Hello, We are pretty new to raising poultry and love, love, love it. We started with Golden Laced Wyondotts (have 4 hens), one cuckoo marans (her sister/brother met a sad, early demise) and two barred rock hens who I've noticed to be excellent foragers. We used to have 6 Rhode Island Reds (we soup-potted the cockerel as he got very aggressive to our young daughters and then sold the hens as we thought they were pecking the eggs in the nestbox, but we think it's the blue jays now), The dilemma: What say you about breed integrity and having a "pure" flock? We would like another rooster, however, which breed given our mixed flock?! (I'm sad about our Rhody cockerel, maybe he could've been 'humbled"-- I'm hearing interesting stories on that and I for one really enjoyed him.) If we keep a mixed flock (see below) then can we get a cock of our choosing--looks and temperment? and let them make their own specially adapted varieties (to our location)?! We selected these breeds because of their dual purpose status. But if you plan to eat your birds once they quit laying, then aren't they too old for much but a soup pot anyway? So now my partner is vying for two separate flocks: meat birds and layers. Layers who maximize egg production on less feed and meat birds which, of course, grow well and produce well and are then taken at a younger age than 'years'. I have come to like our mottled flock, our variety, the docile pet nature of several of our birds. What say you? Any tips, advice, etc? Thank you.