I am wanting a chicken breed that lays a lot of eggs. We started a australorp flock last spring (of 20 hens), and they completely stopped producing eggs for nearly two months this winter. We live on Vancouver Island, which is relatively mild in temperature, but we do have dark winters. I was considering getting some leghorns, but I am concerned about their flightiness and read they don't lay through winters.... I am also considering rhode island reds. We prefer a docile bird and large eggs. My husband thinks that ordering chicks from a hatchery will give us better layers than ordering chicks from a breeder. What do you think? So to summarize.... What is the best egg laying breed all year round, including the dark winters? Do hatchery hens produce more eggs than breeder hens?