Chickens aren't fooled by our latest snowfall. They know that the days are getting longer. (It doesn't hurt that we've increased their supplemental light hours, too.) Until today my record production day from this young flock was 2 eggs. Today the ladies have started working in earnest with this 11-egg haul.
In addition, I've noticed the ducks "mating" again, so they must be getting ready to lay soon, too. With our last thaw I've been letting ducks run loose instead of shutting them in their house at night. They visit the chicken pen for food, bathe in an outdoor pan that I keep filled, and sleep wherever they like (barn, duck house, or under the porch). They have found ample forage in the yard and pasture. When they start laying, though, I'll need to reimpose some structure on their ducky lives. Ducks usually lay in the morning and can be let out to forage after that, but they do not return to their house at dusk as reliably as chickens do. Perhaps they should be confined with the pigs. Then, the job of collecting duck eggs can fall to Trudy and Buttercup for their protein and calcium rations.