I love having my three hens in the backyard. Not only do they turn all those kitchen scraps and left over food into lovely eggs, but they teach my young boys all about having animals. Temporarily, my hens are housed in this cage with a piece of fibreglass roofing as a roof. This allows them to have contact with the ground, very important for dust bathing.
If its nice weather, I'll take the roof of, as chicken do need light to make them lay eggs.
One of the ideas I wanted to share, was the use of a dog automatic waterer in the hen house. This allows you to leave your hens for a few days, knowing they will never run out of water. Chickens seem to have no idea not to pollute their own water, making other bowls etc unreliable. Those bell shaped wateres need to be refilled regularly, which can be a pain. They are also heavy when full and perish in the sun. This waterer is connected to a small tank, so they have weeks of fresh water, not including the wrapper my son gave them!
I bought mine from here: