A year ago we bought our property with a Rooster and 16 layer hens at that time they were 1-2+ years old. I have culled a few older ones so we are down to 6 original hens and the original rooster. (Culling- sorry! they are not pets but live happy lives meantime then IMHO the older ones have made the best stock EVER, my folks are not so impressed, but I really appreciated knowing I ate an animal that had lived a wonderful life). So now I have a mix of older hens and mama raised chicks. Until chicks are about 5 or so months old I keep them penned separate, due to bad experiences with hawks, etc and also one had its neck broken at 4 months old by someone in the flock after a slow integration and I won't let that happen again if possible. The flock can see mama hen and babes through the fence. I've chosen to reduce the number of layer hens to no more than 10 plus rooster, this keeps the coop free of crowding issues. I am very lucky I never have to lock them in the coop, their entry hatch is always open, I shut the main door at night and do a head count and bed time song that they think is terribly off key, and I can allow them to free range over a few acres daily. I see each evening how they settle into the coop, they are not short of space. I do not know the breeds I have (this is rural paraguay - it is a layer and/or a meat chicken!!). I now have a mix of 2-3 year olds, 9 months and 6 month old girls... I am about ready to put ALL the older girls in the stew pot just because they are so mean to the younger ones. I integrated the last 3 chicks slowly, they took a few days to move into the main coop cause Mama moved on quicker, but they still hide from the adults during the day. I did see them free ranging together for the first time today but that is after a month of integration and they still hang back from good feed I need them to eat at least once a day for protection from parasites, etc.. I really want to maintain a variety of ages for many reasons - but the mean hens are nasty, a newly hatched chick got away from mama and into their coop (gate was open) and within a moment it was killed. Not sure if the rooster is not part of the problem. He is a good guardian in the free range paddock. Any advice?