I have often wondered the same thing about light needs, it truly does not make sense.My flock gets quality feed offered all the time but they mostly free range. Do flocks that get just commercial feed lay more and better eggs than flocks that free range too? Why do chickens need 16 hours of light? Chickens near the equator never get 16 hours of light, they would have to supplement light year round.
Wow, I actually never thought of that, but it's true! Still, but supplementing light in my coop, I was able to get continuous production for years. Only this fall did I decide to shorten my hens' days along with the shorter fall days, and sure enough, they ain't layin'! Granted, some are going through a molt.Chickens near the equator never get 16 hours of light, they would have to supplement light year round.