We were fortunate in that we moved into a home that already had a large, well-equipped chicken house. If you start with day-olds, they can be pretty high maintenance for a while, but once they're a few months old, it's a pretty simple routine. There are ways to make it more difficult, but like duckinnut said, it's as easy or hard as you want to make it. For us, the standard maintenance is probably easier than we expected--the bare minimum is to add food to the feeders every few days, fill the waterers every few days, collect eggs daily, and check them a couple times a day. The part that gets more time consuming is keeping them entertained--supervised free-ranging, feeding treats, playing with them, etc.