They are 12 weeks old, still growing and not laying so I guess they are still chicks. Put them out at 6 weeks, kept them confined in the run. My intention was to let them roam the yard once they were settled in the coop at night, figuring that would help ensure their return. They stayed outside the coop for a week, jammed together on the ground. So I went out at dusk and grabbed them amid protest and shoved them all in and shut the door. The next night all went in but one. I grabbed her and pushed her in. The third night they all went in at dusk. After a few days I let them out in the afternoon. And they went in for the night. Now I let them out when I get up. They spend the day scratching around, periodically returning to the run for feed, then back to the yard. There's no friction with the dogs. They travel as a group in their little flock of 8, preferring to stay under bushes and in the shrubs, when they cross an open space they do it quickly. They prefer weeds to herbs and flowers. They take dirt baths in the hollows the dogs dig to lie in. I've lost them in the yard a few times because they hide so well but they show no desire to leave. I've got a fenced 1/4 acre yard and the little group roams at will, heading to the coop as the sun is just leaving the treetops. The coop is a snap to clean, I've got an eglu cube, takes about 20 minutes to scrub with pinesol, rinse and wipe dry. Newspaper and some pine shavings cover the trays underneath, like a birdcage. They go in the compost heap. I do the deep litter thing using shredded straw. Had a few weeks of flies but their predators must have moved in because they've tapered off in the last week or so. I sit out on the deck close to the coop and the flies are not a problem. I stir the litter up with a rake every few days and if it's dry I spritz it with the hose a bit to help the composting action. Is this it or will they start to get independent and ornery like flying over the fence or trying to stay out at night? If their behavior doesn't change I have to say this is one easy gig. Give them feed, fresh water, let them roam.