Ultimate Feed Test
At the end of the 2006 hunting season, a prospective customer called me to inquire about the reliability of the BigAz'. Specifically, he wanted to know how the feeder would perform feeding rice bran. At the time I had never even heard of that particular type of feed so I was not quite sure how to answer his question. He explained to me that rice bran was the by-product of harvested rice and that the texture of it was very much like flour that you bake cakes and other foods with. Rice bran is apparently very nutritious and contains many ingredients that deer love. The potential problem was the texture of the feed itself and its ability to flow through the feeder especially in wet rainy conditions.
The closest comparison I was able to give was that of feeding protein pellets or sweet feed, both of which are in a compressed pellet format. The texture of these feeds make them very fragile when put into contact with moisture. I have personally fed both of these feeds many times and are always very direct and honest in explaining how they perform. When feeding either of these, the feed that sits outside the port hole will obviously break down and start to dissolve or wash away. The feed exposed to the immediate opening of the hole will become swollen and temporarily shuts off the flow of feed. However, because this feeder sits on the ground and more game than just deer have access to it, there is always an animal pawing, pulling and poking at the port hole which ultimately re-establishes the flow of feed. In a nut shell, yes it shuts off during a rain but YOU don't have to go out and unclog it. The game takes care of it for you.
After providing this description to the potential customer he and I both agreed that the best way to figure out whether or not rice bran would work was to try it out. I told the gentleman not to buy the feeder yet and to wait until I had a chance to test out his preferred feed. The next weekend I bought several bags of rice bran and filled a BigAz' up with it. During the three week period of feeding the rice bran, we got the best "rain test" we could have ever hoped for. In a day and a half we received more than four inches of rain. Immediately following the rain I checked the feeder to find fresh rice bran flowing from all three port holes. The Trail Mac game camera caught the before, DURING and after rain feeding that took place. I sent the pictures to the gentleman and he very quickly placed his order. The BigAz' was a dream come true for him and to this day he has run hundreds of pounds of rice bran through with no troubles at all.