We had a broody sitting on a wooden egg for 2 1/2 weeks. She would just not give up wanting to be a mama. So we slipped three 1 day old chicks under her at night. She accepted them right away and has been an excellent mama. Our hens free range during the day and Precious took her babies out at 2 days to free range with the flock. She has protected them and taught them all kinds of chicken things. She is our first broody and we have enjoyed watching her with the babies! The other hens give them a quick peck every once in a while when they are annoyed by them but Precious, who is our top hen, quickly puts them in their place. At night, mama and babies have been by choice sleeping in a dog kennel in a secure but blocked off section of the run. The chicks are now 4 wks old and Precious started laying eggs again about 4 days ago. Since she started laying eggs, she has not been the attentive mama that she used to be. She has even been pecking them sometimes when they get too close to her. We have a 1/3 acre yard and she will be way on one side foraging with the flock while her babies are screaming for her by the back door. Then last night, she went into the coop to roost with the other hens. The babies were in the dog kennel so we placed it in the coop and locked them in. This morning, everyone is fine and free ranging together but Precious is not letting the babies be with her at all. I'm sure that all of this is the natural way of things but I am concerned that the babies are so small and run the risk of being picked off by a hawk or neighborhood cat. We have another group of eight 8-11 week old chicks that spend their days in the enclosed run and only free range with supervision. We have begun the integration process but don't plan on putting them into the coop at night for another 5-6 weeks. They are a calm group that so far has just stared at the chicks when they encounter them in the yard. Would you recommend that I just take the risk and let things continue as they are? Or should I try to integrate the little ones with the teenagers? Or do you think that the little ones should be penned and not allowed to free range? The hens all tolerate them now and, if I separate them, we will have to integrate them again later. I was so hoping that Precious would take care of them for another week or two so they would be bigger before I had to make this decision!