Ugh, I hate being the one who has to hand down the orders to the "executioner". I bought more chicks this summer, wanting to get better laying hens. The flock of 13 I have now are pretty, but not practical (for the most part). I am attached to some of them quite a lot. Now fall is quickly approaching and I'm having a hard time deciding how to integrate my 26 new Black Star pullets (plus one roo). I know in my head there are pecking order issues to consider, health considerations, and most of all the cost of feeding 40 chickens. I know logically All in/All out is supposed to be the way to go. I have a large coop and could probably fit them all in. My current layers are very healthy and if it weren't for an egg-eating problem I have with them, I would probably just keep them all! (And hope to sell enough eggs to break even.) I also don't want to be out of eggs through the winter. With a heat lamp in there, I usually get enough to keep us in eggs 'til they go back to normal laying. Here's what I am considering: I should go ahead and cull the bad layers, maybe leave 5 of the mature hens who lay best. Then go ahead and put the new black star pullets in with them and hope things settle down quickly. How do you guys make these tough decisions? Have you had good luck integrating two flocks or would it be better in the long run to just go ahead and do the deed? We do meat birds each year too, but I don't get attached to them and don't agonize over it. I don't know how it could be possible not to get attached to the girls!