"Today's the day"! That's what I said yesterday when the sun was out & the timing seemed right. The four broody hatched chicks are 6 wks old (3 pullets/1 roo) & three hatchery chicks are 4 wks old (2 pullets/1 roo). It was finally a warmer day to get them out of brooding areas & outside for real sunlight & warmth. Got a pic of that below. They enjoyed the sun while "Blue" broody hen watched on. It was also her day to permanently rejoin the flock, her chicks are independent now & I want to see her get back into the swing of things to be outside again with the flock. The chicks got to mingle in the sun for the 1st time when I opened the doors of the little cages into each other. They bonded over eating fresh popcorn, shared the shade when I put a board on one side, drank water & ate chick food together. That bliss went well for about an hour, until one of the older pullets started picking on all & any of the younger ones. Bummer! So back in the separated chick area in the coop with a divider between them so they can socialize for a couple more weeks. The heat lamp is mostly on the younger ones (smaller, but fully feathered & out of their brooder for the 1st time). They all did fine last night & looked happy this morning. Got a pic of that below. This is Blue's 1st time as a broody & she is a real champ. The broody hen has been reluctant to leave her four chicks in her short walks around the coop this week, but made it through the night with the rest of the flock. I had to put her up on the roost with them last night & was happy to see that by the time I returned from work today, she was finally going outside on her own. Got a pic of that mingling below. On my last visit to the coop tonight, she was on the roost again & calmly looking down at her chicks in their area. The transition has not been easy for her, as there have been several quick supervised fights that she has initiated to protect her chicks, so some hard feelings between the hens are present. Especially when one hen pecked 2 of her chicks by surprise in the beginning, I read that the others can consider chicks (not their own) to be intruders. Then there's "Buckbeak" rooster who has cleverly broken up the fights & has devised a way to make all of the hens behave. He's brilliant! I call it "rules by Buckbeak"; he ushers every hen that comes into the coop, into a corner by the chicken door where he apparently tells them to bow their heads in that corner, I once saw 3 hens doing it. Got a pic of that below. So happy to have him keep the peace in the flock. Wow! This has been a beautiful experience for me & the flock, watching the broody with hatching & rearing, then watching the flock's interactions. It's way more fun than all of the incubating that I've done. Will give this broody hatching another go next year if one of my girls is willing to go broody again. Best wishes.