Is ostrich meat kosher

Questions about kosher food

With just a few exceptions, the animals listed in the Torah are of something that Jews today are not sure how to handle the correct animal today.

Kosher in animals is generally determined by cleft hooves and chewing buds. These are the physical characteristics of the animal that make it kosher.

Regarding birds, the understanding is that the Torah opting for the smaller list only lists non-kosher birds. Kosher birds are more numerous. However, since there is uncertainty about what these non-kosher birds are, the list of kosher birds in practice is quite small - only the ones we traditionally refer to as kosher birds are kosher.

As with animals, the Talmud provides signs of a kosher bird. However, not all Jewish communities depend on being able to recognize them correctly.

In light of this, Turkey is probably the most "controversial" kosher bird. Being a New World bird, it lacks tradition, but there are many who eat it anyway.

Regarding the three birds you asked about, ostrich is a common translation of the first bird in Leviticus 11:16, so it is not treated as kosher.

As for the other two, this Star-K article says:

As an example, we hypothesized that the guinea fowl was kosher. So we bought two guinea fowl, put them in a cage on top of the car, and went looking for old shochtim and rabbanim who may have slaughtered or supervised their slaughter in the old country. As a bird native to North Africa, we tried North Africans and Yemenis.

We started with the Yemeni shochet who had taught us. No luck. He referred us to several others. Still no one recognized it. At least we were impressed with their honesty. After several attempts in Jerusalem, we were ready to give up. The next day we took the guinea fowl to an old respected rabbi in the Har Nof section of Jerusalem. With a faint glimmer of approval, the rabbi asked that one be removed from the cage so that he could examine it better. No, he didn't recognize the bird.

But this wise Guinea seized the opportunity and ran out of the room. The following scene with the old rabbi in his long caftan chasing the bird could be from any comedy film. Should anyone find a stray, strange looking, lost bird in Jerusalem, it could be our missing Guinea.

Our persistence has finally paid off. When we came back from a deer in Tzefas, we still had (a) Guinea as a travel partner. We saw Rabbi Elbaz, an old Algerian shochet. We had struck gold. He recognized the bird undoubtedly and confirmed that he had slaughtered it in Algeria nearly fifty years ago.

Our next subject was the partridge, another bird we suspected was kosher. Here we had even greater difficulties. Finally, I remembered that her Chief Rabbi had once told me while investigating the small Aramaic-speaking community in Israel that he had slaughtered a bird called "Keklik" in Turkish. A brief examination revealed that he was talking about the partridge. Pay back dirt. We brought him the bird, he identified it, and we were traveling with a different tradition.


Warning - eat this comment with a "stain" sauce - Turkey controversial ??? You mean that the Jews who arrived on the Mayflower ate traif after trading with the "Indians"?


@ DanF, I added a link to the question about Turkey. I'm not sure if your comment was a joke or only partial.

Neil Meyer

Am I right if I assume that ostrich eggs are still not kosher?


@NeilMeyer, yes, only eggs from a kosher bird are kosher.