Hi All, I am sure you get this question alllllllll the time, but i'll ask it again! I am new to chickens, i will be setting up a flock this spring/summer. I would like to have some layers and some meat birds. They will have a coop but will also be free-run outside. Here is what i am looking for in a laying hen breed: -winter hardy -friendly and calm, easy to handle, good with kids -aesthetically pleasing - cool colours -comes in a variety of colours -heritage breed So far the breeds that have caught my eye are: Auracana, Americana, "easter eggers" (sp?) Dominiques Welsummers Orpington Brahma Plymouth Rocks It looks like the poultry places i have been in contact with make you order a minimum of 4 per breed. Since i am only starting a dont want a huge flock so i would like a breed that comes in different colours. For Meat Birds i would like a bird that does not have leg issues, fairly active and colourful as well as friendly. Any ideas for a meat breed? Also, i will be feeding myself, husband and 3 big dogs. How many layers to start with and how many meat birds for a newbie? We all love chicken and the 5 of us could eat an egg a day for sure. Thanks for your help!