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Ask the rabbi Shabbat and Holidays Chametz and Pesach Products

Feeding Animals on Passover

Rabbi Chaim Tabasky30 Nisan 5765
1850
Question
What do I feed my chickens on passover? It has grain in it. Does the chicken feed belonging to the chickens as i do not intend to eat it? And it is not kept in the house -- it is kept outside near their coop. The chickens need grain to survive and it doesn’t seem right to deprive them of food in order for me to fullfill a Mitzvah. Also there is no way I could possibly clean out their chicken house other than to burn it to the ground in order to get all the grain out. Also dog food -- what do I do about it. I know there is kosher for passover dog food -- but what if I cannot get any? I have been in a situation where I had to feed a lot of dogs food that made them sick because the person who I was working for demanded that I not use the dog food and instead give them raw chickn parts over passover. I did not have access to a stove or I would have cooked the chicken. Could the dog food belong to the dogs? Or could the dogs have been sold to a gentile along with their feed and then feed with the Chametz dog food? As if caring for the gentile’s animals?
Answer
Not only is it forbidden to eat or own Chametz on Pesach; it is also forbidden to derive benefit from Chametz, and feeding one's animals with chametz is gaining benefit. Even if the Chametz does not belong to me the prohibition applies. Selling the animals to a non Jew for the duration of Passover and allowing him to feed the animals is a solution. Kosher for Passover dog food is readily available in the US and Israel. In Israel non Chametz chicken feed is used as well. It is not necessary to burndown the coop. Starting feed awhile before Passover with non chametz products allows an assumption that the chickens will eat the Chametz.
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