You probably know about a lot of this but I love to talk about just how easy it is!
When my family first started out with chickens, we bought 6 "pullet" Rhode Island Reds. They were apparently half-bantam (smaller) but their eggs were delicious, and of course smaller chickens take up less room & need less food.
Pullets are teenage hens - all their feathers have grown in but they don't lay eggs yet. They were young enough that we could kind of tame them, without having to worry about collecting the eggs at first.
We also didn't have to take any special care of them in the way you would chickens. In my city there are a lot of cats and meat-eating birds so friends who have reared chickens outside have often lost more than half of what they started with!
Rhode Island Reds are (in my experience) a very social and nice breed of chicken. Their size made them great for free-ranging on our inner-city block.
They also layed a LOT of eggs - in their prime they layed at least once a day, every day. I've been told since that it's impossible (psh), but two of them actually laid TWICE a day for a while! We had so many eggs hehe.
Eventually we had enough chickens that we would walk up and down our street once a week selling eggs - we had a lot of single pensioners who appreciated a visit just as much as a fresh egg, and a lot of young families who liked the all-natural-ness of it!
One problem is that they get broody (want to have babies) a LOT. We solved this by getting some fertilised bantam eggs for them from a nearby farm & letting them hatch the chickens - then we didn't have to do all the work of caring for chicks but still got to have lots of chickies running round. This was cheap too, we drove out to the farm & I think he charged us $4 an egg or something!
The only problems we had with free-ranging them were 1. the first few weeks we had to keep them confined to their little coop so they learnt it was where they had to sleep (this felt cruel!), and 2. they liked to fly over our fence and explore the neighbouring yards (we had their wings clipped at first and then they forgot they could do this!) and also to squeeze through other fences to greener pastures.
Their droppings make great fertiliser when mixed with your compost. We gave some to our garden-enthusiast neighbours and also my grandma as we couldn't use it all!
We bought their feed in HUGE bulk, first we gave them pellets and then later "laying mash" seed mix, and it wasn't very expensive. As well as this, we gave them extra nutrition by having a large concrete cylinder that they could hop up into, and using it as an open compost bin that they could pick through. Of course, they ate grass, worms, insects and lizards as well!
We locked them into their coop every evening after dark, when they roosted, & let them out again in the morning when we fed them. This was a great job for my brother from a very young age!
Ok long post
... I really think pullets are the way to go if you can get them, it really cut out a lot of the work of raising hens.
Make sure you have a good fence and a nice safe place for them to sleep and lay, that you can also confine them to!