Hello: We are leaving town for a full day in a few days and I won't be around to keep an eye on my Mama hen and her week old chicks. I don't want to lock them in the coop all day with the other hens because I think the other hens will peck at them. I don't want to lock them in the coop WITHOUT the others as the others need to lay in their boxes at free will. They have been known to lay in the bushes, but I feel bad "making" them do this. I am tempted to let them all free range and just leave the coop door open, but I am nervous about that as well because, although it is a tall fenced yard and there are plenty of trees, it is not a covered run and the babies are sooo little. Because I'm at home most of the day, I've been very vigilant about locking the mama and babies in the coop for hours at a time when the other hens are done laying. I am always going out and checking on the situation and making sure everything is ok. It's actually been exhausting, but we weren't really set up for baby chicks. It would be a lot easier all the way around to just bring the chicks inside into a brooder. But they are so used to being outside now I think it would be quite mean to isolate them in a small place. My only other option is to lock the mama and babies in the duck coop all day and let the ducks free range- (which they do anyway.) It's just I know the mama hen will freak if evening comes and she's locked in there and can't bring the babies home to her coop.... What would YOU do?