How to Open a Feed Bag

How to Open a Feed Bag

Alright, so I’m not much of a farm girl. I was, after all, brought up in the bustling city life of southern California. My biggest dilemma was what to do on the weekend. Was it a trip to Disneyland and dancing to their live bands or a weekend concert at the Hollywood Bowl? Chickens and feed bags were not on my mind.

I never once thought twice, in all of my 50 some years, about how to open a poultry feed bag… until the chickens showed up. Our hens are free-range, but once in a while they do have to be fed. Enter, cumbersome, difficult-to-open, huge floppy bags of chicken scratch. The first time I tried opening one of those bags, the silly intertwined strings drove me crazy.  They went from one knot to another and try as I did, I couldn’t open the stubborn thing; pulling and tugging, breaking nails and cutting off circulation in my fingers.

The first couple of bags, I tried to be patient, to find that magical spot where I could easily pull and the string would unthread itself in one clean swoop, but it never happened. After a few aggravating tries, I quit messing with it and now, just use  scissors, or a knife or shovel blade, whichever is most handy; anything to avoid those goofy knot infested strands.

Today however, all that changed. I found the secret… patience.  It’s pretty bad when a bag of feed gets the better of you, even if you are a city girl, and when I didn’t have a sharp blade handy this morning, those thread-like stitches became my friend. I’d resigned myself to learning how to use them correctly.

I took my time, gently pulled one twist out of the other and in a flash, I was able to give one steady pull and just like magic, the seam unzipped, the thin cardboard strand fell free, and like clockwork, the top of the bag splayed open, displaying the golden contents of cracked corn.


Now I know some of you are shaking your heads already. How can anyone not know how to manipulate the opening of a simple bag? There is only one answer I can provide: Impatience.

In the back of my head, I’ve always known there was some trick to opening it up but didn’t have the patience of persistence; until today.  With no sharp edged tool handy, I became a devoted student of the ‘Pull string” packaging. I tried what I hadn’t tried before, patience. It worked. I’m still not sure how I did it, but I know I can do it again and am determined to be master over the zipper seam!


I thought, as I adjusted the now-opened bag, that the manufacturer should put a big label on the package with instructions for opening. Then to my surprise, I saw there was one! I’d just never seen it. Impatience obviously got in my way again. I read the words: Pull Tape to Open. That’s funny, I thought  I pulled the string, not the ‘Tape”, which I guessed was that thin cardboard strip sewn into the top. So much for helping, it just confused me.

As I finished throwing the cracked kernels out for the hens, I chuckled to myself, embarrassed by my apparent inability to comprehend even the simplest of instructions and decided these bags need to cater to the citified users. Maybe an instruction booklet attached titled Feed Bags for Dummies.

Have you had trouble opening these bags? You’re not alone. There’s instruction videos on the internet!