Thanks to a little help from Craigslist, and a very nice woman who raised the hens from chicks who couldn't keep them through her move - I realized my dream of raising my own chickens and enjoying fresh eggs within 2 months of moving to the hills!
I've been reading the chicken books, but so far it doesn't seem too complicated - and it's very rewarding! The chickens make the most soothing clucking noise when I approach, and they let me pick them up to move them no scratching, no pecking. The best way to describe the way a chicken feels is fluffy with velvety feathers, and a light yet muscular frame.
Living up in the hills, we have all sorts of wild critters, and many of them love chickens. So far, we've seen a black fox sniffing by the hen house in broad daylight so we know we'll need to create a chicken bunker long term. For now, we've reinforced their coop to prevent digging predators.