I will soon begin building my flock in earnest. I currently have 2 EE hens (laying) and 2 orpington mix hens (old, not laying), along with an EE/Bantam rooster. I will be receiving 7 more EEs and some meat birds in two weeks. My goal is to build a flock of dual purpose birds that can be (I hope) self sustaining in that I will not have to rely on a hatchery for new chicks. So what is my best bet as to breed? So many breeds are catching my eye, I want to try them all! Several separate flocks of various purebreds? Mixed flocks? Pure flocks for eggs and mixed for meat? AHHH!! the choices are confounding! Also, for hatching eggs and raising chicks, is it possible to use Silky hens rather than going the incubator route? I am envisioning a flock of silkies raising whatever chicks from other hens eggs?