I have 18 new chicks being shipped on the 19th, that I'm going to add to my existing 1 year old flock, and I'm starting to second-guess my plans. My plan has been to brood the chicks under a heating pad in a 6' x 2' cage I've built, out in the coop with the existing flock from day one. The cage I've build has a door on the front that can be swapped out between hardware cloth, and dowel bars that will let the chicks through but not the older birds. Once everyone got used to seeing each other, and the chicks were mature enough to exercise some judgement, I'd change the door so the chicks had their panic room, but were otherwise able to mingle with the bigs. Lately it's been getting down in the low 30s at night still, but hasn't been below freezing. I've also been reading some on Robert Plamondon's site, and he suggests keeping the lights on 24/7 for the first 3 days. That has me thinking I may keep them in our garage with a light on for the first 3 days, and then move them out to the brooding pen in the coop. With my brooding pen at 6' x 2', I'm hoping now that they've integrated enough before they get too large for the space. If not, I have plenty of chicken wire, x-pens, and 2x4's around - I'll manage - but again, second-guessing my plans. I like the idea of integrating the new chicks as early as possible. For those that also prefer this, am I pushing things too fast with this plan? Should I be concerned about them being on old build up deep litter from the get-go? Too much exposure right at first to possible diseases?