Eating Eggs on Pesach from Chickens Fed with Chametz Feed

QUESTION

Maryland, USA

A congregant has their own chickens in the backyard that produce eggs. The chicken feed has wheat. I assume that the eggs would not be a problem because of zeh va’zeh gorem זה וזה גורם (some of the feed is not chametz—see SA YD 87:11), but I assume there is an issur of owning chametz on the feed and getting benefit from chametz if the owner owns his chickens. So the solution could be to sell the feed and the chickens together with the mechirah. Is there a halakhic way for the family to still eat the eggs over Pesach if the chickens belong to the non-Jew?

ANSWER

The eggs are a minor issue. Just have the Jew pay the non-Jew $1 for the right to collect and keep as many eggs as he wants.
Regarding the chametz feed—Is he also selling the property? If not, it’s a case of chametz shel goy shehufkad etzlo (chametz of a non-Jew that is left in the Jew’s possession) חמץ של גוי שהופקד אצלו, so the Jew would have to clarify that he is not accepting any achrayut (halakhic responsibility) even for negligent behavior on the feed and he has to make a mechitza around it (SA OH 440:1-2). Alternatively, they could have the feed in a locked shed (I think we can be lenient regarding the feed in front of the chickens so that we don’t have to worry about them coming to eat it by mistake—shema yavo le’ochlo שמא יבא לאוכלו). Ideally, he should sell the property to the non-Jew as well. (If the feed is only miyut chametz מיעוט חמץ – and not meant for human consumption ra’ui leachilat adam ראוי לאכילת אדם this would not apply—see SA OH 442:1 and MB 442:5 because we wouldn’t be concerned he would come to eat it.)

If the Jew is feeding these chickens then that might be a problem of shema yavo le’ochlo שמא יבא לאוכלו unless it’s not ra’ui le’achila ראוי לאכילה.

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