Pros: Amazing beauty! No two exactly alike. Curious, excellent foragers, wary of predators
Cons: None really unless you want a breed for the table
Early this year, I was looking into some new breeds of chickens to get and by chance I happened to find pictures and information on the SFH. One of the best things that happened to me! :) I was so impressed with their beauty that right away I got some hatching eggs. That was all it took and I was hooked! I use to raise paint horses and my first thought is that these birds are like the paint horses of the chicken world! No two are exactly alike and they come in so many colors and patterns. They also come in crested or non crested versions, adding even more variety. To watch a group of these stunning birds forage out on the green grass in summer is awesome! I haven't hatched my own yet but look forward to seeing what new colors I can come up with. A friend that has these birds told me that every time she hatches she finds herself keeping more chicks to add to her flock because she sees a new color or pattern she didn't already have! It's very easy to find yourself with more than you planned on having.
My flock is young and the oldest have just started to lay so I can't say much about how good of layers they are yet but will update that later. They are referred to as a "dual purpose" breed, but these are more of a medium sized bird that I would not consider the most practical breed if you wanted birds for the table but that's ok with me since I will raise other breeds for meat and keep the SFH for their eggs and beauty. Of the ten or so breeds I keep, the SFH are one of the two or three best foraging breeds I have. They are out there searching for bugs and eating grass all day while most of the others stay close to the feed bowls. They are very aware of their surroundings and any potential dangers. Most of my SF seem a bit on the high strung side but then having developed as a landrace breed that learned to survive on it's own, I can see how their "energetic" personalities would be an asset in avoiding predators! My "calmer" birds would likely be the first to be caught and eaten! They also seem to be more hardy and disease resistant than many other breeds. On the website of their original importer, Greenfire Farms under FAQs, they claim that the breed has shown resistance to Marek's disease. Luckily I hadn't had a chance to find that out first hand but they do seem to have better immune systems than some of the other breeds I have. If I had to get rid of most of my breeds, the SFH would be one of the ones I would just have to keep!
UPDATE: It's been some months since I wrote this and I wanted to update it in regards to egg laying ability. The SF girls are very good layers. Before the summer began to get really hot, they were laying at a rate of about 80% of the total number of hens each day. In July, it started to go down and now it is August and I am getting 4 or 5 eggs daily at most from a group of 14 but this is a Texas summer and they are beginning to molt. Some of my other breeds, like my Buff Orpingtons have stopped laying altogether right now. Anyway,they have so far done a great job as layers and despite the fact that they are from a cooler climate origin, they seem to be tolerating the Texas heat pretty well.