I have been asked to explain what my system is all about. So I will keep it short as I can.First of all you must pair up your breeders on Dec 1st each year. After you put lights on the cocks for 18 hrs a day 2 weeks before pairing, The hens only get 7 days of 18 hrs in their section ,or they will pair to each other and be eggy when you go to give them a cock,They may reject the cock as well being mated to another hen, Now leave the lights on in the breeding loft for 18 hrs a day on timer switch till the length of day matches your lights in the spring while you raise ybs. i have them come on at 5 AM go off at 9 am ,,back on at 3 pm and off at 11 pm.This saves hydro through the day . Is why i do it. If you don't care about the hydro bill, then on at 5 am and off at 11 pm, They get 6 hrs to rest in the dark .
Now when you ween over the ybs ,they get no light at all. This is the darkening effect. At the end of January there is only approx. 9.5hrs of light and this causes the head and body to molt just the same as if you closed up the loft. You have to breed early to get the less light effect. This will work well for the 1st and 2nd rounds, The 3rd round will have less of an effect but will still work, Also i race on double widowhood with the ybs ,So they will be sexually mature when you breed early.
Now June 21st is the longest day of the year, After this the days get shorter by a minute or two each day. Mother natures tells all creature to shed fur and grow new fur and birds shed feathers for new winter feathers, When the birds molt it destroys the body plumage and the flight feathers and they can not race and hold form. .
Now is the time to put the lights on the ybs for 18 hrs a day once again. On June 21 st..Not the 22nd or the 23rd,Must be no later then the 21st. I have done it on June the 15th for many yrs now, So they never see a reduction of that minute or two each day. Now mother nature says to them ,its ok ,you don't have to molt yet as the days are not getting shorter yet.DO NOT MISS THIS TIME FRAME,NO LATER THEN THE 21ST. Now your team already has the body molt done. By turning on the lights they will hold the flight feathers much longer. So you can race with a full wing on your birds. Some of the birds with the high metabolisms will molt flights as far up to the 6th to 7th ,which is ok .As long as they do not get to the last 3 power flights your ok. Most though will not get past 4th flight. or 2nd flight. by the end of September.
After the last race is flown turn off the lights in the yb loft. To normal light. As the days are shorter light by the end of September ,they will go into another body molt ,which is good. The flight feathers will start to drop ,some 2 at at time and the flights will finish up by the end of January. Now you have a yearling with fresh springy flights and a smooth body plumage to compete in the Old Bird races in the spring.
I have used this system since 1995 with great success. No respiratory problems with bad ventilation by closing off the widows for a full dark system. Now if you don't breed early then you need to do a full darkness system. I have never done a full darkness system myself,