I seem to have failed to answer one of the questions posed by Robbyn. Advice for someone thinking about getting chickens.
The most important thing is to decide how many you want and what kind of relationship you want with them. Most people I know who only have a few chickens have them named and pamper them way too much. If you have a lot (more than 20) it's hard to get that attached to any one of them. Healthier in my opinion. I like raising them from chicks. They bond better to me and learn my system.
My friend Jack-of-all-thumbs at Self-Sufficient Steward has a great system using a permanent coop and rotates his chickens around his garden. You should check it out.