Our laying hens have are down to 50% or less in this heat this past week. We have 8 Plymouth Barred Rocks who are only laying at 25% and the 16 or so Golden Buff Orpingtons who are laying at about 50%. The boys' egg business is suffering.
When we had Rhode Island Reds a couple years ago, they were laying at 95% laying right through the summer-so we are going back to them for next year. We will keep some of this year's hens next year for at the least the spring-but when they tail off, they will hit the pot.
For the first time we have ordered some meat birds: Cornish Rock X's. In 6-7 weeks they are supposed to be ready (at 4lbs) for the pot, and 7-8 lbs if you wait a couple more weeks. We'll see how this goes. It would be nice to have all the chicken and pork we could want in the freezer for the winter by September!
We have never seriously tried to hatch our own eggs before, but we may give it a whirl (most of our hens have no interest, so we may have to invest in an incubator.)
Oremus pro invicem!