A friend of mine used to board my horses and was always trying new products. One particular type of products that caught my interest were slow feeders - she had a few out and explained to me each time why she was trying them. First, she educated me on the benefit of slow feeders, and I really liked the idea. However, I wasn't too fond of the original netted bags she put out for the horses to roll around and eat out of. Nothing ever happened, but I thought there was a lot of hay being lost out of the bag and what if someone got caught in a bag? She used a few other methods as well, but I still wasn't impressed and the bags seemed difficult and a mess to fill, especially for all 8-10 horses. To have one.
Then one day she brought home happygrazers and they were perfect! The bins were super easy to fill and I wasn't worried about safety or losing hay. Plus, you could feed a bale or so at a time and just go check on the horses each day to see if they needed more. Check them out here:Slow Feeder Home Page
Unfortunately, they don't do custom nets anymore - you have to order the whole feeder together. I don't exactly have $300 or so extra cash sitting around for a new feeder or even the $160 it'd cost to get a net and then have to find a bin to fit it. Thus, I'm going to make my own :)
I'm starting with a turned out tire big enough to hold a bale of hay (or a few broken up). It's about 3 1/2 feet around and 2 feet tall. My horses like to eat together and are currently sharing one of these, but not as a slow feeder (they did share the slow feeder when they were at my friend's place). I just purchased a 4x20' piece of hockey netting and net lacing from Arizona Sports Equipment.
1) Cut the 20' length of netting to match the circumference of the tire.
2) Use lace (purchased with the netting) to lace the two short ends together, making a loop of netting that matches the tire opening.
3) Drill holes in the top of the tire a few inches apart all the way around.
4) Use the lace to tie the netting to the tire through the holes.
5) Use more lace through the top opening of the net (not connected to the tire) to create a draw-string to open and close the net.
6) Use some sort of clip or knot to tie off the opening when there's hay inside.
And then I'll have my very own slow feeder, even better than the ones on the website because it'll be huge! And.... it'll cost less than 1/3 of the price ;)