Last Thursday I got my order of 16 chicks from Ideal (see list in my signature below). I was originally going to raise these 16 chicks then add about 10 more chicks in 6 months or so...the total (26) are a nice mix of all the breeds I've ever wanted to own (except Polish & Houdans - but I'll get those when I can accomodate them seperately). Then I got to reading here on BYC about all the problems people have been having integrating new birds with their existing flock. What a pain! I already have 5 Barred Rock hens that are 6 months old that will have to move in with the chicks when they're big enough to fend for themselves. So I thought that I'd go ahead and just order my other 10 from Ideal now - thinking the chicks would be a couple of weeks apart, but pretty close in age & likely to integrate easily. I got my confirmation email from Ideal today and the new chicks won't ship until APRIL 15!!!! The chicks will be 8 weeks apart! My current game-plan for the 16 chicks is four weeks (or so) in the brooder, then out to the brand new (but not pretty!) predator proof chicken coop to grow out. Once they were big enough to defend themselves (18 weeks or so), I was going to put the 5 Barred Rocks I already have (6mos old) into the new coop with them...my thinking is that the younger chicks would greatly outnumber the older pullets and they would have the "home turf" advantage (the Rocks are in an older, smaller coop right now. When should I put the April chicks in with the February chicks? Will I have a difficult time integrating chicks that are 8 weeks apart? Am I correct in my thinking that the 16 chicks (plus the 10 April chicks) will be able to hold their own against 5 pullets that are six months older? How much of a headache am I in for??? I need help/input!