here is my question for all: My family has a flock of 6 hens and 1 rooster. We are raising three more chicks. We want to integrate the young ones into the main flock. We are not interested in culling. (We have culled and we don't want to cull at this time. Our main flock is producing just fine...) My flock consists of 1 Bantam Buff Cochin rooster, 1 Astralorp, 1 Rhode Island Red, 2 Buff Orpingtons and 2 Ameracaunas. The chicks are 6 weeks plus, as of today. I am about to transition the chicks from chick starter feed to grower feed. The chicks are presently living in a pen inside the main, enclosed chicken yard. Therefore, they are presently separated and able to eat their specific feed. But, I would prefer to have the young birds living amidst the mature hens but my concern is about the birds getting into each others different feeds. I understand that chicks CANNOT eat layer feed until approximately 5/6 months due to the calcium and its affect on their kidneys. So, as I envision integrating the young and older birds together, this is the scenario: I could raise up the hanging feeder, containing the layer feed, so the feed would be unaccessible (for now...) to the chicks (excluding the scattered feed on the ground though). And I would allow the grower feed to be accessible to the chicks (AND consequently any other interested older birds too...). So, my questions are: Is it harmful if a layer bird eats occasional grower feed? And is it harmful if the chicks/pullets scavenge occasional layer feed? Or is there a feed that both ages could consume, considering we prefer that they live together? Or must I keep these birds completely separate until the pullets come into lay and everyone can eat layer feed? Thank you (and please be specific with your answers).