Economical Fencing Options and Techniques

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by snakyjake, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. snakyjake

    snakyjake Hatching

    Jul 2, 2008
    I finished building the coop, and now need to consider fence options. I was surprised when I found out how much fencing costs. It seems easy to spend $200+ for a basic chicken run. So I need some good advice to avoid costly mistakes.

    What are reliable fencing options to contain chickens, and to keep any dogs out? Looking for something economical.

    Welded wire sounds like the economical way to go. But I don't understand the need for hardware cloth. Won't the welded wire be enough to keep chickens in and large predators (dogs) out?

    Does the fence still need to be buried 1 foot, and folded out 1 foot? Or just burying 1 foot is good enough?

    How tall?

    Do I need to be concerned that Rhode Island Red chicken hens will fly, therefore need a net for the top of the run?
  2. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator

    Apr 21, 2008
    West Michigan
    The problem with the traditional chicken wire is that it is extremely weak. Raccoons and other predators will literally tear it apart to get at chickens.

    Larger spaces between wires mean that predators can reach in, grab a chicken, and rip the actual bird apart piece by piece to get it out. (Yes, this has actually happened to people!). Wire of this size is also large enough for weasels and snakes to enter by.

    Hardware cloth really is your best option. It's small and very strong. If you use anything else, you're basically just sitting around waiting for something to happen.
  3. flakey chick

    flakey chick Songster

    May 3, 2007
    The hardware cloth is to keep out racoon fingers and smaller preditors. Racoons have been known to kill chickens and then tear them apart to pull them back through the fence.
  4. smom1976

    smom1976 too many projects too little time!

    May 2, 2008
    Pensacola, FL
    I used welded wire with chicken wire on the inside.. Preditors have to go through the welded wire then the chicken wire..

    Mind you this is what I had so that I didnt have to purchase any thing.. I buried 1 foot of my welded wire.

    But again my chicken coop is inside my yard that is enclosed with a privacy fence on three sides forth side with welded wire and 2x4 field fence.

    I do have hawks so I used a soccer net (free) streched over the top of it.
  5. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    Quote:It all depends. Just what you wanted to hear wasn't it?

    Welded wire will keep full grown chickens in and dogs out. Dogs are not the only predator to be concerned about though. Most parts of this country have raccoons, opossums, snakes, raptors, and other predators to deal with. Some areas have weasels and they can get through a very small space. Snakes can go through 1" poultry fencing with no problem. Raccoons have already been mentioned. Day old chicks can get through 1" poultry fencing also. Older chicks can get through 2" X 4" welded wire.

    Critters can and will dig under your fence. How deep you bury it depends on your soil, vegetation, and if you put a foundation under it or put it in concrete. Some people fold it out, some fold it in, some don't fold it or bury it.

    1/2" hardware cloth with something like welded wire will keep out most predators. Dogs have been known to tear up the hardware cloth though if they are determined enough.

    5' tall will "fool" most chickens but a lot of different types of chickens can clear more than 5'. Raccoons can climb fences.

    Not having overhead protection leaves you vulnerable to hawks.

    Your Rhode Island Reds might be able to clear the fence. Clipping a wing can help.

    Hope this helps.
  6. snakyjake

    snakyjake Hatching

    Jul 2, 2008
    I'm trying to better understand the hardware cloth...

    In my area, I don't have snakes that will eat chickens.

    I don't totally understand raccoons reaching in to nab a chicken. I could understand if the chickens were in a cage. But the coop and run I'm building is a good size with plenty of outdoor room. The chicken coop is well protected, except for the chicken door. For the run, the chickens would have plenty of room away from the fence. The only way I can see a chicken getting nabbed is if the chicken was at the fence at the same time the raccoon is there. Perhaps the chickens would not notice a raccoon waiting for it?

    Would 2"x4" welded wire fence prohibit opossums, raccoons, and dogs?

    Or do I still need 1/2" hardware cloth?

    If raccoons nabbing chickens out of a run is rare, and if 2x4 will protect against opossums, dogs, and raccoons from entering, then I'd like to save myself some money and forgo the hardware cloth.
  7. flakey chick

    flakey chick Songster

    May 3, 2007
    Chickens can mistake racoon fingers for squirmy tasty food. Then the racoon kills the chicken and pulls it through the fence bit by bit.
  8. FlockEweFarm

    FlockEweFarm Songster

    Jun 11, 2008
    Quote:Jake, one thing to think of with the field fencing is that chickens will stick their heads through the fence to eat grass and other interesting looking stuff outside the safety of their enclosure. Ever hear the saying,"The grass is greener on the other side of the fence"? I think a chicken said that, right before a birddog pulled its head off. I lost a chicken that way, and I can testify that a 12 week old chicken will fit through one of those squares, especially when a dog has ahold of it from the other side. Its an ugly way to go. Luckily my chickens were only in that enclosure for a few days, and I quickly went along the bottom part of the fence and added chicken wire and a few rows of hot wire to keep the dog back, but if folks in your neck of the woods are telling you hardware cloth is the way to go, I would trust them. I am lucky all I have to worry about are my own dogs, but coon are a whole nother level of mayhem when it comes to chickens.
  9. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    Quote:What about eating the eggs? What part of the country do you live in ?
  10. Alaska animal lover

    Alaska animal lover Songster

    Apr 30, 2008
    Palmer, Alaska
    I know fencing can be expensive! If you have to do it twice because your flock was killed it isn't cheap either.
    One way that we saved money was to buy treated garden timbers instead of treated 4x4's or metal fence posts. They are 8' long and at least 1/2 as much as the other options. We burried ours 3' deep and secured them with cement.
    They were $2.99 ea. here in Ak.
    Then maybe you can use some of the savings to get the better fence material.
    We used staples to attach the fence to the posts.
    Hope this helps.[​IMG]

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