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How to open a feed bag

Feed bags can be tricky customers to open, but don’t risk injury tackling this simple job with the wrong tools like our baldy friend below! Just put the ‘neat side’ of the stitching facing you, cut the string on the right hand edge flush to the bag, and the stitches will fall out with a gentle tug.

It’s a little known fact that feed bags were originally designed as a method of torture during the Second World War. Enemy combatants were starved for several days before being given a feed bag packed with crispy bacon, and nothing but a blunt nail file to open it with. Most cracked within hours.

How not to open a feed bag, image

Okay, so not really. But anyone who has wrestled with an unopened feed bag early on a rainy morning will identify with the feeling. Happily there is an easy way to do it so that the bag just falls open, leaving nice smooth edges that won’t catch the last remnants of feed when you tip the bag out.

opening the stitching a feed bag

Neat side (left) and reverse (right) of a feed bag

Opening a feed bag (right handers)

  1. Put the ‘neat side’ of the bag facing you.The stitching on the top has a ‘neat side’ and a reverse. The ‘neat side’ looks like the stitching you see on the outside of a shirt – just a single line of string like a row of hyphens. The reverse side has the interlocking loops of string that give you so much trouble if you start at the wrong end.
  2. Cut the string on the RIGHT side of the bag. Use a pair of scissors or a pocket knife to trim the string off flush with the bag. This makes it much easier to see which end of the string you have to pull.
  3. Pull the ‘neat side’ string. Sometimes the stitching at the back catches for a moment: if so gently pull it away from the bag until the ‘neat side’ string releases, then pull it free.

undoing the string to open a feed bag, image

Opening a feed bag (left handers)

If you’re left handed and using scissors, trimming the right side of the bag is awkward. So put the ‘neat side’ of the bag facing AWAY from you, cut the string on the LEFT side of the bag, and pull the ‘neat side’ string.

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