Because three chickens would provide all the eggs Scheuer's family would need, she initially planned to order just three but then decided on four, just in case something happened to one of them. When it came to choosing breeds, many considerations prevailed, including which birds are the best egg layers and which would be able to survive New England weather. Scheuer eventually settled on four different breeds for the four chickens. "Rhode Island Red and Barred Plymouth Rock originated right here in the Northeast," she reasoned. "They would know how to handle the harsh winters. My Black Australorp would glimmer in the sunshine like an iridescent beetle. And the Buff Orpington? Well, I just wanted a reason to say 'Buff Orpington' every day."