte? Did you know that white eggs are most often laid by white or light coloured hens with white ear lobes, while brown eggs are most often laid by red-feathered or brown / dark-feathered chickens with red ear lobes. Ear lobes? Chickens have ears? So now I had to Google chicken ear lobes!!
We saw a few eggs actually popping out while collecting the eggs and some were still wet. I learnt the correct term for the egg laying orifice - cloaca (Latin for common sewer) as eggs, feces and urine all use the same vent.
So that's your trivia for this time!
We have now flown 3 hours and arrived in Mongolia. We join the Intrepid Travel trip tomorrow. Always interesting to see who our travelling companions will be.