How much work are Chickens Really?

Chickens are as much work as you choose for them to be. My current setup allows me to only have to top off their food and water once a week and collect eggs daily.

Mr. Rooster Keeping an Eye on Me

I am working on a chicken tractor, which will allow half of my flock to venture across my pasture eating fresh greens and bugs. I still will supplement their food with grains, but full time access to greens alone can be a quarter of their diet. The abundant grasshoppers may not be so abundant with the chickens having them as another source of protein. But this means I will have to move the chicken tractor once a day or more to give them the benefits of green grass.

So if I am home every day, this is no problem, but if we want to take a vacation, I have to find some way to automate most of my daily tasks. Having multiple feeders or one large feeder that allows the chickens to have enough food for a week allows me to vacation for a week with only asking neighbors/family to collect and keep any eggs. Our five gallon waterer is sufficient for around a week for seven chickens as well depending upon the weather. Our electric fence and fully fenced run keeps me from having to close them in the coop each night and open it each morning. 

When I have extra time, I pick fresh greens and bring the chickens table scraps. Though this is not necessary, it gives them a higher quality of life and nutrients. Thus if I want to spend more time than collecting daily eggs and weekly water and food, I can, but if I get busy, I can rest assured they will be fine without much maintenance at all.