I'm starting a new flock and I'd like some advice. Years ago I "inherited" a mixed flock of older egg layers from someone who wanted to freshen up his flock but just couldn't kill the old girls. I had a few Buff Orphington, a Rock Cornish, an Easter Egger, a few I didn't recognize and a NASTY little bantam rooster. My husband got tired of the poor egg to feed ratio and convinced me to get rid of them a few winters ago when they stopped laying. They were pretty old. I'm starting over this spring. Here's my "wish list" 1) I want a flock that is dual purpose. I have 4 teenagers to feed so I prefer standard sized birds with good sized eggs and good production. 2) I also want my flock to be self-sustaining. I want broody hens so I can butcher off extra roosters and have new layers regularly. 3) I live in Michigan so they need to be able to handle the winter weather. 4) I don't like mean birds. I HATED that rooster! 5) They can hopefully produce year-round without tons of coddling. I don't mind providing extra light but my husband isn't very patient about providing feed to something that isn't feeding us and heat lamps drive him crazy! and here are my questions: I was thinking about a flock of all Buffs but I did like having the different birds and a variety of eggs. Does having only 1 type of bird make a flock stronger or is a mixed flock a better idea? (I put a poll question below for this one.) If you have a mixed flock of 6 to 10 birds can it be self-sustaining with one rooster? two? which breed should it be? Does the genetics get weird after a few generations with a rooster mating with daughters and grand daughters? Are the hybrid chicks from a mixed flock stronger or weaker than the full bred parents? If I do decide on a mixed flock what birds live well together? Is there anything else I should consider when I decide what birds to get? I know these are rookie questions that have probably been answered elsewhere in this forum but I didn't see it. I'd appreciate any help you can pass along.