Keeping out rodents


10 Years
Sep 24, 2009
I'm building a coop and enclosed run in my suburban back yard and am debating with myself about the size mesh in the run. My biggest pest is likely to be rodents and I'd like to keep them out of the run. I've heard that a committed rat can get through anything larger than 1/4", but I just can't believe that. I'm wondering what size mesh do you use (I'm thinking hardware cloth or welded wire) and have you ever had rodents in your run. Could I get away with 1X1" hardware cloth?

Knock Kneed Hen

California Dream'in Chickens
9 Years
Feb 15, 2010
So. Cal.
I used to have walk in aviaries and I had 1/2 x 1 inch wire. No rats but I did get mice. If you plan on leaving your birds out at night I would definitely use 1/2 x 1/2 wire. I'd use 1/4" hardware cloth if I didn't want mice. They won't kill a chicken or eat the eggs but they pee everywhere!!


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
Well, irrespective of whether you can believe it
, rats CAN get into places through 1/2" holes. Not great big huge trophy-size rats, but young rats. All they need is a hole they can fit their skull through -- and the skull of a young rat is not real big...

IMO there are two different situations though -- one where you KNOW you have an existing rat population around, and another where you just don't want a rat population to *occur*. If you KNOW you have rat problems in the area already, I would go whole-hog on the ratproofing thing, preferably a poured slab for both coop and run and extra ratproofing measures all round. However if you have no particular reason to believe there are rats in the area, you just want to *keep* it that way, you can leave a certain number of things as "options for future retrofitting" if rats should ever show up. The biggest thing, if you want to be proactive, is to make it so they can't tunnel into your coop and run, since that is usually hard to fix later on.

Mice are far more common than rats, though, so if you really don't want any rodents attracted to the chickens, you'll need 1/4" hardwarecloth everywhere, plus extremely tight carpentry. Eventually some mice will still probably find their way in but at least you'll have made 'em work for it

Good luck, have fun,


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