Hi all, I just posted an introduction in the New Members forum. We have 3, 2 year old Black Australorp Hens and 1 4 year old Red SexLink (I think) hen, adopted from a friend. 2 girls aged 8 & 10, a very sweet and friendly chick snuggling border-springer mutt, and 2 feisty outdoor cats. For an Easter surprise and to build our flock, we have 11 3 week old chicks in a brooder in our garage: 2 Silky Bantams, 1 Blue Polish, 2 Easter Eggers, 3 each Buff and Black Orpingtons. 1) I've read about slowly introducing chicks to the hens once they are around 6 weeks old and it's warm enough outside to pen them in the main run. Does anyone have advice/things NOT to do as the flock integrates? Especially since we have some bantams in the mix, I want to make sure that everyone gets through the "pecking order" hopefully without casualties. 2) Any advice about cats? I am not a huge cat person but they do a good job controlling the mouse population and my family doesn't want to rehome them (which might easily change if they hurt a young chicken). Due to family allergies they simply cannot be indoors. Aside from keeping the chicks safe/separated in a covered chicken run, is there any advice from cat owners out there about how to help the cats understand that the growing chicks are off limits? I know this sounds naive and of course we'll do everything to just keep everyone apart...but at some point, when the chicks are grown, should I worry about the bantams defending themselves, or will the flock mentality be of help? Thanks so much for any insight.