I think I’ve got this chicken dilemma solved. My baby chicks were being bullied by the young adults and I learned the hard way that this could mean mortal danger. I did some research and talked over options with my engineer husband and I believe we have a solution that we can manage.
Last year, we added an inner door to the chicken run so I could sequester them away from the barn door when necessary. As of today, this will limit their movement until the babies are big enough to fend for themselves. I moved the nursery into one side, moved a waterer to the other side, and aimed the heat lamp in the new direction. Voila! The babies now have their very own chicken yard to explore and exercise. The adults will get to watch and smell them next door until the kids are older and can begin to mix. If I have to, I can still close the babies up in their box to get them out of the way as the goats or people come tromping through.
I hope it won’t get really cold too soon. That could complicate my plans but I am pretty good at adapting. This will also give the young adults an incentive to begin sharing the coop at night. They tend to cling to the cohort they were raised with and blending the family comes hard for them. The whole generation from two years ago never did quite learn to sleep in the coop.