I will be getting my first chicks in a couple of months (as soon as the coop is finished!) and would really appreciate guidance on choosing what types of chicks to start with. What I'm looking for is 1) breeds that are good for novices 2) breeds that don't mind and even like to be handled 3) eggs! I would like 9-12 eggs or so a week from 3 or 4 hens The particulars of my situation: I live on the Central Coast of California near Santa Cruz where the climate is very mild. Average high in our hottest month is 79 degrees with an average of 7 days a year over 86 degrees. It always cools off in the early evening. The average low in our coldest month is 39 degrees with an average of 10 nights a year below freezing. Twenties is unusual, teens is unheard of. We have lots of predators. Raccoons, bobcats, skunks, mountain lions, foxes, so the coop and run will be built very sturdily. I would love to let them free-range during the day under supervision, but the predator I am most concerned about is the sharp-shinned hawks that hang around and swoop down on unsuspecting wild birds. So I think it is possible that I won't be comfortable letting them free-range. I plan to start with 3 or 4 chicks, and add another three when those quit laying. I never plan on having more than 7 hens at a time. The coop will be 5ft by 6ft not including the exterior nesting boxes. The attached, roofed run will be 60 sq ft (6ft by 10ft). The hens will have an additional 30 sq ft of run space under the coop. What breeds can you recommend for me? Would larger breeds be safer from hawks? Thanks so much for any and all advice.