Hardware cloth vs chicken wire


In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 15, 2010
NW Washington
I'm starting to build my coop and my husband thinks chicken wire will be fine. Most of the information I have read on this forum says to use hardware cloth. I live in the pacific northwest on five acres of woods and have cyotes on the property. Although I have not seen a racoon around, I know they are in the neighborhood. Can a racoon tear through chicken wire? Can you use the hardware cloth on the bottom and use the chicken wire on the top? The run will be a slanted 8 foot to 7 foot slope. My thought is I could use the hardware cloth on the bottom 3-4 feet and use chicken wire near the top. Although, racoons can climb can't they. Am I paranoid and worrying too much?

ozark hen

Living My Dream
12 Years
Apr 4, 2007
Mansfield, MO
I know lots of people who use hardware cloth on the bottom and chicken wire on top....I am going to be one of them with the new pens we will build as soon as dh recovers from broken ankle. We will put hardware cloth on the bottom of our dog pens/now chicken pens too. Coons and others can reach through and yes, tear through chicken wire. We are securing the bottom few feet with the hardware cloth. Now our run is mostly chicken wire but there are no chickens in there after dark. We have never had a predator go into the run...................in three years..........knock on wood. We around most of the time anyway.
Oh, don't forget to bury some wire about six inches under ground on the outside of the pens/runs so predators can't dig under. That is very important.
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10 Years
Sep 23, 2009
raccoons, weasels and even very small dogs can tear threw chicken wire like a hot knife threw butter. to make it a little less expensive you could use 2x4 welded wire for the top and the hardware cloth at the lower 2 foot.


10 Years
May 23, 2009
Raccoons can and do climb! I saw a raccoon go straight up the side of our eight foor board fence, just like it was running on level ground. If you have chicken wire on any part of your run, even the roof, it isn't predator resistant, and you better be faithful about locking your chickens into a secure coop every night if you don't want them to end up on some raccoon's menu.


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
Quote:I hope you are not also going to be one of the people posting in the "Predators and Pests" section of the forum with a thread titled something like "All My Chickens Got Eaten Yesterday".

It is basically POINTLESS to put hardware cloth at the base of a chickenwire fence. It is putting an $80 padlock on a loop of baling twine. Dogs and raccoons and such will simply reach up ABOVE the hardwarecloth, rip a hole through the chickenwire, and have dinner.

PLEASE don't do this. If you're just going to use chickenwire, there is no real point in spending the extra on the hardwarecloth; if you want the fence to be actually predator-resistant, don't use chickenwire. If you are on a budget, a good compromise is often heavy-gauge 2x4 welded wire mesh (nothing any larger, though) with something 1/2"-mesh on the bottom 2-3'. The smaller meshed stuff would ideally be hardwarecloth but if you don't mind *some* extra risk, it is not *so* bad to use 1/2" 'mini' chickenwire or even plastic garden netting, since the only point is to prevent reach-through and anything that could rip that apart and to thru the 2x4 meshes could just as well climb up and go thru the regular 2x4 meshes *anyhow*.

Good luck, have fun,



9 Years
Apr 8, 2010
What is the best way to attach the hardware cloth to the wooden frame of the run? I've read on here that the racoons can pull staples right off and get in anyway!


Deluxe Dozens
11 Years
Mar 29, 2008
Riverside/Norco, CA
You could screw small strips of wood over the hardware cloth into the underlying wood. Think of it as decorative (and extra security) trim molding.

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