Author Archives: Chaim Loike

Save a Rare Kosher Bird

R Chaim Loike / The Philby partridge (Alectoris philbyi) is a partridge which is indigenous to Northern Yemen. It was at one time imported by the San Diego Zoo, and there were quite a few hobbyists who successfully raised the bird. For unknown reasons, the San Diego Zoo stopped raising this bird about a decade ago, and most hobbyists have likewise moved to more interesting exotics. At the same time, the situation in Yemen has become rather hostile. Although the bird is not listed as endangered, the collapse of the Yemenite government combined with rampant poaching does not bode well for the future of this species. The Philby partridge is unique because it is one of the few historically kosher birds, which is not raised in captivity. The birds which we generally eat include the classic domesticated chicken, turkey, duck and, if you are lucky, goose. The Talmud in the third chapter of Chullin explains that the majority of avian species are kosher. However, the Rama (SH”A YD 82:3) notes that our tradition is to refrain from eating any birds whose kosher status cannot be proven via a mesorah, a tradition of permissibility.

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