Cattle Panel Fence for Sussex Chickens

DaisyFaye7

Chirping
Dec 13, 2020
52
144
96
Central North Carolina
So I’m planning to get chickens in the spring. We’re going to build a coop addition off the back of our barn. I currently have goats and a super on the ball guard donkey. My plan is to build a coop with an attached run, but to let the chickens out into the pasture (once they’re big enough) during the day. My pasture fence is made of cattle panels. I’m assuming that I will need to cover the cattle panels with a tighter wire or netting to keep the chickens in, but before I jump on that project, I want to make sure that it’s really necessary. I’m planning to get speckled Sussex, and I’ve read that generally speaking, they don’t roam too much. If they would mostly stay inside the pasture, that would be good enough for me. I want them to have the protection of our donkey. If somebody comes out of the fence once in a while, no big deal. The thing is that as things stand, my goats keep the fence lines really clean by sticking their heads through the panels to munch on grass. If I add tighter wire, I’m going to have to start trimming the fence line. So...if I don’t need to add to the fence, so much the better! Anybody have any insights on Sussex hens squeezing through cattle panels? The openings are 6” x 8”.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
24,174
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southern Michigan
Welcome!
Your birds will go through that fencing just fine. 'Goat fence', the 4"x 4" woven wire, is inexpensive, compared to tighter fencing, and will work much better. Part of my dog fencing is made of that, with electric tape or rope on top, so about 4.5' tall at least. the birds can fly over it, but mostly don't.
Chickens want to forage under trees and shrubs, rather than on pastures, so having them happy where you want them is key, and can be challenging if your plans don't fit their preferences.
Your donkey may or may not worry about the chickens, even if he wants to protect the goats. If he attacks any critter entering his space, that's good, but he may ignore smaller chicken predators like foxes and weasels, and raptors.
Predator protection is something that many of have learned the hard way over time, from 'it's fine' to building Ft. Knox, at least for overnight coop and run safety.
Mary
 

DaisyFaye7

Chirping
Dec 13, 2020
52
144
96
Central North Carolina
Thanks Mary, that’s all helpful info!!
We’re going to build a pretty darn solid coop/run for nighttime and when we’re out of town, so I’m most concerned about daytime. Good point about chickens preferring to hang out under trees and shrubs, I’m going to have to think on that. There are several large trees bordering the pasture, the goats love to munch leaves, but they can’t reach the trunks. I’m hoping the markings of the SS will give them a little bit of protection against hawks; any thoughts on that?
 

DaisyFaye7

Chirping
Dec 13, 2020
52
144
96
Central North Carolina
Also, one idea I’ve had is to get strand wire (maybe sort of a medium gauge) and make X’s across the rectangular openings in the cattle panel, maybe up to about 3 feet. Probably a crazy idea - anybody have any thoughts on that?
 

DaisyFaye7

Chirping
Dec 13, 2020
52
144
96
Central North Carolina
Welcome!
Your birds will go through that fencing just fine. 'Goat fence', the 4"x 4" woven wire, is inexpensive, compared to tighter fencing, and will work much better. Part of my dog fencing is made of that, with electric tape or rope on top, so about 4.5' tall at least. the birds can fly over it, but mostly don't.
Chickens want to forage under trees and shrubs, rather than on pastures, so having them happy where you want them is key, and can be challenging if your plans don't fit their preferences.
Your donkey may or may not worry about the chickens, even if he wants to protect the goats. If he attacks any critter entering his space, that's good, but he may ignore smaller chicken predators like foxes and weasels, and raptors.
Predator protection is something that many of have learned the hard way over time, from 'it's fine' to building Ft. Knox, at least for overnight coop and run safety.
Mary
Okay, I’m learning here...I think I replied incorrectly...I posted below... 😸
 

Folly's place

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
24,174
42,014
1,156
southern Michigan
I'd worry about your goats, used to reaching through those cattle panels, getting caught in crossed wires. It won't do much for the chickens either.
Many people think that color matters to predators. In my experience, it doesn't. Young birds and bantams are more vulnerable to the hawks who hunt here, not the adult standard sized birds, and color has been irrelevant.
Add your approximate location to your profile, it helps.
And, pictures and/ or plans of your coop and run, for friendly critiques (we're all friendly here!).
Don't use any chicken wire, for starters.
In bear country, electric fencing is necessary. If you don't have it already, maybe you aren't in bear country?!
Mary
 

DaisyFaye7

Chirping
Dec 13, 2020
52
144
96
Central North Carolina
I'd worry about your goats, used to reaching through those cattle panels, getting caught in crossed wires. It won't do much for the chickens either.
Many people think that color matters to predators. In my experience, it doesn't. Young birds and bantams are more vulnerable to the hawks who hunt here, not the adult standard sized birds, and color has been irrelevant.
Add your approximate location to your profile, it helps.
And, pictures and/ or plans of your coop and run, for friendly critiques (we're all friendly here!).
Don't use any chicken wire, for starters.
In bear country, electric fencing is necessary. If you don't have it already, maybe you aren't in bear country?!
Mary
Okay, thanks, I’ll update my profile! Nope, no bears to speak of here, a couple sightings only in the last 10 years. I’m in central NC. And yes, I really loathe chicken wire, haha.
 

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