So Ive begun the arduous task of introducing my 6 and 8 week old chicks to my 18 week old Dellie pullet and 17 week old BO roo. I say arduous because I have 3 dogs, 2 rabbits, and 2 tanks full of fish and none of them have ever been quite so stubborn when it comes to getting along. I started by putting the 3 youngsters in the enclosed coop while the older 2 ran around the fenced in run (which surrounds the coop.) This started about 2 weeks ago. Seemed to go fine the older ones were curious, and made a lot of noise, but it all seemed pretty normal. This past weekend, I decided I would try letting them free range together under close supervision. Surprisingly, the older pullet seemed much more aggressive than the rooster. She went after them almost immediately, but I would shoo her away and everything would be fine for awhile again. I now have a spray bottle I use on her which works great. The babies would stay together on one side of the run and the older ones would do their own thing. The rooster just ignores them all for the most part. He would walk past them, and not even look in their direction. They of course would chirp up a storm because Im sure he looks like a giant to them. Each evening I put the babies back in their brooder in my outbuilding. Works fine, except they are getting so big now, and my brooder is only a large Rubbermaid container that now they just have enough room to lay down and sleep and walk around a bit in. When I leave them in there too long they pop off the chicken wire lid I have on it and jump out to run around the outbuilding pooping everywhere! I didnt have this problem with my first group because I moved them out by the time they were 6 weeks. So now the question is, when do I attempt the overnight stay? I thought about trying last night, but one of the 6 week old chicks was scared to death by the time evening rolled around and she was chirping so loud I thought she was going to wake my neighbors. They had been in the run all afternoon with the older two and I guess the trauma of getting chased by them was still too fresh in her mind. I thought maybe I would attempt a night run on Friday (sneak them in while the older two are asleep on their roosts.) Is this still too soon though? Ive read many of the old posts about fencing off an area in the coop for the smaller ones and not introducing until they are all the same size, but I dont know if I have the proper set up to be able to do this, not to mention isn't that going to take at least another 6 weeks or so? Since I only have 2 in my current flock, I maybe able to try separating them for awhile, and then bringing them all back together after a week or so to establish a new flock, but it will be a pretty large undertaking to attempt this, and how likely is it that it would even be successful? To complicate things even further, it seems my rooster is also getting to that age. Ive caught him grabbing his pullet companions neck twice and hes started chasing her around the run in the mornings. Will his extra testosterone be an issue with establishing a new pecking order in the flock? Any advice would be very helpful. I know a lot of this is trial and error, but I also dont want to force anything if its too early. I have a portable fence enclosure that I use for my rabbits and I could probably figure out a way to make a roof for if I have to. Again though, is it going to need to be for 6 weeks?