We have 4 hens which are 1 year old. One of our EE's and our Buff Orpington are at the bottom of the pecking order. Our Plymouth Barred Rock is at the top and the other EE is right behind her. Well..at least this is what I think based on what I have observed. I have 5 new chicks which are 7 weeks old (two Silver Laced Wyandottes, two Rhode Island Reds and one Black Australorp, which might be a rooster judging by the advanced comb growth). I combined the two groups almost two weeks ago. The first week I let them all free range around my yard and the older ones mostly ignored the younger ones unless they got too close to them and then there was a short chase. I recently planted grass seed so for the past week they have all been in the coop and run together. After a day of squawking and pecking I divided the run in half and gave the chicks the coop with food and water and a small portion of the run just below the coop, the older hens have the largest part of the run with a roost and some temporary nest boxes, food and water. I have covered the run with plywood for now to provide shelter. Both sets are happy being separated but the younger ones won't come down from the coop into their run, though it is blocked from the hens with chicken wire, because they feel safer totally secluded from the hens I would assume, and the hens hate the temporary nest boxes I have given them in their run. Last night I took the divider out of the run and combined the groups again and things went a bit better with only the Barred Rock and one of the EE's chasing the little ones when they got close to the food. The little ones are still very scared of the older ones and will only run away. I don't think any sort of pecking order is being established due to the size difference in the two groups. OK here are the questions; Have I combined the chicks with the hens too soon? Are the chicks too small in size to be with the hens since they don't have a mother to look after them? Should I try to continue keeping them separated or should I just let them go at it? I also have the chicks on organic grower feed but the hens on layer pellets. The chicks don't seem to be too interested in the layer pellets but the hens do enjoy the grower feed. I don't want the chicks to get too much calcium so I am trying to keep them away from the grower but every day they are taller and closer to reaching the layer feed. How much of an issue is this? I know the chicks shouldn't be on layer till they are laying so how do I manage the feeding of the groups if not keeping them separated? Does anyone have some good experience with this? I have also observed that though the two groups aren't separated any longer, the older hens have chosen to sleep outside on the roost in the run rather than going into the coop. The chicks sleep in the coop with a heat lamp since it is still early spring in Colorado and it gets down to freezing at night. Are the hens choosing to stay outside because of the heat lamp or because of the chicks? When not restricted from the coop the hens do still go in there to lay eggs and swipe them selves some grower feed.