Hi All, Thinking of getting 6 or so laying hens to provide eggs for my family of 4. We had chickens when I was growing up. Mostly I remember them as gross animals who'd peck each other to death, a stinky coop, constantly chasing escaped hens, regularly disposing of dead birds, and nearly having my eyes pecked out when I had to get the eggs. Chickens seemed like a bad investment and not worth the effort. I realize I'm pretty jaded and a lot of my negative experiences are result of poor coop design and care. My other challenge is time. We don't have a lot of it. We work full time, have 2 young children, have other hobbies, etc. I don't have much time to care for hens and refuse to neglect them. If I get chickens, I need to set up the coop, etc so that care for these animals is easy and doesn't take much time. 5-10min a day is all I'm willing to invest and perhaps a couple of hours once a month to clean out the coup, switch things up between summer/winter, etc. I have a large back yard that is mostly natural vegetation due to it being on a fairly steep slope. Pine trees, Oregon Grape, etc. It's not used for anything, so I can dedicate as much space as I'd like to the chickens. Here are my questions and requirements. Please let me know if they are achievable. 1) I do not want to herd chickens every day but would love to take advantage of the large back yard and let them roam to eat bugs, etc. Is it possible to fence off an area and have the chickens migrate into the coop at night on their own? We do have dogs, raccoons, etc so need to protect from wildlife. Most of what I've seen shows some pretty elaborate fencing (covered top, netting, etc). 4' of chicken wire around the perimeter doesn't look like it'll cut it. 2) How can I make cleanup easier? Are there design tricks that I can use when building a coop? 3) 2 or 3 times a year we are out of town for 5 or 6 days. Is it possible to design feeders, etc such that we can leave the chickens completely unattended for this amount of time? 4) Is 5-10min a day (plus a couple of hours once a month) an achievable goal for typical time spent taking care of the chickens? 5) Any other suggestions for things I can do that would help reduce the time spent caring for the chickens? 6) On a normal day, I only want to have to deal with the chickens once (likely in the evening when I get home from work). I do not want to be out there 1st thing in the morning before heading to work. Thanks!