1) I'm looking for relatively calm and friendly birds. I'm in close quarters with my neighbors on a plot just over 1/4 acre.
2) I'm located in central Arkansas. We have moderate winters- it regularly goes below freezing but rarely *much* below and fairly brutal summers- temps around 100F are not too uncommon. My yard is very shady.
3) I'm a total chicken newbie. Are there some breeds that would be more tolerant of mistakes?
4) Looking for eggs, not meat, but I have a very small family. Even hens with mediocre productivity would probably be ok.
Some breeds I had seen and was considering were:
There were a couple heavy breeds who looked to have great temperaments for Suburban living but I was worried wouldn't be able to tolerate an Arkansas summer or just might need someone with more experience.
I was leaning toward a mixed flock but am open to arguments for all one breed.
Anyone have any experience with these breeds in similar situations? Anyone want to make a case for their favorite? Or advise me against anyone? Sorry for the rambling post. Currently in the "madly gathering information" stage of this endeavor.