Electric fencing not legal


May 2, 2015
Ugh! After days and days of rain, I finally decided to build a chicken run in my garage. I had the garage door open as I lined up some of the boards when I hear a hawk screeching outside. I looked up to see him/her almost touching the ground outside the garage. I gasped and ran over to make sure the hawk didn't make it inside the garage.

First time chicken owner here. Trying to keep these little ones safe is challenging. The foxes run all over my neighborhood. I hear the squawk of the hawks all the time. I was looking in to electric fences to try to keep the coop and run safer when i wondered if it was legal. I just called the fencing department and she says that because I live in the city limits, no fencing can be electric.. even the hot box (is that what it is called?). It's frustrating because the fence would be completely enclosed in a bigger cedar wood fence six feet tall with locks on the gates.

I am going to cover the run with 1/4" hardware cloth all along the sides. I want to make a skirt about a foot out from the run and coop, dug several inches down. Does the top need to be hardware cloth too? I'm thinking yes. I may go ahead and cover the bottom with hardware cloth too, but worried that the chickens wouldn't like that very much. I want them to be able to peck in the dirt.

Any suggestions on making the place safer?
Welcome! You can't overbuild: it's about budget and risk assessment. Predators are everywhere, and chickens taste good to everyone. Attach 1/2 inch hardware cloth very securely, and consider an overlay of 2"x4" woven wire along the bottom three feet or so of the run also. Think 100 lb. dog here. Covering the run with any wire will keep out raptors, but if you want a run that is safe all night too, use hardware cloth. Large enough, and well ventilated, and room for more if 'chicken math' strikes. Mary
I did the risk assessment when building my run. My largest threats (most likely intruders) are my own dogs and hawks. I built my run out of chain link since we already had it and it will keep my dogs out if they were to get to the human side of the yard. (they have a huge run that they can destroy) For the hawks I used chicken wire. Yes chicken wire. My run is 16x20 and most other wire is to heavy and sags as well as being costly.

We do get the odd fox and raccoon coming through. My chickens are locked in the very secure coop at night so I am less worried that something will get in to get them. My pop doors have latches that prevent them from being lifted from the outside. Windows on my coop all have hardware cloth. Doing the wire apron does keep diggers out. During a period while I was replacing the property line fence a fox attempted to dig under the run. The apron stopped it and the chickens made dang sure I knew something was going on. (This happened about an hour after I let them into the run for the day)

Best wishes for a safe flock,

Thanks for your kind replies! Another question, if they hear the squawk, will they run inside the coop or run? I'd like to let them roam free when I'm out there gardening and run around the backyard. I have a huge lonely yard. I got the chickens to keep me company.
I know mine did not run for cover as quickly as they should have. She was diving for the shrubs but got stuck on the wrong side of the garden fencing to make it under cover. It took me a while to get the bantams out from under the very shrubs she was heading to. They were only out in the yard since I was working on the coop door and had it removed to finish building it.
Yours being babies yet would be in greater danger in my opinion.

I also know that the crested breeds like Polish are easy targets since they cannot see above themselves well.

I had chickens in every bush and the very overgrown ivies. I am not sure who was freaked out more them or me.

I do think you can have them roam the yard but with safety first and all you would have to be there with them every second.
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If you have a huge yard, you might consider putting some shelters about for protection from aerial predators. These can be as simple as a pallet on some cinder blocks, or more elaborate and cute. Just thinking birds often don't have enough warning to run very far to hide.
That is a really good idea. I am going to ponder over some cute yard art that will serve as cover for them.. little tunnels of happiness. Thanks!

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