Hello! I am somewhat new to chickens, but not completely green. I need to rebuild my little flock, especially since my it got depleted by predators. I think I have gotten the predator issue addressed now. So moving forward... I know I am going to buy these breeds as chicks -- Australorps (4 hens for eggs), Wyandottes (4 hens for eggs), Brabanters (2 hens for novelty), Americanas (2 hens for colored eggs). I have had all these before. The kids and I like mixing it up. Here are the questions: Important to note, I want gentle, family, tame chickens! 1). I was told modern chickens have had most of the brooding instinct bred out of them and to just buy chicks and not try to establish a flock that will propagate itself. Is this true? 2). I have heard silkies are natural brood hens. If the hens lay fertilized eggs, the silkies will hatch them out. Is this true? I was told to add a couple of silkies, because they will raise the new chicks. If this is accurate, I was thinking I would add two hens. So far, the other birds have proven not great at sitting on the nest long enough to raise chicks. Yes, I had roosters at the time. I had partially baked baby chickies. YUK. The hens would abandon the nest too early. 3). Australorp rooster? Wyandotte rooster? One of each? 4). Are mixed breed chickens a problem? The girls are pets. I will probably always buy chicks, but raising my own would be fun too. Meat Chickens -- I've never done this before! The kids, boys, want meat chickens. They want to do the butchering and cleaning -- or so they think. I was thinking about starting out with maybe 4 or 5 chicks to raise up and see how it goes. 1). Which makes for better mean, hen or rooster? No difference? 2). What is a good meat breed that is gentle? 3). Are any meat breeds good at propagating? It would be really cool not to have buy chicks. 4). Are any of the breeds I've mentioned above also good for meat? I know, LOTS of questions! Thank you for your help.