It’s a fact of life: When you have horses, you’ll also have feed sacks…lots and lots of feed sacks. And with most feed manufacturers now using plastic instead of paper sacks, the options for re-using this essentially free resource are limited only by your imagination. Here are 50 ways to put your used feed sacks to work.
On the Road or at the Barn
Eliminate travel mess. Put your filled hay net into an empty feed sack for transport, keeping hay leaves off your tack-area floor.
Keep hay out of your clothes. Rather than stuff hay directly into a net, which is messy, first put it into a used feed sack. Place the hay net over the open sack. Turn the whole thing over, pull out the sack, and save for later.
Make a feed-bucket cover. To prevent grain spills when traveling or to keep critters out of pre-measured rations, cut a square from a feed sack, large enough to cover your feed bucket a few inches down all around the top. Secure with leftover baling twine or a bungee cord.
Make a water-bucket cover. To keep water from splashing you when hauling it at shows or elsewhere, or to keep the water clean, create a homemade bucket cover (see No. 3, above) with slits for the handle.
Protect surfaces. To keep hoof-dressing products off the floor or ground, cut medium-sized squares from a used feed sack and place one under each of your horse’s hooves before oiling or blacking.
Sort and store stable blankets. Store each of your blankets in a feed sack secured with masking tape. Label with the horse’s name, blanket type, and/or size.
Set up an instant trash can. Simply open bag, insert trash.
Cover your dog’s mattress. Insert it in a feed sack to keep it clean and fresh.
Make a saddle cover. Cut a feed sack open and place over your saddle.
Cover equipment seats. Cut as needed and use baling twine to cover mower, golf cart, and tractor seats.
Tote dirty boots. Cut a used sack 6 to 12 inches from the sealed bottom and use as a caddy for dirty boots.
Make recycling bins. Use one sack to collect baling twine, another for scrap metals, one for beverage cans to be recycled, etc.
Waterproof a bandaged hoof. Cut a circle from a used sack, then cut slits as needed to shape it around the hoof. Use duct tape to attach.
Winterize a drafty stall or tack room. Cover cracks and holes with used sacks, secured with a staple gun.
Make “compost starters.” Stuff used feed sacks with manure, and share with gardener friends.
Create a training tool. Use a feed sack to desensitize your horse to sights and sounds, either by using as-is or making a noise-shaker by placing cans inside the sack.
Make a trail-practice obstacle. Put the sack on the end of a rope and drag it; fill halfway with dirt to make a weighted drag.
Cover a muddy spot. Keep your boots dry by using an old feed sack or two as a bridge over mud.
19. Use to save donation items. If you donate used items to rescues or 4-H groups, collect in a feed sack for ease of transport.
20. Improvise a horse toy. Stuff feed sacks in to a ball and secure with duct tape.
Everyday Uses at Home and Elsewhere
Store tire chains. Keep chains oiled, separated, and protected in used feed sacks.
Line shelves. Cut a sack open and then trim to the dimensions needed.
Protect floors when painting or staining. To double the surface area covered beneath your painting/staining project, cut a feed sack open to lie flat.
Save periodicals to be recycled. Sort newspapers, magazines, and catalogs into respective labeled feed sacks.
Make a quick table cover. Cut a sack open and use to protect a table from art projects, cooking messes, etc.
Protect kids’ clothing. Use a feed sack to cut a mini smock for messy play or chores.
Transport potted plants. Cut off 6 to 12 inches from the sealed bottom and use to carry plants in your vehicle. Or, simply lay a flattened sack on the floor before loading plants.
28. Share heavy produce. An empty feed sack is perfect for sharing extra sweet corn, potatoes, pumpkins, or other garden goodies.
29. Thwart car grime. Keep a spare sack folded in your vehicle for the unexpected, such as a dirty flat tire, or a dog that couldn’t resist a puddle.
Make a quick sign. Cut a sack open, then use permanent marker to write on the side that has no pre-printing.
Create a pattern. Cut a sack open and use to make a sewing pattern, stencil, etc.
Protect vehicle floors. Lay feed sacks down as makeshift floor mats for your car or truck.
Make a doormat. Set out an empty feed sack as a place for people to wipe their feet.
Make a heavy-duty tote. Use an empty feed sack to bring home a heavy load of something; it’s made to hold 40 to 50 pounds.
Get crafty. Cut out and then sew holiday stockings for your favorite equines.
Make a mini-garden. Fill a feed sack with dirt and grow potatoes.
Protect tender plants. Slide open feed sacks over annuals and perennials to protect them from frost and snow. Cut off the top of each bag to adjust for height.
Reduce weeds. Put several sacks down in your garden as weed barriers. Just scatter a few inches of mulch on top to hold them down.
39. Collect planting dirt. When digging a hole, put the dirt in or on a feed sack for easy filling later.
Use for pet-area liners. Split open and use feed sacks underneath puppy pads, bird cages, etc., for more protection.
Wrap gifts. Use as a cheap but creative wrapping paper.
Make packing material. Crumple up sacks and use as packing material when mailing packages.
Make a ground protector. Cut a sack open as a ground cover, to keep your clothes clean while you work beneath a truck or trailer. Place an opened-up sack or two under your beach/picnic blankets to keep the fabrics clean.
Create a sled. Flatten a feed bag as a sled for the kids or something you must haul over snow.
Keep kindling dry. Place burnable paper, pine cones, and small sticks inside a used sack.
Make barn-party decorations. For instance, create a Halloween ghost by stuffing several bags in one, painting the exterior white with black eyes, and hanging it.
Catch oil drips. Place an old feed sack under the catch basin when changing oil on a vehicle, keeping your driveway or garage floor clean.
Collect pet waste. Designate a feed sack for this purpose to encourage picking up after dogs.
Protect tires from sun damage. When storing a trailer or other vehicle outdoors, use feed sacks, secured in place, to shield tires from damaging UV rays.
Make a party-beverage bin. Dump in two bags of ice, then set beverages on top to stay cool.