Interesting article and questions! I've felt for a long time chicken wasn't good for me, wonder if this is why? Seems there's some conflicting research on this issue with some studies saying linoleic acid is awful and others saying it helps (in humans). One study I found said that it might be genetic whether LA is good or bad for you and that's why all the contradictory findings. I always think
experimenting for yourself and finding what works for your body is best when it comes to food. But I digress. Am I right in thinking that you are worried not just about LA in your diet, but about the overall health of your chickens, since it sounds like too much is bad for them also?
I don't know if sprouting would help. This would seem to suggest not so much? But I am tired and could be misreading/missing something.
"In waxy wheat, sprouting did not significantly affect FA composition of both free and bound lipids as well as the content of essential FAs (linoleic and linolenic acids) during 48 h of germination . Sprouting had a significant effect on FAs composition of 9-day old wheat seedlings, as observed by Ozturk et al. : the linolenic acid (18:3 n3) content increased, while the amount of cis-18:1 and cis,cis-18:2 FAs decreased. Conversely, after 3 days of germination the FAs more represented in wheat sprouts were palmitic acid, linoleic acid and oleic acid ." Sprouted Grains: A comprehensive review
Reducing their intake of grains below that does seem a little tricky, depending. Are they free ranging or in an enclosure?
I'd think some sort of chicken composting
system or something that generates lots of bugs would be the thing. Maybe some occasional suet from pastured animals could be part of a picture? Or roadkill in colder times, if you're not squeamish and your setup permits?
I'm no expert on chicken nutrition though. Hopefully some other folks have thoughts.