The first laying year for chickens is from 6-18 months of age and this is when they lay the most. Your hens will produce bigger eggs during the second laying year; however, the productions will be 10-20 percent less. During years 3 and 4 their egg production will decrease dramatically. Some owners keep a diversified laying cycle by raising new chicks each year and harvesting the oldest. This helps keep the egg production at its highest and reduces the chance for illness. It is normal for hens to go through a molt during late summer or fall and will produce very few eggs during this time.