Hi! I am brand new to this website and about to be brand new to chickens. I have been doing research over the last several weeks getting ready to start my flock. My local Orscheln Farm store just got their chickens yesterday and I went to check them out today. I am going to start fairly small, so I had already decided that I am going to buy my chicks at my local feed store (either Tractor Supply or Orscheln) rather than ordering from a hatchery. Orscheln had a much larger variety than I had expected, so I thought I would ask for opinions on here of what breed (out of the choices I have) that might be the best for me to start with. My choices at the local Orscheln store are: New Hampshire Red (Pullets) Welsummers (Straight Runs) Barred Plymouth Rocks (Straight Runs and Pullets) Bantam (Straight Runs) Red Sex Link (Pullets and Straight Runs) Black Sex Link (Pullets) Speckled Sussex (Straight Runs) Silver Laced Wyandotte (Pullets) Brown Leghorn (Pullets) Buff Orpington (Straight Run) California White (Pullets) Cuckoo Maran (Straight Run) Assorted Rainbow Layers I live in Southern Oklahoma where we get a wide range of temperatures (Ex. the high temperature for tommorrow is 36. This past summer we had over 60 days straight of temperatures over 100 degrees) so I would like a breed that can, hopefully, withstand higher temperatures. (that hot for that long was an anomaly that I pray we do not repeat this summer, but in August you can usually expect several days of 100+ degrees). I also would rather not have a breed that is particularly high strung or flighty. The more laid back the better! I am wanting chickens predominantly for eggs, but I would like to hatch some eggs as well as butcher some for meat (probably at a much later date when I am a little more seasoned in keeping chickens.) I also like the idea of my chickens being as self sufficient as possible, so a breed that is a good forager would be nice. I realize that I am probably fairly idealistic in the criteria I want my chickens to meet. This is why I am asking for advice. I am tenatively considering barred rocks, from what I've read they seem to be a good choice. What do you guys think? Should I go all barred rocks, should I try a mixture, or a different breed altogether? Please, you don't know how much I will appreciate even the littlest bit of advice.