This breed was developed in the 1940's from a Barred Rock and a New Hampshire specifically to be good for both egg laying and meat. They were favored for meat because of their white feathers (so they don't leave dark pinfeathers in the carcas). For many years they were the most popular meat bird around, but now they're relatively rare and unknown to many. With first hand experience with this breed, they're one of my favorites, and I'm thankful they're making a comeback (although they are still on the critical list).
Delaware chickens are another of the mellow, sweet breeds. The one I have follows me around like a puppy, and that's a common thing I hear from other owners.
These chickens do well in either hot or cold climates as well as in confinement or free range situations. They're pretty easy going.
They are almost completely white, with black speckles on their necks and some black laced in to wing and tail feathers.
They are above average layers of brown eggs. They occassionally go broody, but not as often as many other breeds.
If you breed a Delaware hen with a Rhode Island Red rooster, she'll produce sex-link chicks (a breed of chickens that you can immediately tell their sex based on their color when they're born). Male offspring will be white and females will be red.
I personally think this is a great breed to own and recommend it for backyard flocks if you can find them. Hopefully as people discover the wonderful qualities of this bird, they will become more popular, aiding their come back.
Would you like to know more about chicken breeds?
Learn more about another of my personal favorites: the Buff Orpington.
Other great backyard birds to consider:
Rhode Island Red