Passing along a resourceful idea for options that may be useful in some instances--
Free or cheap alternatives to hardware cloth / wire:
WIRE SHELVES from an old
REFRIGERATOR, FREEZER or OVEN
These are often FREE or very cheap and offer good, strong protection for window & ventilation openings!
USED APPLIANCE STORES
If you ask your local used appliance store, they are likely to cheerfully give you for FREE the shelves from appliances (esp. fridges & freezers) that they are about to send to recycling. If you think it would be good, you could also offer them $5 for a batch. Or bring them some cookies.
You can check with a landfill.
With fridges & freezers, there is a chance the landfill may have a contract with a recycler where they have to give them everything. If the landfill does give you permission, open closed frig doors only with EXTREME caution because fridges dumped with food in them will billow out mold & rot. You DON'T want to retrieve those shelves.
With ovens, a landfill may be willing to give you the shelves.
JUNKYARDS / SALVAGE YARDS
Some may have these shelves or other similar things that they would gladly sell you for probably a buck.
Call & find out if they will sell you some for maybe 50 cents to $2 each. Some recycling companies' operating licenses forbid them from re-selling anything they've taken in as recycling material, but it may be worth checking.
- Spray painting wire black makes it easier to see through--for both you & the chickens! Silver & white reflect light and are difficult to see past.
- It is best if at least two opposite sides of a shelf can be against wood for solid fastening.
- Heavy fencing staples or bent-over nails.
- Strips of trim boards screwed through the ends sections of wire shelves into solid wood structures.
- The wide spacing of oven shelf wires can allow through rodents & small predators. You may want to use these only for barriers INSIDE a coop.
- Mini frig shelves can be somewhat bendable.
- Large predators with big claws--such as cougars & bears--may be able to get a good grip on shelves (esp. from ovens), and pull hard and possibly dislodge them.
Free or cheap alternatives to WINDOWS:
GLASS SHELVES from an old REFRIGERATOR or FREEZER
If you know someone you want to pass these ideas along to, you can also refer them to my site PoultryPedia.com for easy look-up, because I'm also adding a "Tips for Chicken Coops" page with these on there.
Anyone else that has found other useful alternatives to hardware cloth / wire, please add them to this thread so we can know about them, too!
Wishing everyone happy, safe & cheap window-ing!
Edited by SpeckledHills - 3/14/12 at 2:37am