Spring seems to have raised the chickens' spirits as much as our own. As the last few weeks of winter dwindled away, the girls seemed more subdued and lethargic than their usual noisy, clucking, scratching, and strutting selves. And on top of this, egg production slowed down substantially, even stopping completely for about 2 weeks. We thought a nice improvised dust bath in their pen would cheer them up since one of their favorite activities is to dig up big dirt holes in the yard in the warmer months, when we can bring them outside, and bask in a fresh coat of nice refreshing dirt... So we filled a cardboard box with some sand and put it in their pen, expecting an outpouring of joy and gratitude as the girls enjoyed their very own dust bath. Surely this would raise their spirits? No dice. Other than pecking a hole in the cardboard file box, they couldnt have cared less. One of them even pooped in the "dust bath". We like to think it wasnt intentional to show us what they think of their dust bath... Well, just as we were beginning to contemplate whether the chickens might be ill and require a trip to the vet, the days began to get longer and temperatures began rising out of the arctic lows of this past winter. Eggs began appearing in the nesting box again, and the daily morning racket of clucking and screeching and scratching and flapping around has returned. Now we are getting just as many, if not perhaps more eggs as we were before, and the girls seem like their old selves again. It appears that they've even seen fit to use their dust bath for its intended purpose rather than for a toilet. Best of all, the arrival of spring means the return of their favorite treats in the world --grass and weeds from out in the yard. They seem to love this more than anything, even the ridiculously expensive dried meal worms we bought them at the pet store. Cant wait to let them run around outside in the yard again. It seems they were just as demoralized by the long winter and as rejuvenated by the arrival of spring as were are.