Note: I just divided this question into two parts and posted it in more appropriate forums. I am about to get my first chickens and am trying to decide on breeds to try. I would like to try 2 or 3 breeds to start with about 25 birds. My goal is a healthy flock that will forage, hopefully free-range, during the day (I have the space, will need to see about predators) and produce eggs as well as meat for us. I was leaning toward straight-run dual purpose breeds like New Hampshire, Barred Plymouth Rock and Delaware, so that I can butcher most of the males for meat in the fall. I am aware that these will not be meaty birds like a cornish cross would be, but I would like to have good foraging birds that act like chickens, and for now would rather not use the highly efficient meat birds. A neighbor told me that my male birds will be lanky with virtually no meat at 5-6 months, and thought it not worth the effort. Her experience is with sex-link crosses she uses for eggs. Does anyone have experience with buying straight run dual purpose breeds, butchering the males for meat in the fall? What size birds do you get, and do you have to feed them separately from the pullets to get them to a reasonable butcher weight? If dual purpose straightrun doesn't make sense, and I have to get pullets, I might consider brown leghorns. Their flightiness might have some advantages - less emotional attachment might not be a bad thing when they quit laying or a predator gets one, better chance with predators, good feed to egg conversion? Finally, if I wanted to try both dual purpose breeds (straightrun) and brown leghorn pullets, would the leghorns coexist okay with the more docile dual purpose breeds? Thanks for any sharing any experience or insights you have.