Chicken wire or hardware cloth?


In the Brooder
8 Years
May 17, 2011
Cape Cod
As I get closer to finishing my coop, I am beginning to plan the run. I was planning on using chicken wire, but I have read somewhere that chicken wire shouldn't be used and that hardware cloth is better. As far as predators, we have coyote's, racoons, foxes, hawks, and weasels. Any thoughts on whether chicken wire is ok?


It depends on whether you want a predator proof run.

There are many preferences you will read about on BYC.

Some free range and the run is just for when they go on vacation.
Some have a big run and don't want to spend the money on hardware cloth for the whole thing. (me)
Some like a FORT KNOX run so they don't have to worry while they are at work.
Some like to just go with the chicken wire because it's easier and they buy new chickens all the time anyway.
Some have dogs running around and their chickens wouldn't last a day without the hardware cloth.

Raccoons can pull apart the chicken wire as if it isn't there.
Dogs can chew through it in no time.

Hardware cloth needs to be 1/4" to keep out weasels and rats, and it is hard to work with (stiff). Use large washers and screws to attach it to your wood supports.

Apron out at the bottom (search BYC for aproning) or bury to prevent digging predators from gaining entry.

You can also use welded field fence (I do have some of that too), and that is much stronger than chicken wire (I have some chicken wire, too). They make one that is called rabbit fencing that gets narrower at the bottom. Also they have smaller squares to choose from.

If you look at the coop section of BYC there are many styles of runs to look at- I recommend you spend time looking there because folks have done such a good job.

In addition, if you have hawks overhead, expect losses (and owls) if you don't cover your run. There are some netting choices that are supposed to carry a snow load.
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well put
I would also suggest getting that black bird netting you can get from hardware stores to put over the coop if you do not use a small holed wire to keep out wild sparrows that love chicken feed
I am getting ready to start building my run as well...was looking at chicken wire and hardware cloth at Lowes and Home Depot today.....too many choices! I was leaning more towards the hardware cloth as I have a neighborhood dog that frequently gets loose...and live in a vey rural very little NH town...we have neighbors all around so coyote and fox are not a big concern....however we have skunks, an occasional raccoon and like I said, the neighborhood dog....hardware cloth it is!!!!!
Hardware cloth is best best can get extremely expensive no matter where you buy it. I work for Home Depot and I tell my customers that a run around the bottom portion of the coop would be safe with hardware cloth. I buried a couple of layers of poultry netting underground around the coop and run and (knock on wood) havent had any problems and I have coyotes, hawks, skunks, raccoons, and occasionally mountain lions and havent had any trouble thus far.
Because we live in the deep woods/country--we have every kind of predator you can name. Everything from black bear (Not often seen but there have been a few sitings) to domestic dogs and cats. I chose to use heavy gauge chain link fencing and hardware cloth! I have seen too many horror stores about how people find their chickens pulled thru the fencing half eaten or the chicken wire shredded and a massacre..

I tell everyone I know-- build the largest , most secure coop and run you can.. You will never regret it...
I used 1"x2" welded wire and overlapped the bottom with chicken wire (skirt also). So far so good. Our worst predator would be a dog.

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