Then I got chicks. Nine Barred Rock pullets (female chicks) and two cockerels (male chicks).
They lived in our mudroom for several weeks. By the end of that time, we were quite tired of the space in the mudroom being taken up by chicks. I was hesitant to put them out, however, because the hens we already had weren't too pleased. The first night I tried to put them out was a disaster. I had the chicks lined up on the roost and ready for bed. I let the hens in and stood back with satisfaction to watch-- Little Red Hen rushed in, at the head of the small flock as always, and started flinging chicks off the roost. The other hens followed suit.
The chicks were hustled back into their nice warm mudroom to spend the night in peace.
I tried again every night for the next three nights. Each time, the hens behaved a little bit better until I decided to leave them all night. I was very relieved about that. For a while it looked like we were going to have chicks in our mudroom forever!
Next year I plan to get some Rhode Island Red chicks from a breeder that has a line that goes broody-- sit on their eggs, that is. Sadly, that quality has been bred out of the chickens from commercial hatcheries.
This is a young chick:
This is what they look like now: