Oct 25, 2011

Re-purposed Chicken Feed Bags


If you are a chicken-keeper, then surely you have gone through more bags of feed, scratch and black oil sunflower seeds than you care to recall. I have a sizable stash of chicken feed bags in my basement waiting to be re-purposed. There are many uses for feed bags, from garden weed blocker to tote bags. I even  fashioned one into a piece of 'art' for my chicken coop.

Here is my best attempt to date at sewing a tote bag from feed bags. The handles are a little bit odd, but it's sturdy and spacious. I'm sure I would not be able to recreate this design if I tried. Alas, the seventh grade home economics sewing lessons were lost on me. Here are easy-to-follow instructions for making a feed bag tote.
Pretty feed bag tote with canvas handles,
made for me by Molli Allen. Thanks Molli!
I  may be pushing the envelope a little far with this idea, (pun unabashedly intended) but necessity being the mother of invention, it had to be done.  I forgot to pick up Tyvek® envelopes and I need them to ship a Henbag to Italy one day. It occurred to me that feed bags are at least as sturdy as Tyvek® and as luck would have it, I possess the bare minimum sewing ability to create a fashionable and functional envelope out of one. The postmaster thinks I'm nuts, but that's just fine with me.


Grow your own potatoes, instructions here.


Feed bag stockings are available for sale on my website HERE.

Some other great uses: tablecloth, garden weed-blocker, place-mats, coop waterproofing, tarp, coop insulation, sick bay crate liner.


78 comments :

  1. Love your use of recycling! We use ours to store our old newspapers until we take them to the recycling depot.

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  2. Im glad you give usefull information,I was just using them as yard bags,but love your ideas....

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  3. @Anonymous: Thank you! I get a kick out of coming up with creative solutions to problems and when I do, I love to share. :)

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  4. I have made several tote bags from feed bags. I cut the top 4 inches off for the handles, fold them. Lengthwise like bias tape, stitch the entire length, attach to the bag. I use a separate bag tor the 2nd handle.

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  5. I'm saving mine up & hope to build a little EArthbag root cellar or shed....

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  6. @ Material Girl: COOL! I'd love to see it when you roll it out, please join me on my Facebook page and share photos when it's ready! http://www.Facebook.com/Egg.Carton.Labels.by.ADozenGirlz

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  7. I love the tote bag idea! SO, tell me what size thread and needles would you use? Can you do it on a regular machine? What kind of stitch? Thanks!

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    1. I gave made totebags from tyvek feedsacks and even sold a few. I used regular threads and needles.

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  8. @Purplpig27: I was serious about having the sewing skills of a 6th grader. I have a sewing machine and I use the needle that came with it and any stitch that I can get to not bunch up on the other side. LOL Sorry! I'm sure yours will look better than mine do. :)

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  9. Wow - very good ideas! One of the feed stores that we use reuses them!!

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    1. Our feed store refuses any returned bags....they might be contaminated. Biohazard is what they told me. We used to do it all the time ,, especially when we had the old fashioned burlap bags. Otherwise they would charge us 40 cents a bag.... they still charge us 40 cents a bag now. Good thing we grind our own feed, and recycle the bags ourselves. We also get a lot of bags from the local brewery, their beer grains come in them, but they have plastic liners, that I have to remove before I can use them for feed bags.

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  10. I LOVE the shipping envelope idea!!!!

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    1. Thanks! Necessity being the mother of Invention, it worked out great the first time and now I just use them because they're great!

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  11. We have recyclables pickup with the trash, but you are not supposed to let the papers get wet, as they pay by the pound to get rid of them. Feed bags keep everything dry, and keep the beasties out, too.
    Not as creative as your ideas, which I will keep in mind.

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    1. Umbrellas for your recycling, brilliant! Thanks for sharing, Mariellen!

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  12. Debbie Cade1/29/12, 5:40 PM

    When I was a little girl, chicken feed came in fabric bags. My mother would take me to the feed store and let me pick the bag out. Next thing I knew I had a new dress! I just thought it was a funny thing after reading all the comments on what to do with the feed bags. I sew all the time so if you have any questions, I will be glad to help. If your stitching is bunching up on the other side, it's either your tension or your bobbin. You might also change the needle as sewing in paper would dull it. Debbie cade

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    1. Debbie: what a wonderful story! Any chance you have a photo of yourself wearing one of them? That would be priceless!

      I'm so glad to know I have someone to turn to with these types of sewing questions now! Thanks for the offer. :) I actually had to read the manual that came with the machine to learn that the tension was the problem. I should've paid more attention in seventh grade home economics class when they covered this stuff!

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  13. I have envelope templates called kreate-a-lopes. They come in different sizes. I've made chicken cards & have used the first layer of the paper feed bags for the envelopes. I don't know what the mailman thinks but people seem to like getting them. More feed bags seem to be made of plastic now though, so you need to be envelope worthy to get one from my stash...lol

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  14. I have been making feed sack shopping bags for years! I love them, they are so strong and sturdy!

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  15. I would love some step by step picture instructions. For those of us that are a big a slow.. :)

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  16. Sorry I meant I bit slow..

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  17. I made a (cowboy) hat out of them. But it is not to fashionable to wear out but it keeps the sun and rain off.

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  18. Daughter and I saw the cutest kitchen table placemats made out of the layena feed bags. They were six of the same ...they were cut to fit rectangular pieces of what appeared to be thin cork like padding. They were wonderful!

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  19. Love the envelope idea for shipping. I do exports for UPS. Make sure the label remains firmly attached to the envelope, and always include the address inside the package incase the outside label comes off. Then UPS or the post office can open the package and see the address and get it on the way. I understand how you sewed the envelope to create the the envelope, just tell me how you decided to seal the package for shipping, I hope you didn't use staples. I would probably sew it shut.

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    1. I do tape the adhesive label onto the package for the very reason you mention. And I sew the package shut. :)

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  20. I have made the tote bags and I give them to my friends. I also open the feed bags up and staple them to the wall of the coop for added insulation in the winter. They keep the cold wind out.

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  21. Cute ideas for feedbags. I upcycle mine for shopping bags which are great to bring to the beach, too, since they are wAterproof. Also, I make smaller sleeve-type bags that fit over an egg carton for a nice presentation when giving eggs as a gift or a thank you.

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  22. Cute ideas for feedbags. I upcycle mine for shopping bags which are great to bring to the beach, too, since they are wAterproof. Also, I make smaller sleeve-type bags that fit over an egg carton for a nice presentation when giving eggs as a gift or a thank you.

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  23. Brenda, I would love to see your egg sleeves! What a smart idea!

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  24. I have re used the feed sacks as insulation in my coop for years especially the paper type sacks. Most of the sacks are now plastic/tyvek type material and I have made tote bags with them would like to make one with fabric lining. Love the shipping envelope Idea. WHY havent I thought of that? and I love the stockings!! TOO CUTE

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  25. TheChickenChick10/23/12, 6:59 PM

    Necessity is the mother of invention. I had run out of the size envelope I needed and had to get a shipment out with no time to spare. LOL

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  26. Love the totes! I love it that you decorate your chicken coop! Thanks for sharing at repurposed ideas weekly.

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  27. bill thomas11/3/12, 6:07 PM

    fill them full of soil and stack them making a storage shed just put some barb wire between corses and get creative .

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    1. Do you remember as a kid makeing book covers for school out of paper bags? Well, my kids needed book covers this year and since stores around here no longer bag groceries in paper bags, in came the feed bag. Works just like paper bags. Also, I have sewn together 28 feed bags to make a large tarp, to cover and shade a coop.

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  28. I've discovered a great use for colorful and sturdy feed bags.  In trying to recycle a drafty old chicken coop, I was concerned about the winter cold air sapping the energy of my girls.  So armed with a staple gun and scissors, i wallpapered the inside of my old coop with bags.  I simply cut off the bottom seam and left them doubled for insulation.  It's cute to look at, easy to clean, and working wonderfully after 3 harsh winters.

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  29. TheChickenChick1/1/13, 11:42 PM

    Outstanding use, Marsha! As long as there is sufficient ventilation for moisture to escape, of course.
    Thanks for your comment!

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  30. Lori Hampton7/11/13, 4:42 PM

    I have been making totes from feed bags for quite a few years....I now sell them out of a boutique in Ouray, CO. Tourists love them! We also use them for all sorts of packing and traveling in our daily life as well as use them for our grocery bags....always get compliments and make a sale or two! All proceeds buy new feed for the girls!!! :0)

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  31. TheChickenChick7/12/13, 12:12 AM

    Right on!

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  32. Chris Chapman8/7/13, 12:24 PM

    I so wish my local Agro Co-op carried feed and scratch in bags like these. Alas their feed is delivered in bulk as far as I can tell. And so all my feed and scratch comes to me in plain white feed bags. But I can still sew them into useful things ;)

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  33. I open up old feed & seed & deer corn bags, staple them together to make long "blankets" & staple onto my wooden raised garden beds when the threat of frost is forecast. Easy to unroll on sunny days so my winter veggies can warm up, then reattach in the evening. And roll up to store for the next season.

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  34. Denise Allison Magil11/9/13, 12:47 AM

    wow so many ideas i think there sturdy as heck

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  35. Cheryl Postma11/30/13, 1:00 PM

    Christmas stockings for the girls! Genius! Thanks!

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  36. Jenifer Davis11/30/13, 1:40 PM

    After seeing the potato growing bags, my son asked me if we could do radish and carrots in them too.. I told him I didn't see why not. we tend to have rocky soil here and all the digging and pulling up rocks is a pain. So this spring, we are going to give it a shot. I may even try to build a table type frame and cover it with an old window to set the bags under for a cold frame of sorts. Extra short bags planted with winter wheat would be handy to take into the coop for a chicken snack or given to the goat. Then I can just remove the bags and resow the seeds, and stick back under the frame! Thank you for sharing your ideas, you got my own thinker thinking! :)

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  37. TheChickenChick12/1/13, 7:38 PM

    Outstanding! Thanks for sharing, Jenifer!

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  38. Rachel Collison12/4/13, 5:10 PM

    I make these all the time. i also use cat and dog food bags . Everybody loves them because they are so strong.

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  39. Susan Pearlman12/4/13, 5:19 PM

    Love the repurposing ideas!

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  40. Christopher Warner12/4/13, 6:11 PM

    I found someone in colorado who buys bulk non corn non soy organic non GMO feed i bring my old bags there to get filled out of the truck for .50c a pound.

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  41. Pamela Seitz12/4/13, 7:02 PM

    I have been saving mine too! Thank you for all the great ideas.

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  42. Dorrie Taylor12/4/13, 8:35 PM

    I was going to do that,, great to hear it actually works well for the intention of the project. Thank you...

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  43. Lori Edmison12/4/13, 9:03 PM

    I use them to bag up & sell my poop - by that I mean chicken manure :-) I have a couple of customers that want it for their gardens - and Lord knows I have plenty to spare - I get $3 per bag :-O

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  44. pricklypearcactuscandy12/4/13, 9:24 PM

    Wonderful ideas here. Is it possible to make a place for readers to post pictures? I'd love to see some of these creations.

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  45. Ferne McAllister12/4/13, 9:53 PM

    Oh for Pete's sake. Now I'm going to have to learn to sew. These chickens are forever expanding my horizons. Such a creative bunch you all are!

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  46. I make aprons, bags, poop hammocks, wall coverings, garment bags and stockings. I love repurposing feed sacks.

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  47. TheChickenChick12/4/13, 10:34 PM

    Yes, readers can post photos in their comments!

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  48. TheChickenChick12/4/13, 10:34 PM

    Awesome! Good for you, Lori!

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  49. Denise Allison Magil12/5/13, 1:12 AM

    and so it goes we are busy as the girls are

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  50. Such Great ideas, I have a few new ones now for feed bags, Thanks!

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  51. How about aprons? Has anyone made aprons with bibs? I have heard of them, but I have yet seen any. I know many people who would love them. :)

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  52. Cheryl Jones Partridge1/8/14, 6:42 PM

    Wonderful tote bags, and what a useful purpose. Can you just imagine what having these to use in the garden over the summer months would be like? Honestly, the five gallon buckets are bulky to store, and what a clean up job too!

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  53. I love the idea of using the bags as Art in the coop, they are colorful and easy to wipe clean. Thanks for the tip :-)

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  54. I am going to try to sew one of those tote bags! We usually have so many feed sacks we end up burning them. Never thought to use them as insulation either.

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  55. TheChickenChick3/29/14, 1:21 AM

    There are TONS of uses for feed bags Dawn!

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  56. Ok, so I made a tote out of a country feeds bag today. It was time consuming but turned out pretty good.

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  57. Love these ideas! I always hate throwing away the bags but never know what to do with them. I think I'm going to start a potato garden!

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  58. TheChickenChick4/1/14, 12:33 AM

    Good for you! They're very sturdy.

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  59. Yes they are sturdy! I made a second one today and it turned out better than the first one and less time consuming. The biggest problem I had was sewing the handles on. The bag was a little hard to turn while sewing the "x". So the "x" is no where near straight LOL!

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  60. Valerie Louis Neal4/16/14, 7:24 PM

    Here in NE TX we had a winter, a real winter, almost like I grew up with in Illinois, and one very cold spell snuck up on us. I had to think fast, I used old feed sacks to patch some holes and close up the "breeze way" up on the roof. Heat is our biggest worry here, we had a summer that had 100 days of 100 degrees (yes, they were in a row) so we have a very well ventilated coup, and had made sure our girls should be fine in a normal winter. The sacks worked fine, and the girls made it, but I do not recommend using cat and dog feed sacks, I got some seriously dirty looks for weeks.

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  61. Ronald Boston5/11/14, 10:59 AM

    Love these great feed sack ideas! Nice website, too.

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  62. I have used feed sacks for about everything...working on an apron now. AND I REALLY WANT TO WIN THAT DARLING CHICKEN BAG PURSE.....I LOVE IT.

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  63. WHY IS MY PROFILE PIC NOT SHOWING UP?

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  64. I have hung bags inside my smaller coop as insulation....very neatly and the girls seem to like it too.

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  65. it really works well

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  66. awesome ideas....

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  67. Jayne Mae Johnson8/21/14, 1:19 AM

    We recently used leftover feed bags to make a quick door with PVC on a chicken tractor. If you cut the PVC to the right size, you can just slide the bag over the door like a pillow case and then seal it closed.

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  68. Interesting. I'd love to see it!

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