The first time we got chickens (about 5 years ago), they were about 8 months old and fully grown. We just put them inside the coop and did not let them out for a few days so they knew where their new home was and where they could always find food and water. After that we would let them out into the fenced area. During the winter we let them free range in our actual back yard, but we can't do this in the summer because they really dig up the gardens. Every night at dusk just they simply go back to the coop and go to 'bed' (roost) on their own. All we have to do is close the screen door!
A few years later and we only had one of our original 3 chickens still living so it was time for more. We used Craigslist to find someone to buy our new baby chicks from and bought two Rhode Island Reds and two Barred Rocks (also called Plymouth Rocks). They were about a month old at that time and we had to keep them away from our 5 year old, Goldie. When they got a little bigger we finally allowed them to be with her and she definitely let them know who was boss!
Click on the picture below to learn more about raising chicks!
RHODE ISLAND RED
BARRED PLYMOUTH ROCK
Brooding - the hen stays in her hen box and does not come out. She thinks she is going to hatch an egg! NOT possible, unless you have a rooster. We force the chicken to come out and eat. Sometimes we even lock her out of the house for a while. She can brood for 2 or more weeks sometimes! Read more at:http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/181289/how-to-break-a-broody-hen
Hens are like children and they will peck at and bully each other if they get bored. They need to have ways to keep busy, especially if they are confined to a small back yard or area! Here are some ideas to keep your chickens busy: a cabbage tether ball, a xylophone, and a swing! Check out the videos below :-)