I'm into my 2nd year of keeping chickens. Earlier in the spring I purchased four chicks to add to a mixed flock of 6 hens. The old guard consists of a Buff Orpington, Blue Andelusian, New Hampshire, Partridge Cochin, Brown Leghorn and Light Brahma. This group gets on very well, with only a few minor squabbles from time to time. Now, conventional wisdom would say, “you have enough hens, they supply more eggs than you can use, why rock the boat by adding to the flock?” Then again, “conventional wisdom” never walked into the farm supply store just as they are unboxing a shipment of newly hatched chicks. So now the new additions, an Australorp, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Barred Rock and Buff Orpington, are just over 9 weeks old. I've been gradually introducing them to old guard, keeping them in a fenced off area in the foraging grounds. There have been some nips and pecks through the fencing. I figure it teaches the young pullets to keep their distance. My alpha hen, Nancy, the Light Brahma, showed more interest than the others in getting into the pen and letting the new comers know who's boss. So for the last few days the fence came down and the new flock was allowed to mix it up with the big girls. The new girls were quickly put in their place. They learned to keep their distance and get out of the way when Nancy came running. Today I've placed the new girls in the run with old guard. So far they've hung out on the edge of the run, typically on the opposite end from the big girls. There have been a few thrashings and a few lost feather but nothing serious. For the most part, things have been fairly calm, though the new girls look as though they'd rather be anywhere but in with the big kids. They know Nancy means business. This evening I plan on quietly slipping the new girls inside after the rest have settled in for the night. I have the dog kennel on standby in case they need to be separated. Hopefully, things remain tranquil.