Reusing Feed Sacks

Nowadays most feed manufacturers and retailers prefer poly weave plastic feed sacks over paper feed sacks for many reasons. For instance, poly sacks reduce or eliminate the need for shrink wrap on a pallet of feed because they hold up better than paper sacks when exposed to rain or snow. Poly sacks also reduce the number of sacks broken during moving, thus saving a lot of wasted feed.

Farm folks have always reused paper feed sacks as garbage bags but today’s poly weave bags bring a host of new possibilities to the table. And face it: if you buy commercial feed, you probably generate a lot of feed sacks in the course of a year. Use them or share them with Freecyclers (www.freecycle.org). Don’t let this resource go to waste.

• Poly sacks are perfect for storing off-season horse clothing like sheets, blankets, and turnout rugs. After cleaning, simply fold each one, place it in a poly sack, and seal it with duct tape. Slap a piece of duct tape on one side and label it with a permanent marker. They’re also great for storing off-season clothing.

• Both paper and poly sacks are great to use as mulch between plants in the garden. Lay them down, pile on a little dirt to keep them from blowing away, and you’re done. Paper sacks without plastic liners decompose over time but poly bags won’t, so you’ll have to pick them up at season’s end.

• Feed sacks are perfect for picking up after dogs. A poly sack holds a lot of poop without breaking. If you have extra sacks, offer them to a dog rescue for just this purpose; rescue folks will be delighted.

• Going to a show or expo? Cut a hole in the center of the bottom of a poly feed sack and slip it down over your show clothes hangers to protect your fancy duds.

• Transporting your saddle pads in a poly sack makes sense too.

• In a pinch you can cut a moderate-size hole in the side of a poly sack, pack it with hay, and then hang it in your horse’s stall as a single-use hay feeder.

• Stuff some sections of hay in a poly sack if you need to take some on a trip. A partially-filled hay net will usually fit in a poly sack too.

• Here’s how to stuff a hay net with a minimum of fuss: place the sections of hay in a feed sack, place the net over the mouth of the sack, then upend the sack and pull it out of the hay net. So easy!

• If you’re at the barn and your child wants to play in the rain, cut head and arm holes in a poly sack and let her wear it as a pullover raincoat. At home, make coverall art smocks the same way.

• To protect pre-measured bucket rations, cut a large enough square from a poly sack to cover the top and at least 6 inches down the sides, then secure it with baling twine or a bungee cord.

• Be crafty. Wrap gifts for horsey friends using poly or paper feed sacks, using baling twine for ribbon.

• Insert your dog’s bed in a poly sack to keep it clean. Or stuff a poly sack with straw, shavings, sheep’s fleece, or a pillow to create a comfy, water-resistant dog bed. Dog rescues would be thrilled to be given a bunch of these beds. Ask!

• Make a warm bed for barn cats by placing a comfy blanket in a feed sack and laying it on its side.

• Muddy dog? Muddy you? Use cut-open feed sacks to protect your car or truck’s seats and floors.

• Show your horsey daughter how to make schoolbook covers using cut-open poly sacks; they’re so much cooler than brown paper grocery bags!

• Place a feed sack under your horse’s hooves when applying hoof black or any other messy substance.

• Make a saddle cover to protect your saddle by cutting open a poly sack and placing it over your saddle.

• Stuff a poly sack with crumpled-up poly bags, duct tape it shut, and give it to your horse as a toy.

• Use feed sacks for recycling bins at home or the barn.

• Winterize the inside of a drafty building by stapling poly sacks over cracks and holes.

• There are lots of uses for feed sacks at home. Cut them open to use as shelf liners, to protect floors while painting or staining, or as a table cover to ward off canning spills or messy art projects. Protect food that will be in your freezer for awhile by double-bagging it inside of a poly sack. Keep your fireplace or wood stove area tidy by storing burnable paper and kindling in a feed sack.

• Use a cut-open feed sack to create sewing patterns.

• Going camping? Sew a few poly sacks together to make a 3 ½ foot by 6 foot rectangle and use it as a ground cloth under your sleeping bag. Or make a 7 foot by 6 foot rectangle and fold it in half to form the underside and topside of a bedroll to protect you from moisture and wind.

• Use poly sacks to tote heavy loads of garden produce.

• Load a poly sack with manure from your stable, goat or sheep yard, llama pen, rabbit hutch, or chicken coop and give it to friends who garden.

• Grow a feed sack garden. Poke holes in the bottom of poly sacks and fill them part way with potting soil. Roll down the top. Plant peppers, carrots, or what have you, but potatoes grow especially well this way. And to harvest your potatoes, all you have to do is upend the sack. No digging, yay! For complete instructions do a Web search for grow potatoes in feed sacks.

• Use crumpled feed sacks for packing material when shipping packages.

• Make a party beverage cooler. Dump 2 bags of ice in a poly sack and semi-submerge beverages in ice to keep them cool.

– An excerpt from Horse Tips & Tricks; More Than 400 Ways to Care for Your Horse Better, Safer, Faster, Cheaper, by Sue Weaver

Visit my Economical Horsekeeping blog to read and download more how-to items like this one.

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