There is no such thing as a wild chicken-- they are a species that humans created through domestication, like dogs. They are technically a different species than their wild ancestors. That said, they sure can revert to be close to their wild ancestors (Junglefowl) and I am not at all arguing that they have instincts and the capabilities of their ancestors to survive and live naturally, if the habitat supports it (such as in FL or HI). Much like other domesticated species, if left in a suitable habitat without human intervention, they will revert quite well! Bird reproductive cycles are triggered by many factors, but photoperiod is the biggest. Which is why any lengthening of the daylight can trigger better egglaying in the winter for our hens, even if it's an incandescent bulb. My chickens are pets "with benefits", so I let them take a break, too. They are already 'programmed' through our selective breeding to lay far more eggs in a year than would be normal for a wild bird, and I feel that letting them have a break will lead to longer-lived birds. Again, mine are pets, though-- I must make that clear... I'm not trying to knock anyone that needs better winter production. I just want mine to be around as long as possible. I don't mind if they slow down in the winter or as they age, as we only need a few eggs a week for the two of us that live here.