According to Halacha, is a bird which is owned by you as a pet muktzeh on Shabbat? Or no, is it not muktzeh and has a different din to land animals? If muktzeh, what type?


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In Masechet Shabbat 128b, it says one is forbidden to move on Shabbat domesticated animals, wild animals, or birds. The Ra'an says because living creatures are not suitable for any work on Shabbat, and there is nothing to do with them ("they do not see anything," they are not suitable for anything), and therefore, their law is like the law of stones and wood designated for Shabbat because since they have no use on Shabbat, it is forbidden to move them on Shabbat (as also explained in the Beit Yosef Siman 308). And so too is the law regarding birds in a cage, since there is no use for the bodies of the birds on Shabbat, it is forbidden to move them even when they are in a cage. And there is no distinction in this matter between moving domesticated animals and moving birds, as mentioned in Shulchan Aruch 308:39, "it is forbidden to move domesticated animals and birds on Shabbat." However, in truth, according to the opinion of the Or Zarua there is room to be lenient regarding moving birds on Shabbat, since people enjoy their voices on Shabbat, and in this enjoyment, there is no prohibition, and there is also no concern of prohibition in moving them, because no work is done with them at all, and we only enjoy their appearance and their chirping and singing. Therefore, according to the opinion of the Or Zarua, it is permissible to move birds in a cage on Shabbat.

Rav Ovadia in Yabia Omer 5:26 says that even though we follow the stricter opinion of the Rosh, nevertheless in a situation where there is concern for animal suffering, such as when the cage is in a place where the sun beats down on it, or they are in a very cold place, and there is danger to the birds and great suffering, one should rely on the opinion of the Or Zarua and permit moving the birdcage to a place where there is shade.

Rav Moshe Feinstein in Igrot Moshe 5:22:21 writes that small birds that are usually played with are not muktza, though elsewhere (Tiltulei Shabbo, p 119) is quoted as taking a stricter approach. Az Nidberu 8:36 is lenient.

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