Hardware cloth, welded wire? What do I use?


8 Years
Apr 13, 2011
San Antonio
Ok my DH finally ok'd the chicken adventure and I want to start building soon but not too sure about wire for coop and run. We're on a tight budget so I want the most bang for the buck but also want the girls to be safe when the arrrive and move in to their home.

So do I use hardware cloth or welded wire?
And does the "gage" sizematter?
Oh yeah and whats the biggest size on the squares can I use? It seams that the bigger the square or rectangle the less expensive the wire. Ofcourse I want the girls to be safe but I also don't want to spend a ton of money.

Thanks ahead of time to all you great people who respond!
Hi, I see this was posted in April, so maybe you have already made up your mind, but, for the future: I use welded wire, in 1/2 inch squares. I so this because that keep all but the smallest predators from being able to put their snout and lower jaw through the wire to chew it open (YES! they will!). I would use smaller if we lived in an area where mink or marmot were a problem, but they are not here. We have skunk, opossum, and raccoon, mainly. I cover every opening, even the very high vent holes in the coop, and the space between rafters, if you have them.

Around the perimeter fencing, to prevent dig ins, you can bury a 2 x 6 on it's side at the bottom of the fencing, or tap aluminum plant stakes (cut off to 12" length) into the ground at 3" intervals. The really fancy runs have the wire set in concrete!

Good luck with your project!
No I lust posted today the April 13 date is when I joined BYC. Thanks for the reply! As far as I can tell here in San Antonio Tx in my area of the city I've seen Oposums, Skunks, Deer, Rabits(stay out of my vegies you cute varmits!). I'm sure there are more since I live in a cul d sac that butts against a green belt.
No, the message was posted today, she joined BYC in april... Anyway, The smaller the holes the better. Coons can reach their grubby little hands in and get ahold of a chicken.. And not pretty. I'd use the hardware cloth personally. Used welded, not twisted. Spend the money on it. You'll hate it if something were able to break the wire and get in. Have fun with the chickens. They are something. I love mine.
When people refer to hardware cloth, they're usually referring to welded wire with small openings between the horizontal and vertical wires. Openings of no more than 1/2" by 1/2" offer protection from "reach through" predation...that's where a predator like a raccoon grabs through the wire and pulls pieces of birds out, bit by bit. It's ghastly. On the dove board I belong to, people have had birds pulled through wire with 1/2" by 1" openings.

You don't have to use wire with small openings for your whole run as long as you reinforce the most vulnerable areas with something solid, or something with small openings. The vulnerable areas would be the lower 2 feet and anyplace roosts come up close to the edge of the wire. Be aware, though, that if you use the wire with the large openings, you have to think about what kind of critters could squeeze through. Mink? Snakes?

Gauge is a measure of the thickness of the wire. The higher the gauge number, the thinner the wire (which is counterintuitive, but there it is). Of course, the thicker the wire, the stronger it will be. I use 19 gauge wire with 1/2" by 1/2" spacing for my run, but our yard is fully fenced with a six foot tall solid board fence so we don't have to worry about dogs roaming the neighborhood. For the windows and vents on the coop, I used 16 gauge wire with 1/2" by 1/2" openings. That's noticeably stronger wire, very tough.

Woven wire is an inferior product, and that's what chicken wire is. The wire strands are not welded together, just twisted together. Additionally, chicken wire is usually a high gauge. I call it chicken (death) wire.
In our coop we'll be using hardware cloth on the windows and vents. 1/4" on the windows next to the roosts and 1/2" everywhere else (might use up the 1/4" on the other vents until it's gone, then switch to 1/2". For the run we used fencing with 2x4 openings and put chicken wire on the bottom 4' of it. We close the chickens up every night. When we go on vacation and will have to keep the pop door open we plan to put a hotwire up around the run.
I didn't know they had 1/4" - where did you get it? They only had 1/2" at Lowe's & Home Depot.
hmm I'm not sure. DH had pieces of it on hand but we'll need bigger ones for the windows. I guess I just assumed he bought it at HD or something. He may have gotten it from Rural King. I'll have to ask him where he got it (he's off HAND cutting weeds in our farm fields today-that sounds like the least fun job ever).
I bought my 1/4" hardware cloth in a 100 ft roll, 3' wide from csnstores.com. It was the least expensive place I found.

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