I was looking around the internet today for information about blue orpingtons and came across this site http://www.bufforpington.co.uk/chickens.html that talks about utility birds. They suggest that the birds that are available today (they are in the UK) have lost a lot of the qualities that made them good "utility" birds and they have become more "frame and feathers" with much of the good meat and laying qualities lost. I presume this is because of the show quality focus and is what has happened here in the US as well. For those of you who read his article,Is what he is talking about the same as preserving genetic diversity? Is this what places like Sandhill do? I guess as I dream and plan for the ideal flock (and those 40+ acres my DH owes me ) what I really want in chickens is a flock of birds that are first of all healthy, genetically sound, and then lay decently and have enough meat on their bones to be called meat birds....I know, it probably sounds impossible. Am I dreaming? I wonder if I order from XYZ hatchery if the "good representation of the breed" birds are really where to start or do I fork over the extra $ to get birds from somewhere like Sandhill or go out on a limb and try Braggs Mountain Buffs. Has any one tried Braggs? I guess I am still pondering this whole issue of utility bird...aren't they all utility birds unless you take them to show? By the way, the site I mentioned above has some links (through the TROUP link) to some genetic information that I found interesting.