1/4" Wire Mesh Run and Cracked Beaks

OkieUpNorth

In the Brooder
Jun 5, 2017
11
2
16
My husband recently finished the covered run for our new chicken coop, and per his research, decided to use 1/4" wire mesh. We live in a rural area that has lots of predators, so we were very concerned about keeping things out. It looked great.

Cut to the first few days in the run, and one pullet had a chipped beak. It was so small, not needing any real medical attention, but tonight I heard one of the chicks scream bloody murder when she got her beak caught in the wire mesh. I rushed over to help her, but she ripped her beak out before I could get to her, and she cracked her beak.

I performed first aide, and she's ok. We'll be watching her, and in the meantime, my husband put up a skirt around the bottom of the run so that the chickens can't try to peck at bugs and get their beaks caught. But it's not a permanent solution.

They're not full grown. They're about 6-7 weeks old, so their beaks will get bigger. I'm wondering if this mesh is something we can keep but limit their access to until they're bigger and their beaks can't get caught, or if some other solution needs to be made. Has anyone used 1/4" mesh in their run and had this problem?

Thanks!

(concerned chicken mom)
 

Doc Schoepp

Chirping
Apr 18, 2017
65
29
51
Colorado Springs
I use hardware cloth around the bottom of our run and the only issue we had was I was concerned they were going to cut their throat on the top of it at one point. They were trying to peck over the mesh at some prairie grass that grew alongside the run. Trimmed the grass back and no more issues but so far have not seen any signs of them injuring their beaks since we put it up about a year ago. Mine were about 2-3 years old when it was installed though.
 

OkieUpNorth

In the Brooder
Jun 5, 2017
11
2
16
I use hardware cloth around the bottom of our run and the only issue we had was I was concerned they were going to cut their throat on the top of it at one point. They were trying to peck over the mesh at some prairie grass that grew alongside the run. Trimmed the grass back and no more issues but so far have not seen any signs of them injuring their beaks since we put it up about a year ago. Mine were about 2-3 years old when it was installed though.
I think ours are trying to get at bugs, so they peck and get stuck. I just hope their little beaks will grow and it won't be a problem much longer.
 

Kellycbf

Chirping
Mar 15, 2017
61
38
61
Midwest US
I would assume 1/4 inch is too small. I believe most people use 1/2 inch. I am not much help, we just finished our run with 1/2 in and it seems to be working well.
 

21hens-incharge

Nuttier than a squirrels stash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
24,989
103,233
1,652
Northern Colorado
I used 1/4 inch on my broody hen pen. Twice I have had mom and chicks in there. Never an issue here.

I would say if they are getting stuck in it it may be to small or the bugs to tasty.

A solution that is not over the top in effort or cost.....
Shade cloth at Lowes is sold by the foot. It is cheap especially since you could cut it in half longwise.
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Easy-Gardener-6-ft-W-Saddle-Tan-Shade-Fabric/3028056

It cuts with regular scissors and can be held in place with zip ties. I bought mine 3+ years ago and take it down in winter. It is holding up very well.
 

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