Many of my hens are very old and not laying so well anymore (I count them as chicken noodle soup on the hoof - so to speak) and so I've started planning my chick order for the spring.
One of the breeds I've decided upon is the Speckled Sussex. According to Henderson's Handy Dandy Chicken Chart it perfectly fits all of my requirements. It's a good layer, cold-hardy, dual purpose (eggs and meat), and calm. They are "well adaptable to confinement or free range; calm; gentle; active; can be curious; more easily handled."
Last year I purchased a Speckled Sussex and she has grown to be one of my favorites.
Not only is she really pretty, but she's particularly sweet and likes to be picked up and held. Even as a young chick she was the most personable. I suspect she's the one that gives me the pretty brown eggs with darker speckles. My spring order will definitely have five or so Speckled Sussex pullets in the list.
With the longer days, the chickens are starting to lay a bit better. I had five eggs yesterday! I made it through the whole winter without buying a single egg!