Hardware cloth vs. Chicken wire

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Butterfly65, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. Butterfly65

    Butterfly65 Out Of The Brooder

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    Need some advice for a newbie, please. My significant other raised chickens before in Maine and OK years ago. Me? Never had any type of pet beside a cat. It's basically city girl with country boy... Lol.. I am the type of person that thinks thorough research should be done when embarking on any type of project. I have read stories about weasels getting through chicken wire and also someone stated a hawk was able to reach through the chicken wire with its talons and grabbed a chicken. He says that's a bunch of BS because a chicken is not that stupid to sit there while a hawk had landed near by to allow it to reach in and grab. So I'm wanting to return all the chicken wire and welded wire that we have to Home Depot and purchase only hardware cloth. He seems perturbed. Our run is going to be 1080 Sq. Ft. We are surrounded by predators foxes, coyotes, raccoons, possums weasels, dogs! Am I wrong? Would it be safe to have chicken wire for the top covering? Can the raccoons climb up there and tear the chicken wire? Do you recommend hardware cloth ALL over? I'm just trying to do it right the first time and not get stressed out with dead chickens later. The for your help.
     
  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I think you'd be fine using chicken wire over top of the run. The top will mostly be for daytime predators, which would consist of hawks and such. They might smack the wire, but I've never heard of one tearing through.

    Definitely use hardware cloth everywhere else though. Raccoons and dogs can easily tear through chicken wire, actually, I can easily pull it apart with my hands. Chicken wire is more for keeping chickens IN, not so much for keeping bigger preds OUT.

    Good luck!

    And, your hubby would be quite surprised about how dense they can be. Lots of birds have had their heads pulled off through the fence by predators!
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2016
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  3. beetandsteet

    beetandsteet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't worry about overthinking, it's always good to be prepared!
    I agree with your husband, a hawk picking a chicken through chicken wire is absurd. But chicken wire can be ripped by predators such as coyotes, and weasels can get through it. However those are nighttime predators, and you ought to shut your flock up in a secure coop with the hardware cloth over the windows to keep those out. For covering a chicken run to keep out hawks, chicken wire is great. Bury your welded wire down a few feet to keep out digging predators.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2016
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  4. RitzHomestead

    RitzHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Everyone will have different opinions on this, I have had chicken wire on my run for years and have never had any issues with keeping things out. To me the most important thing is ensuring your coop and run is built to keep the predators out. Our coop is off of the ground, our chicken wire is pulled tight and stapled to a board every 4 feet and we buried our chicken wire 2 feet into the ground as well to stop anything from being able to dig anything around it. We also surrounded the exterior with large river rocks to make it look good and it also stops things from being able to even try and dig. We have the roof of the run covered and all entrances to the coop have a latch that has a lock put in it.

    So in my honest opinion, it is more about the design of the coop/run then it is the debate over hardware cloth vs chicken wire.
     
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  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Well, it depends.
    On...... your location, your predator load, if you keep your birds consistently cooped up at night, if you're gone from home all day.
    Even hardware cloth can be torn and breached if it's not installed correctly.

    I have a 1/2" hardware cloth 'envelope' for a coop, attached every 6" with screws and washers and latches and caribineers on all doors, secure locks for pop doors......
    but my run is 14ga 2x4 welded wire on walls, roof, and 18" apron all around, but I'm home all day often within sight of run.
    My predator load is mostly hawks, tho others are around.
     
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  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    My run used to be chicken wire, with a chicken wire top to keep out hawks, and welded wire around the lower two feet, on a concrete foundation. It was fine for daytime only, and the flock was locked in every night. We also had electric tape around it. Last summer we had a major upgrade; solid roof, hardware cloth everywhere, and 2"x4" welded wire around the lower four feet. LOVE IT !!! My birds are safe 24/ 7 with the coop doors opened, so plenty of space during snow season. If bears arrive, we'll add electric again. Mary
     
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  7. Butterfly65

    Butterfly65 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you all for your replies. My other half is wanting chicken wire on the top half and hardware cloth below. He's thinking that since the Chickees will be in the coop in the evenings then we can lock them up and no weasels will be able to get to them. I'm thinking of my peace of mind and incase we want to leave the house for a few days to go camping or whatever then no one will be home to lock them up in the coop. Lol... So it's going to be expensive, but since we can afford it, I think it might just be better if we put hardware cloth around the whole dang run!
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Make your coop BIG then.
    What is your climate?
     
  9. Butterfly65

    Butterfly65 Out Of The Brooder

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    We live in the North Florida panhandle near southern Georgia. Never any snow here. Here's what we are desiring to do. We unfortunately bought a home made coop from this local man who builds them as a hobby. It is without a run and the size is approx. 4' x 6'. Then we went and bought 8 red sex linked chicks. So they grow fast and we needed a run. I was doing a lot of thinking and walking round & round in circles in the yard. I decided on creating a HUGE run with the coop sitting in the middle. It's 36' x 30' and about 5' 8" high so I don't bonk my head while walking in and out... Lol... We haven't finished building it. Call me crazy but I just want them to have a lot of free space since we can't free range. I just feel bad looking at a lot of chicken run pictures with so many chickens and so little space. :-(
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    A big run is good, but if you plan on leaving them in there while gone overnight, you'll have to make it as secure as a coop.
    So chicken wire as a roof won't cut it.
     

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