Is there a SAFE and cheap alternative to hardwire cloth?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by guesswhatchickenbutt, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    We're off to Lowe's today to buy the lumber and supplies for our attached run. We have a portable hoop run, but it is becoming a huge pain to keep putting the chickens back in the coop at night and get them out first thing in the morning. I need an attached run to save my sanity.

    The price of lumber, screws, nails, etc isn't too bad, but when you add in the price of hardwire cloth, it's off the charts! Money is pretty tight right now and we're trying not to spend too much on the run.

    So does a safe and cheap alternative to hardwire cloth exist?

    We're about to break the bank today and I have sooooo much guilt for spending this much when we're really trying to cut back. But... I know that if the chickens are going to be happy (and me too) they need an attached run.

  2. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    Honestly, no. I can not see anything that would be a cheaper hardwire cloth. I wish there is but predators are so determined at any size, they will get to your chickens.

    Someone out there might.

    Whatever you do, do not get chicken wire.
  3. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I know what you mean- my first egg cost about $1100. About the hardware cloth, though- there is nothing better for protection from predators. Sometimes you can buy end of rolls, and often someone will have leftovers on sites like kajiji. Since it's one of the last things you'll do, I'd search first for some bargains. We're near the woods with bears, owls, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, pine martens and the like...and no losses.

    See homepage under my avatar for pics and information on how to install.

  4. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    Thanks all.


    yeah, we have chicken wire on their portable hoop run, but they're only in it during daylight hours when we're home. We won't use chicken wire on their attached run...

    We've called all the local fence places and most don't even know what hardwire cloth is. One local fence guy said I should call the fabric store if I wanna buy cloth. Nice, huh?

    So Home Depot and lowe's seem to be our only options.
  5. Thomas423

    Thomas423 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2009
    Port Deposit, MD
    I went to a smaller lumber store and was able to order the hardware cloth in a 100" roll. It worked out to 1.30/ft. Still pricey but alot cheaper than Lowes or Depot's prices per foot. We used 200' so far and I just ordered another 100' for the small pen that we are starting on this week. Also, by having it in one roll there was less waste.

    How big are you building your pen?

    We built ours 6' high. We rolled the 4' hardware cloth across top of each side and then the next level has a 4" overlap and that left almost 2' skirting along the ground. I have pics...just haven't had time to update MyPage.

    Yes, it's all expensive but happy and safe chickens are worth it.

    One more thing.....don't get galvanized poultry staples. They bend too easy and are hard to hammer in straight. The ones that work great have a shiney finish to them. The brand is ProFit...3/4" E.G. Poultry Staples. Also, DH showed me that if you tap them first so that the staple is more U shaped than V shaped they go in easier. Hard to explain in writing but it does work. I'm still finishing the staples along the inside bottom but since the girls are in the run they like to peck at me, the staples, the hammer and jump on my back. Haha. I just don't have the heart to keep them locked up while finishing so we go about it slowly.
  6. lavacaw

    lavacaw Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2008
    South Central Texas
    I would be calling lumber yards rather than hardware places. When I was at the lumber yard yesterday, I saw some 1x1" hardware cloth. I asked about it and I was told because it uses only half the wire, it is cheaper than the 1/2" stuff. Now I know coons can put their hands through a 1 inch square, but the chickens don't usually spend the night in the run...they go into the coop at dark to roost. It should work much better than chicken wire. Good luck
  7. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    Sigh..... no lumber yards around here..... Just the big box stores.[​IMG]
  8. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2009
    Orange County, NY
    Sometime Craigslist, under 'pets' or 'farm and garden' may have a cheaper alternative. We bought an entire set of fencing and posts for our chicken run for $50. Whew, saved us a TON of moola
  9. MyTDogs

    MyTDogs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Have you tried tractor supply? 84 Lumber? There are lumber yards in Central FL- how about the one on 419 & 17/92 in Longwood?- can't think of the name right now :eek:(

    Cindy in FL (Sanford)- still no chix
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I'm not such a believer in the religion of the all-powerful hardwarecloth, to be honest. I think there are a number of very reasonable alternatives, depending on your situation (note that all of these alternatives assume your chickens are locked int he coop every night at dusk without fail).

    The most-paranoid least-discounted alternative to hardwarecloth is 1x1" wire mesh in a heavy gauge, galvanized. If you want to be even more careful, get 1/2" chickenwire (not the more common 1") or even just heavy plastic garden netting with 1/2" mesh, and run it on the inside of the 1x1 for the bottom 2-3 feet to prevent reach-through and make any passing daytime weasels or rats WORK for a meal (which they will virtually all decline to do)

    If you're not worried about keeping out wild birds and the (very very rare) daytime baby raccoon or baby possum, heavy gauge galvanized 2x4" mesh or good quality chainlink are also very reasonable options. With these I really would not skip the step of lining the bottom 2-3' with something smaller-mesh (hardwarcloth, 1/2" chickenwire, or garden netting) to prevent reach-through and to keep chicks inside.

    There is nothing wrong with using all hardwarecloth for the entire run if you can afford it, or prefer the look, or (in pretty rare circumstances) really need to go all-out to keep daytime rats out of the run (although even with hardwarecloth there are no guarantees, rats being what they are...). But I honestly do nOT think it is in any way essential for many peoples' circumstances.

    Good luck, have fun,


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