Feed bags, nose bags whatever you want to call them they come in all shapes and sizes and colors. What works? What doesn’t? Do I have to have one? Just tell me what I need….what do you use or do you even use one??? I hear this often in our store, on the phone, or emailed to us.
Let us first look at how a nose bag works. A nose bag is just what it sounds like a bag that is placed over a horse or mule’s nose that has a strap, this goes around its head to secure it in place. This bag is used for feeding grain, pelletized feeds, etc. now we all get where the name feed bag comes in.
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Feed bags are used for a number of reasons: control feeding, minimize wastage, and practice leave no trace. Nose bags were traditionally made out of heavy canvas and had a formed leather bottom; these bags have and will last forever. In recent years weight has become a factor and a concern, the heavy canvas is being replaced by lighter weight canvas formed leather bottoms have given way to canvas bottoms. Cordura has replaced the canvas thus giving way to a bright array of colors. And now mesh.
Mesh bags weigh almost nothing and can be folded, squished or crammed into almost anywhere for storage and transport. Mesh bags unlike their canvas counterpart has better breathability, the animal can easily breath while eating and any dust in the feed will sift out through the mesh sides.
My only real suggestion: if buying mesh bags then spend the extra couple of dollars and get ones with canvas bottoms. If there is one piece of grain left your animal will push the bag against the ground to get at it, thus pushing mud dirt manure etc. back through a mesh bottom, the canvas bottom bags stop this. If you opt for canvas bags make sure they have a ventilator patch sewn in. This is normally a leather patch that has a couple dozen holes punched through it allowing airflow in and out of the bag so your stock can breath and dust to exit. The area of contention with the ventilator patch has always been placement. How far up the bag should it be. Let’s look at the reason for having it ….”air” for your animal it need to be down by its nostrils not half way up the bag. Also there have been reported cases of people putting feed bags on their untied animals the animals wander down to the creek to drink the bag fills full of water and the animal drowns in his feed bag because the ventilator patch is too high above his nostrils and the water doesn’t drain out. This would also be something to look at if you were going to soak your feed in you feed bag. If your ventilator patch is to high your water can’t drain leaving you with a pail of water with feed floating in it.
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