Space and the recent torrential downpours are why I took down the hardware cloth separator between the two areas. The babies are getting big. They're not too little to be around the big girls and because they're getting bigger, the little area provided by The Maternity Ward is sufficient, but doesn't seem like a fair amount for them to be stuck in for most of the day. Then, there's the rain. Over the last few weeks it has rained a lot. As soon as the ground dries it seems to rain again, making the main coop too wet and muddy for the bug girls to be able to get a good dust bath. The Maternity Ward side is completely covered by a wooden roof and due to positioning the ground on that side is barely ever wet. Remove the barrier between the two sections and the problem is solved. The littles get roam of three times the space they had before and the big girls get dirt that is always dry and good for dusting.
Last year we had a few little tiffs when the two mini flocks were joined, but today I haven't seen any major issues. I don't know if it's because these babies are bigger than last year's or because they're calmer and seem less nervous, which makes the big girls calmer, or if it's because the big girls have had plenty of time to put the littles in their place while everyone has been out free ranging in the yard. Whatever it is, we've had a happy day in the coop. They're like the Brady Bunch out there. Er, The Chicken Bunch.