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Hardware cloth vs. chicken wire. Also, insulating a coop for winter.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by phicri72, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. I'm sure that the reactions and posts will be in strong favor of hardware cloth, but I'm concerned with cost.
    I live on the east side of Indianapolis, and other than the occasional 'possum, I haven't seen any larger predators (raccoons, weasels, etc...) in the area. Using "chicken wire" would be substantially less expensive. I am attempting to build my coop/run with the only cost being the wire and hardware. My plan is using a deck/railings I tore out this spring and pallets for my lumber,and hopefully snagging a few free shingles or a sheet of metal roofing for the roof from my father who's a carpenter and often has some leftovers from jobs. Am I just being a cheap bas#$%?
    I've seen some runs made from pallet lumber that are about 3 ft high. I'm assuming this height would be sufficient since chickens on the whole aren't all that tall. I also thought about using plastic conduit and making an arched run on the side instead of a square one. Again, more cost, but would probably be pretty easy to construct. Also, I keep reading mixed ideas on insulation. The coop will be facing south with the back wall against the northside of an unheated garage with a run under the coop and around the east side of the garage. The whole operation will sit on a raised bed that is 2 1x10's (approx 18 " high) in same location. What kind of insulation, styrofoam? batting? I'm assuming it would need to be sandwiched between 2 layers of lumber no matter what.
    I just want safe and healthy chickens while not breaking the bank building my coop and run. Any suggestions and ideas? Yes, I've checked several of the forums, and if anyone knows the ones I should double check, let me know.
    This will be a spring endeavor along with building some raised beds and ammending some horribly gravely "soil" in our garden. I thought I'd start by making plans/gathering materials before it gets too cold out there.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011

  2. conny63malies

    conny63malies Crowing

    Mar 22, 2008
    Annetta Kentucky
    if you are concerened about it being too cold in the coop you could always build a soda can solar heater.Or beer can solar heater , either will work..
  3. beach livin'

    beach livin' Songster

    Sep 21, 2011
    one side of my coop is attached to an unheated shed like yours to your garage. from what everyone has said on here, heating is not necessary. i look at it this way, chickens have been here for a really long time on farms, and i dont think our ancestors really worried that much. to each their own though [​IMG] i was also trying to keep costs down when building mine. i opted for the the inch and a half welded wire that was priced between the hardware cloth and the chicken wire. we decided that the chicken wire gague was not sufficient for us. we do have opossums and coons and the ocassional stray dog. my coop is pretty much 4 foot square. you can look at my page if you want. we planned it for 4 chickens. hope i helped a little.
  4. ridgewood chickens

    ridgewood chickens In the Brooder

    Jun 21, 2011
    Monadnock Region, NH
    This will be my first winter with chickens, but for what it's worth, I did insulate mine with batting between and attached to the 2x4 studs. One thing I am trying, since I do not intend to heat my coop (I'm in New Hampshire), is instead of putting up wood or sheet rock walls, I covered the walls and insulation with tar paper, or roofing felt. My coop faces south/southeast, I put a large window, approximately 30" wide by 24" tall, in the front, and from what I've read elsewhere, there should be some heating of the black paper during the day from the sun exposure. As far as fencing goes, my run and coop windows are covered with chicken wire, don't have any real predators here in the city, have seen one fox looking at them, but he ended up ambling away and left them alone.

  5. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Here's the deal: chicken wire won't keep out predators. You may not think raccoons are in your area, but they are, even in cities. However, raccoons are mostly nocturnal. Sometimes you'll see one in the daytime, but it's not their usual M.O. So you could economize and use chicken wire for the run, but build a stout coop with hardware cloth over the windows/vents (much smaller area, so not much $$$). If you lock your chickens inside their coop each and every night before dark without fail, you'd be going a long way towards protecting your flock.

    However, if your yard isn't fenced otherwise, you have to consider the possibility of roaming dogs, a daytime predator. A big dog can tear through chicken wire. So if you have this to consider, I'd recommend you use welded wire fence with larger openings (2" by 4" for example). It's less expensive than hardware cloth, but stronger than chicken wire.

    Chicken wire will keep a chicken in, but it won't keep much of anything hungry for a chicken dinner out.

    Insulation is not essential, but it can be nice to have. It doesn't have to be expensive, either. If you do a search here, you'll find many threads about homemade insulation. One I recall involved using old chicken feed sacks stuffed into the walls. And this isn't being cheap, it's being eco-conscious! Reuse, recycle.

    If you decide on building the run only 3 feet tall, make sure you design a hinged or removable roof. Otherwise, you'll have to crawl in there (yuck!) to clean it out, catch a chicken or collect the odd egg that gets laid in the run (yes, it happens).
  6. bfrancis

    bfrancis Songster

    Mar 30, 2010
    Okmulgee Co, Oklahoma
    Lived at Morse Reservoir for several years...Geist Reservoir and Ft Harrison State park are on the East side of Indy...basically that's a pretty wooded side of the city...if any side is more wooded than the other. Trust me when I tell you that in your area you do have racoons, opossums, and fox. There is the occasional coyote depending on how far East of the city you live. Saving and recycling is good...but use the pennies you pinched and buy some decent wire or you will end up buying an endless supply of chickens for the local wildlife...IMO

    Good Luck with what ever your choice
  7. Rosaleen

    Rosaleen Songster

    May 18, 2011
    Danville, Vermont
    How about hardware cloth on the bottom 2 or 3 feet and the rest above in chicken wire. I have chicken wire in the coop inside the barn which is pretty secure but I have hardware cloth out in the run. My run is all recycled materials...you can see it on my page. As for heat, chickens provide their own. I have winter hearty breeds that Do well here in northern Vermont.

  8. Hollywood Hen

    Hollywood Hen In the Brooder

    May 3, 2011
    I used hardware cloth for the vents and windows in the coop, and 1x2 fence wire elsewhere.

    The issues with chicken wire are two separate things -

    1. Raccoons can pull a chicken through it and eat them piece by piece, so you don't want it anywhere near your sleeping chickens. I learned this the hard way, and had to put one girl out of her misery who had her wings eaten off.

    2. It is not very strong. A strong dog can tear through it, I've heard, and it rusts out easily.

    Fence wire is a lot stronger, and while more expensive than chicken wire, is a lot cheaper than hardware cloth!
  9. liz_s

    liz_s Songster

    May 16, 2010
    Washington State
    Hi! When I started building my coop I used chicken wire, but the idea of my chickens getting pulled apart got the best of me, and I ended up getting hardware cloth too! So I guess just make sure you're getting what makes you most comfortable, otherwise you'll spend twice as much [​IMG].
  10. MadChickensVT

    MadChickensVT Chirping

    Sep 5, 2011
    Middlebury, Vermont
    I found a great deal on hardware cloth at Wayfair.com I bought two rolls of 1/2" grid, 3ftx100ft for under $200 shipped. I can't get it anywhere close to that cheap locally.

    Be sure your chickens have lots of ventilation. It's very important that they stay dry. They can handle harsh cold, but they can't handle humid air in their coop. At the same time don't put any vents near their roosts. You don't want cold air blowing on them when they're trying to stay warm.

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