Goodbye, dream of Silkies... not kosher, sorry. :-(

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by Flock Leader, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. Flock Leader

    Flock Leader Chillin' With My Peeps

    318
    16
    126
    May 3, 2012
    Israel
    I have wanted Silkies for ages, but my husband had a nagging doubt about their kosher status (we are Orthodox Jews). I sort of laughed it off; a chicken is a chicken, I said. But he still wanted to make sure, so I contacted Rabbi Chaim Loike from the Orthodox Union, and also other experts, and got a very unpleasant surprise as an answer: the kashrut status of the Silkie is dubious, both because of the extra toe and the exotic appearance which means there is no tradition of eating the bird or its eggs. So, bottom line: should not be eaten.

    I realize Orthodox Jews are a probably very small minority here, so the rest of you guys will continue keeping Silkies and eating their eggs, but for the Orthodox Jewish Silkie lovers, those are bad news. I suppose you can say we might keep them as pets, not for their eggs, but then we might get confused between eggs of our other chickens, and we might also have accidental extra-toed progeny (as the extra toe gene is dominant) we wouldn't know where to place.

    So, just wanted to post here just in case some Orthodox Jew is thinking about getting Silkies and reads this. It would be very disappointing to invest time and money, and to bond with these charming birds, only to find out later you have to get rid of your beloved Silkies.

    Sigh. I suppose I should be content with Cochins.
     
    2 people like this.
  2. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,341
    106
    218
    Aug 18, 2011
    Virginia
    That is fascinating, thank you for posting. I've always been interested in the Jewish traditions and beliefs but never once considered the impact on things like pets or keeping livestock.
    I suppose that if you really wanted to keep them just as pets, you could have a pen set aside strictly for silkies. Any eggs could be either fed back to them or to the dogs/cats.
     
  3. Flock Leader

    Flock Leader Chillin' With My Peeps

    318
    16
    126
    May 3, 2012
    Israel
    Yes, theoretically we could do that, but in practice it would be difficult. We keep a mixed flock and free-range them, which makes for happier chickens, reduced food costs, and a yard with less weeds and bugs. So... oh well. We all suffer disappointments in life.
     
  4. Magic Birdie

    Magic Birdie Overrun With Chickens

    7,672
    20
    251
    May 3, 2011
    Magic Birdie land
    So what if you can't eat them, though? Silkies are great pets.
     
  5. Flock Leader

    Flock Leader Chillin' With My Peeps

    318
    16
    126
    May 3, 2012
    Israel
    You're right, and if we had the possibility to provide separate housing, we'd do that, but it just isn't practically feasible. Also, financially, we can't afford to keep chickens whose eggs we'd never eat. Perhaps we could sell Silkie chicks, but then we'd be selling them to Jews knowing they'd eat eggs of a non-kosher-authorized bird, which is a problem.
     
  6. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,341
    106
    218
    Aug 18, 2011
    Virginia
    I admire you for staying true to your beliefs. Good for you.

    So it's the extra toe that makes them non kosher? It's an odd/even number of toes thing?
     
  7. Mac14

    Mac14 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,200
    42
    191
    Jul 21, 2012
    Northern California
    Just found this thread, and it seems like a very interesting topic. I looked up the foods that are kosher, and it said chickens are kosher, and silkies are ALL chicken. I think it is kind of interesting that just because the chicken looks different it is "not allowed". Hmmmmm. Sorry for my little speech there, I just found it...........a new thought to me.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,918
    92
    211
    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    Thanx for posting this.
    I had no idea a Silkie would be considered "non-Kosher."
    Ya learn new things every day!

    [​IMG]
     
  9. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    84,607
    14,346
    816
    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Other breeds of chicken have extra toes. As far as their appearance I would bet Polish, Appenzellers(sp?) frizzles, showgirls, etc etc. would also be banished. I thought silkies aren't reliable layers anyway. My grandparents were orthodox - maybe they never knew of exotic breeds but I think if it clucked and laid eggs, they would have considered it a chicken and eaten if.
     
  10. Flock Leader

    Flock Leader Chillin' With My Peeps

    318
    16
    126
    May 3, 2012
    Israel
    I know, other breeds have extra toes as well and because the gene is dominant it can appear even in a chicken that looks as though it has nothing to do with the original breed. We just discovered an extra toe in one of our cochins and will be giving her away.

    Yes, most people aren't at all aware that the extra toe or very exotic appearance can be a kashrut problem. I only learned it myself last week.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by