Hardware Cloth a must vs Chicken Wire?


In the Brooder
7 Years
Apr 18, 2012
I dont think I will have a predator problem but dont know for sure. Is hardware cloth a must? It seems as though if I secure the chicken wire real good and cover everything right it should hold. Thoughts? Anybody use just chicken wire?
It's varies but I've been told a raccoon can tear through chicken wire if it's real determined. I know some local farmers who just use chicken wire but they also have dogs "out on patrol" also.

A raccoon may be able to reach in and kill a sleep bird even if it can't get it out. That's why most folks recommend half inch hardware cloth.

----- Ed
Even if you don't go with hardware cloth, which is hands down the safest wire since not only can't anything chew through it, they can't get their grubby paws through it to pull pieces of chicken out, you're going to want a strong welded wire in the least.

Chicken wire ONLY stops house cats and chickens. The average dog can go through chicken wire like it's tinfoil. Racoons and other wild animals can chew through it likes its flossing it's teeth. No place is predator free. A friend visiting with their dog can become a predator situation for your chickens and if you don't use a wire that will stop the dog from coming through, your chickens will pay the price.

Our motto is "Build a chicken coop & run as if you're a chicken and YOU'RE going to live in it".

And that means putting in a dig skirt as well.
Hardware should be a must. I used chicken wire to enclose just a *compost pile*, and fox and dogs tore right through it. I pity the poor chicken who is protected by only chicken wire.
I think it depends on how upset you would be to lose a few birds, and the cost to reality issue. My dad has chickens in a fenced area that barely keeps them in, (4 ' fence in disrepair). He love chickens, but he wouldn't cry if he lost some.
If they are going to be your buddies, and you don't want to risk losing any, then I think it is worth spending a bit more time and money to make sure they are secure. If they are just some livestock that lay eggs, then spending an the extra on hardware cloth is probably a lot more expensive than picking up some replacement birds.
Thank you. I knew I already knew the answer. I've had many tell me "ah, farmers have been using it for years...". Hardware cloth
I'm going to likely get flamed for this but...

I don't think hardware cloth is a "must do". Every single situation, and site is going to be different. My primary concerns at my house are hawks, and my own dogs. My property is fenced all the way around the perimeter and we do not have any ground dwelling predators (other than my dogs) of any kind. Yeah you read that correctly. NO raccoons, foxes, skunks, coyotes, weasels etc. Now my good friend who lives about 2 miles away? He has all of those predators. The difference is his property is completely treed, and mine is in the middle of what used to be a hay field. Since I only have to contend with my dogs I only use heavier wire for the bottom couple of feet of run (with an apron). By way of contrast my buddies run is built like a maximum security prison.

The bottom line is that if I didn't have a coon hound with an overactive prey reflex I'd be 100% ok with nothing more than chicken wire. In fact until we got him (and all we had were border collies) I DID get by with nothing more than chicken wire.
I think it's only a must for the coop and not for the run.. I use hardware cloth for the coop so nothing get's in at night. On the run I use chicken wire and it works and it's a fraction of the price
I think it's only a must for the coop and not for the run.. I use hardware cloth for the coop so nothing get's in at night. On the run I use chicken wire and it works and it's a fraction of the price
That was my thought. The coop is secure. The run I would only have to contend with my dogs, which I'm not over concerned about. The neighbors have free range chickens and border collies protecting them. My coop and run is in the middle of my three acre backyard surround by old hay fields. We havnt had any predator problems as my dogs keep everything away and they are out all day and half the night.

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