I'm pouring over breed info as I brainstorm what breeds might make a nice addition to my flock. Thought some others might want to weigh in on their favorite breeds! My chickens free range during the day, feast on our kitchen scraps, and then get fed a bit of dry feed when I bring them into the coop in the late afternoon/early evening. We live in a very wooded area and always have hawks and eagles and other preditors to consider. (So far we've had no problems, possibly because we have a big dog who keeps a lot of other critters away... but you never know.) Right now I have 3 cuckoo marans who are such good girls. They hang close to their coop, but I assume they find enough grub during their free time as they appear to be healthy and thriving. I also have 2 welsummers who are BOLD BOLD gals, roaming FAR from their garden/coop area and sprinting to me from a hundred yards away when they see me outside. Lastly, I have one 'mystery' girl who many think is a black sex link. Whatever she is, she's also quite bold, roams a lot, and most definitely rules the roost. She is by far my most productive layer. One of the things I'm not sure of is what is 'better' for our rural location -- I thought the marans sticking close to the coop would be safer, but Iv'e read that the more flighty birds fare better against predators? The other thing I am considering is who would be a consistant layer during our short, grey winter days here in the PNW. The breeds I have easy access to from a farm nearby are: marans, welsummers, wyandottes, barnevelders, ameracanas, barred rocks, astralorp, leghorn, RIR, sexlinks, molted java... and I think buttercup and jersey giant. Fire away your thoughts and opinions!