Try not to stress over the bees, I'm sure they'll do fine. Sometimes there is fighting even if there were not a queen in one of the hives combined. From what you say, you see a couple hundred dead or so, maybe more, and that is minor compared to the boost in population you now have after the combine.
We are in the time of year where it's best not to be messing with the hives. If they are light on stores then maybe feed in a non invasive way, but they'd have to be very light for me to mess with them now. Feeding syrup just adds to the moisture in the hive, if you feel they need more feed, try feeding dry sugar over a sheet of newspaper trimmed so that it has space around the edges for bees to get thru on the top of the top bars of the top box with an empty box and lid on top of that. But I'd do that only if the hive seemed very light in stores, and it sounds like yours do have stores already.
Yes Ray they do seem to have plenty of stores especially now that honey-heavy hive1 now rests on hive2 and they are now one unit. I am hoping this hive will be my main honey producer next year. I will give them a break from my manipulations until then.
I had to nurse along both of my hives (which were taken from swarms) by pretty heavy feeding at times late in summer until fall. I think they built up slowly due to old queens and a bout with SHB. I am 90% sure hive1 superceded their queen late in the season which made a break in the brood cycle but they appeared to be slowly building back up until cold weather arrived and that seemed to have reduced her egg laying greatly. At least that's how I interpret it.
I have some pollen substitute and stand ready to feed syrup around February to build up populations so they can bolt from the gate as soon as that nectar flow begins.
Thanks to people like yourself I hope I have gotten my bees through their first year with their beginner beekeeper. If they have survived my mistakes they should be able to tackle anything Mother Nature throws at them!
Your interpretation sounds good to me. This time of year, at least here where I'm at, they've really slowed down laying. In September and October I was boosting with pollen patties and sugar syrup. That gave them a year end boost and they started laying stronger (Pollen patty does that to them especially when they have sugar syrup along with it). I've not looked at mine since November 1 and won't until very end of January or beginning of February on a nice sunny day, and then only minimumly. The activity looks good on the front boards and that's going to have to satisfy my curiosity.
I try to start paying attention to what's needed for over winter around the end of august here, so they are all set by November 1. That gives them November to finish processing the sugar syrup into honey and arrange their stores and broodnest how they want by the time the cold and rain hits in December and January. It's just my opinion, but I feel that feeding sugar syrup in wet weather isn't sucha good thing because of excessive moisture in the hives. If I ever felt there was need for feed when weather was wet, I'd feed white granulated sugar on newspaper. Just my thoughts and opinions, everyone does what works for them.
Best of luck to you over winter, I know being as fresh of beek as you are is exciting and nerve-wracking both!