I have, for lack of better terms, 9 Big Chickens, 5 Middle Chickens, 4 Little Chickens, and 4 Small Chicks. Added at the same time as the 5 Middles were 2 Cayuga ducks, which are a pair. The first category describes the laying pullets and rooster, the Middles are 16-17 weeks old, the Littles are 9 weeks old, and the last are 4, maybe 5 weeks old, still in the brooder. All but the Smalls are individually named. Smalls: Golden Sebright, Silver Sebright, EE and Delaware. Guess who's in charge of THAT small flock?? First there was the A-Frame coop. Only one Big Chicken sleeps in it, but most of the other Big Chickens lay their eggs in its nest boxes. All the Bigs and Middles hang out in the enclosed pen beneath it (with the door open to the rest of the run). Before I put ANY of the Big Chickens, who were Littles at the time, out into a coop full time, I bought an eBay coop kit because none of the chickens demonstrated the ability to go up the ramp into the A-Frame for night-time slumber, or any other reason, when they were outside on their "day trips." So all the Big Chickens learned "home base" was the eBay coop. I bought two layers from another BYCer, and housed them in the A-Frame for a while; I think that's why one of those girls continues to sleep in it. The other one wants to be with the rooster too much to stay with her sister. Then I built the New Coop, and moved the Big Chickens into it so I could move the Middles into the eBay coop once they were ready to leave the brooder. and At first the Bigs were annoyed at having to move, but then they decided they really liked the new coop. Except for that rear access rollaway nest box - they would prefer to visit the Middles and lay eggs in that familiar set of nest boxes, or continue to lay eggs in the A-Frame. Or, the duck house. Oh, yes. I built a duck house for the ducks, but they never used it. They prefer to sleep in the NEW coop with all the Bigs. At least I had a place to put the Littles when THEY came out of the brooder! A month ago, I started the Weekends & Evenings Free Range Project. The Bigs took to this with alacrity. The Middles were much more hesitant, but they have started to meander outside the run into the back yard, in their own "gang." The Littles went out to the Duck House and the smallish, jerry-rigged pen around it just last weekend.. It only took them 4 nights to start putting themselves to bed inside it all by themselves. Huzzah!! The duck house is raised on concrete blocks, the 4 Littles are bantam breeds, and they have been hard to wrangle every night until they "got it." It's pretty darned warm today. All the Bigs are settled into the shade under the trees. The ducks are napping in a special, duck-made hidey-spot in the rose bushes by the porch. All the Littles found a weak spot in their pen made of poultry fencing - but it's inside the whole run, so they have only snuck out to a distance of about 6 or 7 feet. Skittishly, too; they dash back through the gap and under the Duck House on a regular basis. But where are the Middles? They're not in the blackberry bushes. They're not under the trees. They're not in the OTHER rose bushes, or in the raised garden beds, investigating the piles of weeds I've pulled but not yet put into trash barrels. Where ARE they? They are in the Big Chicken Coop! It's bigger, and brighter, and has better ventilation. The 2 Welsummers are flinging pine shavings all over the place from the depressions they made in the bedding, on their sides, having a grand old time. The BR and the RIR and the BANTAM COCHIN are up on the Big Chickens' roost bars! And the Smalls, inside the brooder in my bathroom, are excitedly using the nipple waterer, now that they know that water comes out of it when you peck at that thing on the bottom. It's a good day at the Olmstead Homestead.