Hey everyone! So my husband and I recently moved to North Carolina from New York City. We've always dreamed about settling down closer to his roots, and always tossed around the idea of having a small backyard flock. Well, 6 months after moving, we are settled into our new home, and are thinking that this spring is the year to start our flock (from chicks). I'm the kind of person that gets *very* thorough about something once I've embarked on a new project. I've researched chickens thoroughly in the last few weeks, am reading several books, and have scoured pretty much every website! I've come to a few conclusions on this (type of coop, where it will go, the need for good egg-layers, who are cold-tolerant, etc.), but I'm stuck on narrowing down the breeds. I've done significant research on breeds, and narrowed it down to these 5: -Rhode Island Red -Black Australorp -Buff Orpington -Dominique -Faverolles I'm very excited about the Dominiques and the Faverolles, and fairly positive I will be getting some of each, because from what I've read, the Dominique is a "heritage" breed, and the Faverolles are "critically" endangered. It's the first three I'm having a tough time with. I'm only getting about 9 birds, so you can see why I'd like to narrow it down. Does anyone have extensive experience with RIR's, Black Australorps, and Buff Orpingtons? Which are the friendliest, best egg-layers of the three? From what I've read, all three seem pretty equal in those respects. Sweet, friendly birds are important to me because they'll be pets as well as a source of eggs. Any advice you could give would be great!! Thanks so much!