We don't agree with all of the recommendations and suggestions in this release by the Humane Society of the US, but there's a lot of good advice here. Click the link for the full story.
Here's the start:
Backyard chickens can be wonderful companions. Interest in keeping them has grown as part of the local, sustainable, and organic food movements.
The HSUS supports measures that reduce animal suffering, and every family that gets their eggs from backyard hens is likely reducing or eliminating their purchase of eggs laid by hens that were confined to crowded cages on factory farms.
Chickens are energetic, inquisitive and friendly animals that are a joy to watch, but the decision to keep them should not be made lightly. Chickens require dedicated, consistent care and there are important issues to consider before acquiring a backyard flock.