2 years ago I started out with chickens for the first time ever. I had a plan, I wanted a good dual purpose breed that would give me year round eggs and dress out nicely for the table. I did my homework and decided rhode island reds were for me!!! However I didnt do enough homework to know that if you buy them from most feed stores, hatcheries or backyard sellers more than likely your getting a production red. No biggy I had a set of 4 and I was impressed with thier size, feed ration, and egg laying ability. I consistently got an extra large egg everyday all year round. Boy was I happy so happy I decided to expand, purchase more coops, more birds and even started a small business selling eggs. Well this year weve had a complete turn around. Now we have 14 free loading hens, out of those 14 laying hens Im down to about 3 eggs every other day. Someone has told me the production and hybrid birds were bred to only be good layers for thier first year. That doesnt really do me any good unless I plan on butchering all every year and starting over but even then id have to plan my hatch dates around that and pray Im not in the same situation. So Im looking at adding another breed to our farm, and maybe potentially one day as a replacement. I want a good year round layer, that has a good laying season(now that I know thats important) I also want a decent size meat bird. At first I thought speckled sussex, but they dont lay through winter at all, Ive considered Orphingtons, and Australorps too. But I really just want other peoples opinions based on what they have or have had and what has works best for them. Rather than going off what I've read online this time. Thanks!