I have a broody hen raising 12 chicks...six of them are 3 weeks old and six are 2 weeks old. They are all doing well and are separated in a broody coop within the big chicken yard. I try to let the other 3 adult hens out into the backyard at least evey few days so the broody hen can take the chicks into the bigger yard without too much concern about the other hens. The broody coop is starting to get a bit crowded as the chicks get bigger. I have, under direct supervision only, allowed the older hens the opportunity to be in the same yard at the same time as the broody hen/chicks. The broody hen had been doing fine as far as protecting them and flogs the other hens if they get too close. The other hens have not gone after the chicks at all and seem a bit confused and apprehensive about getting close to them. My question is....how old do the chicks need to be before I can allow them to occupy the same space? I know they will have to establish a pecking order at some point so expect some chasing/pecking as they do this. I also will not be keeping all the chicks (most likely only 2-3). I have been off work due to my husband's illness but will be returning to work in about 2 weeks and it will be much harder for me to have supervised sessions after that.