Garden Coop with improvised natural fiber fencing

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kristenm1975, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. kristenm1975

    kristenm1975 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I purchased the plans to construct The Garden Coop more than a year ago but have not yet had the chance to build it, due to unexpectedly finding myself living in an apartment in the city. (Won't fit on my deck; I tried. :) )

    With plans for a house this spring, I am gearing up for the build. I am reluctant to shell out the cash for all that hardware cloth though (3+ rolls) and very much excited by the idea of using natural fencing made from woven willow or similar strong materials. With my animals' security being more important than money however, I'm fully aware that this needs to be done carefully. I've done some research online and found some images that show what I'm thinking about.

    My idea is to make 3' x 3' square panels, weaving the willow with precision, making the strands one inch apart, going in both horizontal and vertical directions in order to leave one inch squares between for visibility. The ends would be sandwiched securely between two pieces of board screwed together. It seems like this would actually be stronger than simple wire, even the hardware cloth sort. And with it being in small panels like that, it would easier to find the willow switches in quantity and in the right thickness for the kind of precision and regularity I'm looking for.

    Obviously, this is a lot more work than simply stapling down wire and calling it a day but I think it would make for a really special final product. I could even compromise a bit and use the hardware cloth on the lower three feet of the coop all around, just to be on the safe side, and use the willow higher up.

    I would love some opinions on this idea! Or better yet, hear from anyone who's ever done this or seen it done.

  2. Oneacre Homestead

    Oneacre Homestead Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 25, 2011
    Hi, sounds really cool! I am just wondering if a raccoon could chew through the willow, though? The cool thing about hardware cloth is. That it keeps out rats and raccoon among other things. We had a raccoon get some chickens a couple years ago - it was coming every night and killing one chicken and then we put up a big strong fence with a hot wire at the top and it stopped them cold , so IF the willow is not raccoon proof, maybe a hot wire could be added? Just throwing ideas out.

    Your idea would look really nice, If you do it you have to send a photo to the garden coop people! I love the way that coop design looks. I want to do it when I add another coop to the yard. :)
  3. OldChurchEggery1

    OldChurchEggery1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2011
    I've seen this type of post and wattle fencing used around gardens. The downside is that the woven strands of willow will deteriorate after just one season, especially those close to the ground. In traditional fencing, more of the woven strands were packed between the posts and pushed down as the old stuff rotted away from the bottom. You'd be looking at a lot of maintenance and it wouldn't be predator proof. It would be beautiful, for sure (like a chicken basket!), but you'd have to worry about the pieces getting brittle and not protecting your chickens. From your description, would you also be putting the 3x3 panels on the top? 3' tall isn't enough to keep your chickens in or dastardly raccoons out, so you'd be looking at a lot of panels...

    You might be able to do something rustic but sturdier that I saw at a plant nursery nearby. You can use round cedar posts and poles to make a decorative fence and then run poultry netting over it. The posts would draw your eye so the less attractive chicken wire would fade into the background. That would look nice, be safe, and have less maintenance over time.
  4. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2009

    That is a lot of work for something that will rot in a season, have you thought of weaving a living thorn fence. It would need heavy gloves and sleeves to maintain but was the standard before barbed wire was invented. Traditional was osage orange hedge, but you could use any thorny plant suitable for your climate.

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