New to chickens. Well I had some 30 years ago but barely even remember it. So basically new to chickens Anyways, they are great about returning to the coop at night. Nest boxes have been in since coop was completed (converted) so for several months now. The girls just started laying this week. Trouble is, I had to have the pen shut during the day, due to newer smaller chicks. Coop is next to the barn where 7 barn cats hang out. So far, the cats have not done anything to the chickens though we have chased the cats away because they were "stalking". So anyways, pen was shut for this reason and to get the smaller chicks use to their new home. (those chicks hatched May 31) I then started letting them out before dusk, then a little longer each day, in hopes to have this transition complete and out all day before the arrival of our first eggs. Well, their first full day I was not able to be home so I had to keep them in the pen, and that was the same day our first eggs arrived. Only 2 laying hens, and they are laying by my house. First ones in the grass by the garage, but now using a trash can that we had cleaned out and it was over on it's side. It is fairly close to the garage, and this bunch of chickens like to hang out by my house, they act more like dogs sometimes I have a group of 9 meat chicks that dont hang with them. The little chicks will be layers and share the same coop so I am just not sure how to make everyone safe and happy. Yesterday I tried to keep the hens in, and everyone else out, but the roosters would not leave the area, so they were just terrorizing the other chicks that hang close to the pen/coop, mostly the little silkie roo. So I went ahead and let the girls out of the coop so they would move on away. Maybe I should have let them have access to the pen also, maybe that would have made the big roosters happy (3 brothers raised together) but I don't have a top on my pen and I am certain they could fly out if they wanted. (maybe they would not want to?) So anyways, maybe I should try them in the pen today? Maybe keep the roosters in with them and only let the little chicks out? I just don't know. And would it be less traumatic (especially for my little chicks - maybe I am the main one being traumatized - I don't know) but what if I just let the hens keep using the trash can by my house? It is convenient for me to check, the roosters are for the most part happy as they are still close, and maybe this winter when they are mostly kept in their coop they will start using their nest boxes? I just don't know what I should do for them. Thanks for any advice!