I live practically in downtown Houston and have eight hens three (one bantam) EEs, three RRs and two bantam EE crosses. I am getting 18 chicks (six of which will be mine (3 Brabanters and 3 Silverlaced Wyandots) and 12 of which I will raise for a friend for 4-6 weeks). My hens spend most of their time in a fully fenced (including on top) run 15' by 20' They roost / eat / lay there and have two or three hours run of the yard most days. They have a coop which they almost entirely ignore except to occasionally lay eggs on the floor (nest boxes all in run) or poke around for amusement. Now to the question. I plan to put the brooder (built from half a large dog crate, protected from predators by hardware mesh) in the coop. I have been told that once the chicks are out of the brooder, I will have to block the hens from getting to them to protect the chicks, but until then, is there any reason not to let the hens in with the brooder at least during the day? Too worried about that light to let anyone in at night, and they all roost in the run anyway. Anything else I should think about with this set-up? I am as nervous as that proverbial mother hen which, apparently I will be pretending to be for the next several months. Any help very much appreciated.