We just got some mature hens and want to get a few chicks this spring also. We would brood them separately when small but about when do they join the flock outdoors? Also, if we want to use some for eggs and a couple for meat, what's the best way to feed them differently? We only have and can afford one coop right now. But there is a good amount of space in the backyard. During the day, could the young'uns feed in the chicken run while the mature hens and their food are placed outside the run in the yard, then they all roost together at night? That way we can keep the young'uns eating grower and not layer pellets. Then we could let the new birds who will be layers join the layers and the ones destined for the freezer to stay separate and eat finisher until their time comes. Am I describing this is a way that makes sense? This is mostly to learn right now and gain experience so that in years to come we may hopefully be completely self sufficient in terms of eggs and poultry meat. Thanks!