HW Cloth Wire Hole Size and Gage

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by UTMGolden, May 1, 2017.

  1. UTMGolden

    UTMGolden Just Hatched

    May 1, 2017
    Hi, We're newbee's and are in early planning stages for a large coop and run. Initial layout plan is for an 8' x 7" coop with a + 150 sq' L shaper run. We plan to have the slanted flat roof from the run extend about 4' out over the run for the entire 8" width of the coop. Plan to cover the run sides and the rest if the roof with HW cloth.

    We would really like to go bigger on the HW cloth mesh size. Our current and temporary open roof setup uses 2" x 4" HW cloth, and I like that because we get to see our chickens. I notice most discussion on this forum about NW cloth is 1/2" x 1/2" @ 19 gauge. I thought maybe to put the denser 1/2" x 1/2" as a 3' high bottom later (very bottom one having 1" buried, and then go to the 2" x 4" above that and on the ceiling/roof.

    Any thoughts and guidance on this approach. What gauge to use? Considerations for ease of install? Galvanized vs PVC coated?

    Our most prevalent critters we are concerned about is raccoons, although we have spotted or heard of foxes, bobcats, mountain lions and bears in our neighborhood. We are not expecting to build anything that will keep a determined bear at bay. We will also have motion sensing cameras setup.

    Many Thanks.

    Last edited: May 3, 2017
  2. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Apr 1, 2014
    Longville, La
    My opinion is that 2x4 wire by itself is too large to keep smaller predators out. And not to be insulting, but 2x4 is called "welded wire", not hardware cloth. 2x4 is much sturdier with the lower gauge wire, but because HW cloth has a smaller mesh it is pretty strong, even at just 19ga. I know it costs a lot more but it is worth the extra money for the protection. Amazon sells it for about half the price my local farm supply charges.
    UTMGolden likes this.
  3. UTMGolden

    UTMGolden Just Hatched

    May 1, 2017
    Great thanks. So now I'm thinking to go 1" x 1" HW cloth and am wondering if I need to go to a higher gauge than 19. I'm also wondering about the merits of 2' vs 3' vs 4' wide rolls for ease of working with it and the need to install more frequent cross members to attach cloth to.
  4. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Apr 1, 2014
    Longville, La
    I've never worked with 4' HW cloth, but I imagine it wouldn't be too difficult on vertical applications. I drive screws part way in and hang the wire up to help hold it as level as possible (plus I have a helper whenever possible) then remove the screws once the wire is secured in place. Measuring and cutting the wire to length helps a lot, so you are fighting the whole roll. HW is pretty good about not curling back on you.
    I've used 2' and 3' on roof/ceiling applications. 2' is MUCH easier to work with and worth having to put up the extra joists to hang it on. Unless you have really long arms, it's tough to reach across a piece of 3' while leaning over on the ladder.
    Go with the heaviest gauge you can afford.
    (BTW, is that UT Martin in your user name?)
    UTMGolden likes this.
  5. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016
    Wire choices seem to always come down to what is best vs. what you can afford. Funny how a lot of things work like that.

    Keep in mind, wire is not sold by the roll or foot, but tends to be priced by the pound. So 2" x 4" is cheaper since there is 1/2 the material in it.......1/2 as much steel.........as 1" x 2". And the gauge size that affects strength also affects weight, and thus cost. Chicken wire has smaller holes and may look sturdy to some, but experience has shown it is not strong enough to deter a host of predators that can rip through it.

    Then there is the concern about what is the best size. For most varmints, 2" x 4" will keep them out, but they can still reach in and do a lot of damage. Others, like some weasels, will not even be slowed down by 2" x 4" wire. For them, maybe not even 1" x 2", so now we are talking 1/2" x 1" or 1/2" x 1/2" hardware cloth.

    So maybe the best advice is start with the smallest size, and at the proper strength factor, you need to deter the smallest predator you may experience, then let the budget decide how much of that you can afford to buy to decide how big of a run you can provide.

    A big run is no good if varmints can waltz right through the wire like it isn't even there. Think in terms or your weakest link and go from there. First and foremost, nobody gets in.......no matter what. Then make that as big as you can afford.
    UTMGolden likes this.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    1x1 is also not called hardware cloth...probably cage mesh.
    Best to identify mesh by the gauge of wire and size of holes.

    19ga 1/2" is the most common Hardware Cloth used on coops and often described as HC and the width of 2', 3', or 4'.
    23ga 1/4" HC is also used.

    Heavier stuff like 14ga 2x4 welded wire.

    I've worked with 4' HC, put it on a ceiling by myself, was tricky.
    See My Coop.
    UTMGolden likes this.
  7. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

    Mar 3, 2011
    The Land of Enchantment
    I put a bunch of it (4') up, including a ceiling, by myself. A bunch of bungee cords really, really helped but my arms still looked like I lost a cat fight. [​IMG]
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 25, 2012
    I would advise to use a 2'' X 2'' inch wire skirt flat on the ground to stop digging vermin, then the full 4 foot tall Hardware cloth sides topped with one inch chicken wire to the top.

    Don't neglect to cover the top and remember to provide areas that are shady.
    UTMGolden likes this.

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