Digging in the chicken wire? Hardware cloth?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Feb 27, 2009
I need to build a run that is safe enough for me to go away for a weekend - we have hawks and foxes and probably racoons, too. I have even once seen a fisher cat.
Sooo..... I want a 8'x10' run, and I think I will have to dig a trench all around it to bury the wire, right? It sounds like a ton of work..... and I suck at digging so the husband will have to help. We're in an old riverbed and its a real chore. but I digress.
How deep do I need to go? Are there alternatives (besides a concrete floor for a run or similarly drastic measures)? What do you do?

Also - people here seem to think that chicken wire is not enough protection from hawks. Why is that? What is the danger? Would a double layer of chicken wire be enough (still cheaper than hardware cloth).
Thanks so much!
One alternative is to bury the wire horizontal instead of vertical. If you attach the wire or hardware cloth to the bottom of the run, lay it horizontal and bury it a couple of inches, the predator will come up to the fence, start digging and run into the buried wire. Some people don't bury it at all but just let the grass grow up through it. I like to see where a predator has started digging.

Can't help on the hawk/chicken wire question.
What would a raccoon do? And will a raccoon climb a 6' fence? Sorry, if these are dumb questions.
Raccoons could gang up and get a chicken's head through the wire....

And they can just tear through chicken wire.
Raccoons could climb a *60* foot fence - they are excellent climbers, and incredibly strong (with strong jaws and sharp teeth in particular).

So the problem with having a merely hawkproof top to the run is that raccoons will get on top of the run -- really they will -- and just slice/rip their way in unless you've used really heavy gauge wire, like heavy 2x4 mesh or some such.

I wouldn't bury the wire myself, I'd do a horiztonatl apron as Ridgerunner describes, going 2-4' out from the base of the run fence. Use something heavy gauge. You can put it on top of the ground and weight down well with pavers or whatnot, or lift the turf back and put the wire under it and put the turf back down.

Good luck,

When that raccoon breaks in through the chicken wire, you will *wish* you had just bit the bullet and spent the money up front for the hardware wire.

My husband made me dig the trenches around the run. I grumbled, but I did it. 12 inches deep. But I sleep much sounder at night because of it.

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