Poultry need daily care and if you are not able to provide this you must arrange for someone with sufficient knowledge to do so in your absence.
Most importantly they need clean water, sufficient food and a clean, dry hen house where they can be safely shut up at night away from predators.
You do not need a cockerel for hens to lay eggs.
Hens need to be fed a balanced feed all year round, especially during their first lay or a moult. They cannot achieve their laying potential on grain or scraps alone
Some poultry will be happier and healthier if you move the house and run regularly, providing them with fresh grass and a clean piece of ground.
Poultry are covered by a Welfare Code of Practice and several regulations (please visit http://www.defra.gov.uk/for more details).