thank you for all your time and input...so to start I think an assortment of eggs would be fun but I do want friendlier birds because I have a 2 year old that I also wasnt to raise the chickens around. I have 2.5 irrigated acres with a barn and chicken coop so I think I have room although I don't wasnt to start out with more than 12 or less that should be plenty was even thinking about a couple ducks in place of a few chickens.Well my first thought is, What color eggs do you want. Going for a rainbow assortment could give you the most variety in breed colors and characteristics.
Next I would ask, how much space can you devote to them. depending on that would determine if you would be better off with Banties, of larger chickens. It will also determine how many you can get, which then goes back to narrowing down breeds with the color eggs you want.
And I would then figure out, how sociable and 'petable' do you want your chickens. If you want physical interaction then steer clear of breeds listed as flighty 'in the beginning'. Because all breeds can have those who are more skittish than others and run from the sight of you.
Then when you have those three questions figured out, start going to the hatchery websites and look at pictures. Most hatcheries segregate their breeds by egg colors. look at the pictures, realizing they always take the best of the flock to grab pictures from, and don't forget to open up the tabs for breed facts, or statistics. make sure you open it fully as a lot of them to save space only give you a short glimpse. Information like color of egg, number of eggs per year, whether they go broody are just a few of the facts you will find there.
Once you have your list of what you like, it is time to decide on if you want chicks, laying hens or close to laying also called 'POL'or if you want young birds that still have some time before they lay but no longer need a brooder and close attention to heat as they are feathered. I personally, like to sell the hens that will not make it into my breeding or laying program as backyard layers at 6 - 8 weeks. I have never had chicks at that age be listed for more than 4 days before they were sold.
Swap meets happen in Phoenix twice a month, as I think you mentioned you were in north east Arizona, so depending on how close you are that would be a way to look and see the breeds in question. I say look and see as opposed to touch and feel as bio-security is important to almost everyone who brings stock to these meets. Or it should be.
You can also look online for fairs in your area, there usually will be a nice selection to look at and the 4h kids are proud to tell you everything about their entry. Just don't forget to ask about what they dislike about the breed, but remember what they dislike might be something you like so don't discount a breed just because that chicken has bad habits. There are also chicken specific shows. Those can be eye opening and most who enter are trying to get as close to the breeds SOP or standard of perfection as possible to win ribbons and awards. The next one listed is at the Pima county fair in April.
Now you are actually about to seal the deal so to speak. You've researched and found breeds you want that have checked off your list, but before you buy, there is one last important step to take. Make sure their home is built and ready for them. There are numerous threads, and articles on coops and runs on BYC to give you ideas. Just keep in mind a hastily built coop or run because you have to have it done now, as your chickens need to get out of the temporary home you have them in, is more than likely NOT as secure as you think it is. And could lead to premature deaths from predators or neighbors animals / pets. And heartache, frustration and the killing of the joy of raising poultry, instead of the joy, smiles, laughter and scratching of your head at the antics they get up too of your flock.
Now this has become long winded, but I hope it helps somewhat. And don't be afraid to start a thread and ask for opinions as you are making up your mind. Or even posting your questions back here if you want. there are a lot of great people in this forum that will be glad to help you out and tell you why we like our chickens the best LOL.