I have a couple of surprise July 4th babies. Mom was sitting on eggs I had no idea were fertile but two hatched earlier this week. I wanted to protect them from the main flock so for a couple of days I put a small dog kennel in front of the nest. I posted a question about what to do with them but got no answers. After reading lots of old threads, I decided to take her and the chicks and put them into a large kennel just outside the pen. Everyone can see and hear each other. She had been great I think for a first time mommy. My coop is raised with a ramp to get in but I am worried about the babies. I have two top hens (Leghorn sisters) that rule the coop with an iron beak. The broody mom was right up there in the pecking order despite the fact she is a bantam. Now I want to put them all back together. We are building a new coop but it won't be done for a few weeks. Is there a rule of thumb about what age the chicks should be before putting them back with the flock. When would a hen normally introduce her chicks to the flock? Here are my choices. 1) should I put them in the pen and coop I have now? There are about 14 hens-Mixed bantam and the 2-leghorns plus 17 week old cochins, marans, and rock pullets (all on the bottom of the pecking order of course). 2) put them in with my little guys who never made it to the big pen yet. They too are 17 weeks old - a frizzle cochin, a dizzy Polish pullet, 2 silkies and a Wyandotte pullet that everyone picks on. Most likely the bottom of my entire flock despite her size. 3) wait until the big coop and pen is done when they will all be together (well that is the plan). I could incorporate a small pen inside the large run so they can get away from the big girls.