Chickens are fun animals to keep, raise, and observe. They are not picky and will eat many things humans can eat. They have unique personalities, especially roosters, and they provide humans with eggs and meat.
Eggs and chicken meat are great food for humans to consume. But some religions or certain groups of people have rules on what their followers can eat, Jewish is no exception. So can Jewish enjoy eggs and chicken meat? Are chickens kosher?
Are chickens kosher?
Chickens are kosher animals. Chickens are poultry animals and all poultry animals and their byproducts are kosher food. Furthermore, the chickens must be processed and prepared according to the rules.
While the chickens are kosher fowls, you will also need to prepare, process, cook, and package the chicken products the right way.
The chickens will not be considered kosher if there is any trace of non-kosher products like blood, and if the tools used to process the chickens are not kosher tools.
Further reading: Are chickens mammals?
What is kosher?
“Kosher” is an English word that is derived from the Hebrew word “Kashér”. It means to be proper, pure, or suitable for consumption.
The “kashrut” is the law that sets up a foundation for kosher dietaries. It is found within the Jewish book of sacred texts – the Torah and passed down to generations through oral tradition.
The Kosher dietary laws provide a solid framework of rules that define which food is “kosher” or not. Moreover, they also provide rules about how the “Kosher” food is produced, processed, or prepared.
Also, the laws forbid certain food combinations, particularly from meat and dairy.
There are three main kosher food categories:
Kosher meat includes red meat and poultry, as well as their byproducts like bones, gravy, or soup. It also includes products made from or containing meat and poultry derivatives, like liver pills.
Here are the requirements for meat products to be considered kosher:
- The meat must come from animals that chew their cuds and have split hooves. For example, cows, goats, and sheep are kosher; foxes, kangaroos, rabbits are not kosher.
- Kosher fowls include domesticated chickens, cornish hens, geese, ducks, and turkey. All scavenger and predatory birds are forbidden and are not kosher. So chickens are indeed kosher animals
- However, the processing of the chickens must also obey the rules. The animals must be slaughtered precisely and examined by a skillful shochet, a person trained in kosher slaughtering.
- Furthermore, the allowed portions of the animals must be prepared, particularly to remove traces of blood before cooking. Also, the tools used during the process – from slaughtering to packaging – must be kosher as well.
Here are the animals that the rules explicitly listed as impure and considered not kosher:
- Camels: They chew the cud without their hooves being divided.
- Hyraxes (or coney according to the old English version of the bible): they chew the cud without having hooves being cloven.
- Hares: They chew the cud without having hoove being cloven.
- Pigs: They have cloven hooves but not chewing the cud.
“Kosher” dairy products are products made from or containing milk from a kosher animal.
Dairy foods are foods coming from or containing milk, such as milk, butter, all hard, soft, and cream cheese, and yogurt. Food can also be considered dairy if there is any trace of dairy food.
Here are the requirements for dairy products to be considered kosher:
- The milk must come from kosher animals.
- The other ingredients must be kosher as well and contain no meat derivatives. Gelatin, conventional rennet, etc. come from animals but are not used in kosher dairy
- Just like the meat, the tools used to produce the dairy product, from start to finish, must be kosher equipment.
Pareve is just neutral foods that have or are prepared with no meat and dairy products at all. They include eggs, fruits, fish, grains, vegetables, pasta, unprocessed juices, coffee, soft drinks, tea, snacks, candies, and more.
Here are something to know about pareve foods:
- If the pareve foods are processed using meat or dairy equipment, or when additives are used, they will no longer be pareve foods.
- For many fruits, grains, and vegetables, they must be checked if there is any trace of larvae and small insects, which are not kosher.
- If the eggs have blood spots, they won’t be kosher since blood is not considered kosher.
- Moreover, the tools used to process meat and dairy, from start to end, must be kept separate, that includes the sink used to wash the products as well.
Some rules about consuming chickens according to kosher traditions
The kosher traditions say that meat must not be served or consumed at the same time as dairy products. That means if you consume chicken products, your meal must not include any dairy products.
After eating meat, if you want to consume dairy products, you must wait for a certain amount of time. Different Jewish customs will have different interval times, but the range is from 1 to 6 hours.
There are a few debates about whether pareve food can be eaten along with either meat or dairy products.
But, if the tools used to prepare and process the pareve are used to do the same for meat and dairy products before, the pareve will become meat and dairy kosher, or not kosher at all.
So, are chickens kosher? Chickens are kosher animals. Kosher can be categorized into 3 groups: meat, dairy, and pareve.
Meat includes red meat and fowl, as well as their byproducts. Dairy includes products made from or containing milk. And pareve are just neutral foods that are not meat and dairy.
When having meals, you must not eat chickens along with a dairy product. After eating the chickens, you will need to wait about 1 to 6 hours to enjoy dairy products.