You know, chickens really don't care that much about space.
Just like goldfish, they will use whatever size world you arrange for them, a small aquarium or the largest windmill tank, a little coop with a pen or the whole world.
Chickens adapt, they won't stand by the gate all day long, hoping you will open it and let them out, although they will come running if they see you go to the gate you have taught them you will open for them.
Chickens are chickens, easy to train, but won't hold a new thought two seconds, the ultimate ADHA critter.
On the other hand, you will be taking care of them properly when you are managing them so they are out of harm's way.
I must say Bluey, that your description of chicken conciousness is stunning!
Bless their hearts, they aren't bright, but once in a while you get some that are special..
Awesome responses here . . . all the way around. I feel I know COTHers sooooo much better now . . .
I understand about pet chickens; my Mom has got 2 on "assisted living" in a special corner of the coop as we speak. She can't "do it," either. Hers generally are allowed to expire human-style after being well-cared for in their final illness.
If it wasn't a pet, the coyote population around here being what it is, just leaving it outside at nightfall would cause a speedy disappearance and a quick end.