I know when I first started using small hole hay bags I hated them. I thought they were impossible to fill. Then I learned this great technique and now they are easy to fill. I figured I would take photos so it was easier to understand. We all like ideas that save us time doing the chore part of our barn time.
Before we start I just want to say; yes I am one of the few people in the world who can take an out of focus photo using an auto focus camera. Sorry.
What you need:
Your small hole hay bag. I have replaced the black string this bag came with. I prefer the feel of the material this white rope is made from, no other reason.
A muck bucket. A clean muck bucket. Mine is an older cheap model (sold at a home store not a feed store) that the rope handles have broken off from. Lack of handles does make it easier.
And obviously some hay. (The yellow stuff is straw.)
Note that from the top this bucket does not have handles that stick out. This too makes it much easier.
Hold your hay bag from the top and let the bottom go into the muck bucket.
Open the top of the hay bag, spreading it over the edges of the muck bucket.
Spread the hay bag opening all around the edges of the muck bucket. With new hay bags that want nothing to do with being open (these small hole bags are some what stubborn that way) you sometimes need to use a knee to hold one edge in place while you stretch the other side.
Then pull what is the top of your hay bag all the way down the outside of your muck bucket until the bottom of the hay bag is right at the top of the muck bucket.
Add hay. This technique allows you to put in as much hay as the muck bucket can handle. And that is quite a bit with good firm baled hay (which mine is not).
Push the hay down. As the hay pushes down the hay bag with slide up the outside of the muck bucket. If the bag gets snagged on a handle just un-snag and continue pushing down.
Grab the strings and pull. Ta-da one full small hole hay bag.
Pull the bag out and secure it however you like to secure your bags. I tie a knot that leaves a small loop and hang it using a double ended snap. The nice thing about a small hole is the holes are small enough that you can hang them low with out the risk of a hoof getting stuck in them. I leave my strings untied (they come tied, first thing I do is untie them).
Ready to enjoy!