I have been raising and buying different breeds of chickens for a good number of years. I have bought hatchery heritage breeds as well as breeder stock from a few breeders. After a while, you get a good feel for what you are really looking for from a chicken. You look back at all the breeds you have owned and ask yourself and your partner which birds you liked and which ones were most productive along with other attributes that drew you to those thoughts. We have had a lot of ups and downs with chickens over the time frame we have been doing this hobby farming with chickens. It seems easy enough to raise chickens but some elements like death and predators will always alter things. Some birds we have owned always seemed to fair out better than others. So, getting back to why we were drawn to certain chicken breeds is what now has my interest in cross breeding and to gain the features and other things the genetics of those chickens hold. I think a person has to ask him or herself what they are looking from a chicken breed before they purchase any kind or type of chicken. I myself want a breed that is healthy and a survivor. I want a meaty bird with some body that will mature within an average time frame of 14 to 16 weeks max. Behavior is very important to me in a chicken as well as the rooster it will mate with. I think a chicken should have stealth, which is a good frame and leg quality. Ask yourself whether or not it is weather tolerant for where you are living. A chickens environment can be an important factor on how well it can perform and survive in heat and or cold. We live in upper mid state Michigan and enjoy all the seasons and their extremes at times. Most breeds fair well except for winters which can be moderate to extremely cold. So what is the point of this thread you ask? Well, I am not completely satisfied with all the bird types we have tried and I feel I can gain something through crossbreeding the birds we find to be suitable to meet the needs we are striving for. Dual purpose breeds are twofold in that they are reasonable egg layers and can be fair meat birds also. I have worked with 3 birds that fit that category better than most. Just my opinion of course! Lets keep in mind that this is for gain and not specifically for a better egg layer or a better meat bird per say. The genetics of birds is what I call a built in factor and to add or take away to create a new model is difficult and requires time and patience along with professional known factors. My partner and myself like the qualities of 3 heritage breeds and feel it would be worthy if we could blend those qualities so the offspring would benefit and a better bird would result due to that effort. It doesn't work that way totally! You cant just take the fender off of one car and put it on another or swap motors and transmissions without some expected modifications. The chickens control the genetics and transfers of the features you are trying to acquire. Some features may transfer in some offspring but not in all. So you wanted a v-8 and got a v-6 instead eh? Separate the models and you are on the right track for the second round of the battle. I am crossbreeding a Blue orpington with a Malines. You would have had to own the orpington breed to realize the blues have features a standard Orpington breed does not. Same breed, but the blue Orpington is definitely not all feathers! The Malines is a great meat bird and rare to the U.S. A slow grower but favorably large for a table bird. It lacks new blood lines and has some issues regarding that. This is a spring project I look forward to. Will keep you posted on how the chicks turn out.