I bought some 4/5week old chicks from a local farmer who bought them from Meyer hatchery. They are going on 6 weeks old now. So far they seem healthy and happy. After being handled daily they are getting friendly..and sometimes to brave! (One decided to fly and perch on a friends head as we were sitting in the run with them) so here are my questions.... My buff orp,barred rock,and austro are almost fully feathered but my NH red seems smaller and only has most of her wing feathers..are they slower to mature or maybe they are diff ages even though they are supposed to be the same? My black austro has small white tips on her wings,white on her chest and head(which is not feathered at all though the rest of her is feathered). Is this normal? Think maybe she is not an austrolorp? Or maybe a mix? Last one.. I have been putting the girls out for a few hrs each day in their coop/run if the temp is above 55. Making some slight changes to the coop and waiting till it is consistently warmer to put them oit full time. I have heard that if you want to free range that when you first put them in the coop that you lock them in the actual coop for a wek so that they learn where "home" is. Then they will automatically head for the coop in the evenings. How much truth is in this?...Should I shut them in the coop at night anyway just to keep them safe or will they be ok in the coop/run? The run is enclosed with chicken wire and will have a hardware cloth skirt and hardware cloth 1 foot up. I know not the most secure but the previous owners of the coop had no issues. It is a chicken tractor and we will be moving it around our fenced yard. The yard fencing is wire fencing with 1"x2" holes and about 3' tall. Have never seen any critters in the yard but the dogs prob deter critters too. Just want my girls to be safe. I love them already! My one dog is very protective of them but she sleeps inside at night so no help there!