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I know that we are not allowed to derive benefit from chometz during Pesach, and that this prohibition extends to feeding our pets food containing chometz. (Source: http://cor.ca/view-515-pet-food-on-passover-and-throughout-the-yearhtml.htm) Would having chometz in an outdoor birdfeeder on our property count as a violation, given that the animals are not our pets, that the "feeding" is completely passive, and that there may be an ethical mandate to continue feeding birds one has already fed for a long time? (The last point insofar as we are not necessarily feeding them to derive benefit for ourselves.)

Tangentially related: Badikas Chamatz in courtyards of cities today

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  • I do not think there will be any "ethical mandate to continue feeding birds one has already fed for a long time", – hazoriz Jan 8 '16 at 11:49
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    I believe the ruling is that leaving chametz outdoors but on your property is allowed only if the assumption is that birds/wild animals will consume it before the time of the prohibition kicks in. Otherwise, it needs to be proactively destroyed in advance. – Loewian Jan 8 '16 at 14:01
  • Would a Jew be allowed to let someone else store their birdseed in his bird feeder? Seems like it might be related to: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/51098/… – andi Jan 8 '16 at 20:56
  • @DoubleAA Excellent information; I hope you will take the usual advice and turn this into an answer, rather than a comment.' – SAH Jan 12 '16 at 8:22
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No, it is not permissible to keep chometz in your bird feeder during Pesach. See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, 112:1-2.

http://www.sefaria.org/Kitzur_Shulchan_Aruch.112.1-4?lang=he&layout=lines&sidebarLang=all

From the perspective of 'benefit', there is gratification resulting from the birds coming to eat at your feeder. That can be related to appreciating their songs, or their beauty or the feeling of being kind to the animals.

Whether you put out seed or not, they will be provided for by the Creator of us all.

It could be thought that the bird food might fall under the sale of chometz, but anything under the sale must be reasonably secured from loss. Placing it in the feeder presumes it will be consumed and diminished.

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    The criterion that you mentioned in the last sentence is an interesting nuance that I hadn't considered. Is this part mentioned in SA that you xref'd? What if the price of food (or in this case, birdseed) goes down during the week of Pesach? That's already a loss. – DanF Jan 8 '16 at 15:47
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    @DanF, no, it isn't mentioned there. It involves details of what goes into the contract of sale. You rent a secure location on your property to protect the chometz that you sold to the non-Jew. In that transaction, you have halachic obligations as a bailee. The market value of the chometz is something the buyer, the non-Jew assumes as owner. – Yaacov Deane Jan 8 '16 at 16:19

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