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FODDER (Heb. מִסְפּוֹא, mispo, av, jps, "provender"), most often mentioned together with teven ("chaff," av, jps, "straw") as feed for camels and asses (Gen. 24:25; 43:24; Judg. 19:19). Teven, which was the most important food of domestic animals, was made from the bits of straw left after threshing. To it was usually added grain or pulse to produce belil (av, jps, "provender"), much loved by animals (Isa. 30:24; Job 6:5). The principal fodder, as also the customary ingredient of belil, was barley, which is suitable as feed for single-hoofed animals, horses, asses, and mules, and is mentioned as such for the horses and swift steeds in Solomon's stables (i Kings 5:8). Barley was unsuitable for ruminants, yet the Tosefta (bk 1:8) speaks of "an ass that ate barley and a cow that ate bittervetch (Vicia ervilia)." The latter species is not mentioned in the Bible, but was clearly an ancient crop, seeds of it having been found in excavations at *Gezer dating from the beginning of the monarchy in Judah. The *carob, although similarly not mentioned in the Bible, was likewise used as fodder in ancient times, particularly for goats (Shab. 155a, et al.).

In addition to the fodder consisting mainly of grains or pulse, animals were given dry hay or green grass (ḥaẓir) that grows in winter in uncultivated fields (Ps. 147:8–9) and in summer alongside sources of water (i Kings 18:5; Isa. 44:4). In places where there is no water the grass dries up in spring (Isa. 37:27, et al.). In the rainy season animals graze in fields and eat natural grass. Sometimes the owner of a field cuts the green cereal and feeds it to his animals, and the cereal continues to grow "and does not diminish its grain" (Sif. Deut. 43, on the verse: "And I will give grass in thy fields for thy cattle"). Most often the grass was cut and dried as fodder (cf. i Kings 18:5), the usual talmudic term for green fodder being shaḥhat (Pe'ah 2:1, et al.), and for dried amir ("a sheaf," in the Bible). For the latter, two species of legumes were specially sown, fenugreek (Trigonella foenumgraecum; see *Sifra, 7:1), and more particularly cowpea (Vigna sinensis) for its green pods and dry seeds, or for dry fodder (Shev. 2:8; et al.). To a limited extent vetch (Vicia sativa) was grown for fodder. In Babylonia, alfalfa (Medicago) was also sown.


Loew, Flora, 1 (1928), 557, 571; 2 (1924), 92, 474, 476, 487ff.; Dalman, Arbeit, 2 (1932), 165ff., 268ff., 330; J. Feliks, Ha-Ḥakla'ut be-Ereẓ Yisrael bi-Tekufat ha-Mishnah ve-ha-Talmud (1963), 255f., 279–84; idem, Olam ha-Ẓome'aḥ ha-Mikra'i (19682), 205ff.

[Jehuda Feliks]

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