OK, I know that winter is not even here, and yet I'm already planning for spring, but here is my question: I have 3 buff orpingtons and 3 RIR's, after loosing a Red a few weeks ago to a pack of dogs. They live in an 8 foot by 13 foot former dog kennel which has a metal top and (for the winter only) has plywood walls attached around it with screws and wire ties. They have a 6 foot by 3 foot by 2 foot hen house inside that kennel area, which they choose to use only for egg laying purposes (that's where the nests are). I'm thinking of getting as many as 6 new chicks next spring. I can keep the new chicks inside in the brooder for about a month, then move them into an 8 foot by 3 foot by 3 foot mobile chicken tractor for at least a couple more months. But at some point, the new hens will have to be merged with the old hens, so they can live together in the existing 8 foot by 13 foot kennel. Right now, I don't have much of a problem with hens hurting other hens, since they have grown up together and since they have so much room to live in. I fear that peacefulness will be lost when I merge a new group of chickens in with the old group. My question is: how do I merge them so that there is minimal conflict between the two groups? My chickens get about an hour each day to free range out in the yard. This is right before sundown, and they are pretty good about returning to their kennel to sleep. When the new chicks are really young, I plan on giving them free range time that is separate from the time that the older hens get to roam the yard. But I was thinking that when the little chicks got old enough to defend themselves, that maybe I could let them share the same free range time as long as I was out there to watch over things. Then maybe by sharing the same yard and the same free range time, but going back to different homes to live the rest of the time, maybe that would be a good way to begin the merging process? At some point, though, the chicken tractor will become too small for all the chicks (as many as six), so at that point, I'm not sure what to do. Any suggestions?