We have had chickens now for one full season (we picked them up last June) both my boyfriend and I work full time out of the house, so we couldn't brood ourselves, but we found a great local farmer that sells the laying hens just after they are brooded and a month or so before they begin to lay. This summer has been hot so far in Vermont and this week our girls (we have 5) really slowed in egg production. We haven't changed their food (they only like two brands), so I am hoping it's just the heat. They are Jersey Reds, so they should lay over 300 in the first laying season (just ending) and around 250 or so the second season based on my reading. Could the heat really be causing the slow down?