Our farm started off selecting heritage breed chickens. We had trouble deciding which to keep and which to eat and now we have heritage mutts. Our chickens raise fertile eggs as we keep a couple of roosters around to replenish our stock. In the winter we do not add supplemental heat or electricity to force the chickens to lay. In nature the chickens will not lay during winter, they use seasonal light variations as clues as to when to start and stop laying eggs. By adding artificial light the chickens are tricked into laying when they would not normally do so.
Breed wise there are several breeds that we have grown to like, one of our favorites for hens is the buckeye. For us, they have been excellent mothers able to raise their young well. The easter eggers are fun because of the green eggs. We also like the black australorps as there is nothing more beautiful the the sun making their feathers an iridescent green hue. That being said chickens are great animals to have at home even if you do not have a farm. I would recommend that every family, even if you live in a city, consider a small chicken tractor for your backyard.