I live in a desert micro-climate near Abilene, Texas. I have lived here for five years now and our average rain fall has been less then ten inches annually. Summer highs can reach over 110 degrees. We had 125 days over 100 degrees this last summer. When I first moved here I started a chicken flock by buying several breeds of full grown birds. I had about thirty birds total. I had some White Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rock, Old English Game hens, and several others that I don't know the breeds of. The White Leghorn roosters were so violent that I had to kill them all because they kept violently attacking anyone who entered the pen. The Barred Rocks were dumber then dirt and all died off because of stupidity (I won't go into detail). After several months of observation of the different breeds, I decided that the Rhode Island Reds were the best balance of egg production, intelligence and docileness. I bought fifty chicks to start a new flock Rhode Island Reds, with the intention of letting my other birds run free outside the pen. I only really expected the game hens to really survive free ranging, and it was my hope that if they could survive they would breed on their own and be a source of meat birds. Anyway, the Rhode Islands Reds proved to be excellent birds in every area except for hardiness. I have a lot of predators here and I lost 15 pullets in one month to predators. I turned my coup into Fort Knox with four strand electric fences, motion activate halogen security cameras and loud speakers systems, and I was still losing birds at night. I could not believe it, but every single time a bird was killed, it was a Rhode Island Red. And they were all mixed up with the other birds. It is like they smell different and the predators prefer them or something. Anyway, I reluctantly had to launch an all war on the predators that resulted the death of 21 skunks, 9 bobcats, three foxes, and two feral cats. All within 300 yards of my chicken coup! Finally, the massacre of my chickens stopped. But then the summer heat hit and my Rhode Island Reds started to look all mangy. I built them shades and did everything I could, but I could never get them to look healthy. At the same time my game hens look like they were groomed and read for show. One by one, my Rhode Island Reds have died off and now, after less then two years, I have only 15 of the original fifty I started with. I still have seven of the original eight game hens (one was killed by my dog) I bought full grown that are now over four years old and still as healthy as ever. Sorry for going on like that, but I wanted you to understand where I am coming from when ask my question. Although egg production is the reason I have a chicken flock, I need a bird that is also very hardy. One that will do well in my area. I know that the game hens will do well, but they are pretty poor egg producers. So, I am asking for recommendations here. Based on what I have told you, what breed would give me the best balance of hardiness and egg production? Thanks for the help.