Hello all, I just got done integrating our 8 eighteen-week-olds into our laying flock of 10 hens plus 4 nine-week-old broody raised chicks (babies). The broody has completely weaned the chicks and the days of her defending them has long since passed. There are a couple 'auntie hens' that let them stay in their vicinity, but don't actively defend them. Of the 18 week olds brooder-raised (teenagers), 6 are pullets and 2 are cockerels. After a relatively easy integration process (3 weeks spent side by side in runs), things settled down reasonably well. The Welsummer cockerel did a great job defending the pullets from the layers during the first couple of days while the SBEL cockerel mostly hid in the coop-- then he started joining his group again. Beyond the occasional 'beat-it' peck, everyone is co-existing well inside and outside of the coop. Now for the BUT... The SBEL cockerel (4.75lbs) has been trying to 'practice his craft' on the teenage pullets and some of the hens (no interference or help from the Welsummer cockerel (5.25lbs) as cockerels will. The Welsummer is 'practicing' too, but he seems to limit his attentions to the 'teenage' pullets. I expect/accept that they've got a learning curve and there's only one way to figure things out-- none of the pullets or hens have any injuries from the cockerels. The teenage pullets and hens have lots of room to get away and can also get out their sight line. BUT The problem comes when the SBEL fails to get a teenage pullet or layer to cooperate- because he immediately goes after the 9 week olds baby pullets-- who are already 2lbs, but still "peeping" not clucking, and obviously an inappropriate target. Still being babies they don't seem to know what he's about and aren't saavy enough to evade. If there's an excuse of any kind for this cockerel, I will add that the SBEL teenage pullets are 2.5lbs- tiny-- and that the 9 week old broody-raised chicks are 2lbs. The question is whether he's mistaking his targets because of the small size difference between his same age girls and the babies, or if he's just a dirty rotten scoundrel who doesn't care that they're babies and thus doesn't deserve a chance to be a rooster. Yesterday he ripped a bunch of feathers out of the chick's back when he tried to climb on (he's 4.75lbs), and the chick did get away, then again this morning I watched the same sequence of events- unable to get cooperation from the appropriate age, he went right back to the same baby- fortunately not as bad of a grab today, but the intention to mount/breed is clear. He's now by himself in the introduction pen. Is this one of those things that if he's separated for a few months he'll mature out of-- i.e. the infamous cockerel hormones running his brain? Or is this a sign of a problem roo in the making? Both of the cockerels are fine with respect to people (or they'd be in the freezer right now)- they have not been raised as pets, only handled when necessary and never hand fed. They give people plenty of space, 5-10 feet- neither has challenged a person.