I live in suburban chicago. Predetors that I am aware of in our area are; fox and recently some coyotes. Have not seen racoons since we switched to a new garbage bin system in our town. We also have some possums, are they a risk to chickens? Lowes sells this knotted 2x2 kennel fencing. http://www.redbrand.com/products/product2.asp?category=Fence&subcat=2&productID=20 The wire gauge seems thicker than hardware cloth and the knotted connection look stronger than welds, but of course the opening are bigger. We do plan to coop the birds at night.