I'm just finishing my coop and I need to order some chicks. I've got it sectioned out with separate runs - a little less than 1/3 for the layers and the rest for the meat chickens. I need some help choosing the breeds to order. I have been reading everything I can on raising chickens, but there is so much information out there (much of it contradictory) that it is making my brain hurt. For the meat chickens I don't want any of the commercial cornishX-type crosses - watching chicks die of leg and heart problems doesn't sound appealing to me. I want a breed or two of meat chickens where I can keep 8-10 hens and a rooster over the winter (central Illinois winter - insulated shed for coop). These guys would be my breeding stock, and their offspring would be the meaties. My wife and I have been looking at a number of varieties - NH red, RI reds, americauna, maran, plymouth rock, sussex, wyandotte - but that's a big list. The reds would be the meat chickens, but I know there is a lot I don't know... could somebody help out a beginner?