Firstly, I'd like to introduce myself and say Hi! My wife and I, and our 3 boys live in western NC. Lots of backyard chicken owners here and we decided to finally take the plunge. I built an on the ground coop and run, part of which is enclosed under the stairs on the side of our home. Inside, I placed a long nesting box separated into 3 sections, 15x15, slightly raised off the ground. There is a perch in front of it, maybe 8 inches off the ground and a few feet long, and another smaller perch in the run. Today, we went to a local small livestock auction and purchased our first chickens. Unfortunately, with all the reading I did do, I never read until afterward that I should have tried to keep them all the same age, and, when the auction began, anything I had learned seemed to go out the window as I turned into a moron suddenly not knowing what to do So, what we ended up with, was 4 youngin's, frankly, only relatively sure they are hens, one adult hen of a different breed, and a youngish rooster. Brought them home and showed them their new home. Within an hour, the rooster was mating the adult, and seemed to be bullying the smaller hens, giving them little pecks from time to time and chasing them away. We went out for dinner, and when we came back, the rooster and older hen were on the perch in the run (getting along fabulously apparently), and the 4 others were huddled together in one of the laying boxes. I opened the gate, reached in and grabbed each of the younger hens, and placed them on the long perch. After a couple of minutes, all had returned to the nesting box. Now, it's the first night, but there are questions... 1) This behavior from the rooster...normal? Should I be watching very closely to see if he's bullying the young ones? What might have happened while I was gone that left those 4 huddled together in a nesting box? 2) Sleeping in the nesting box. This isn't good I read earlier. Advice? 3) Golfballs in the nesting box...should I place one, two, three....in each box until I see them getting used for eggs, and then remove them? Or keep them in there? It's all new to me, but we're very excited. Hopefully the age range between the older hen and the rest won't cause problems, but I guess time will tell. Thanks for any advice you might have!