Light (vs. Heavy) fencing?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sbonsai, Nov 16, 2016.

  1. sbonsai

    sbonsai Out Of The Brooder

    May 6, 2016
    I'm having some back issues right now, and picking up heavy posts and setting them in the ground or dealing with large wire rolls of fencing is not really an option for me right now. My chickens free-range in a fenced-in backyard and go in the coop at night. This has worked fine for months, but I'm apparently on a migratory bird route and I'm starting to get hawk attacks.

    My initial thought was some of that plastic fencing with some small 4 foot metal posts that I could hammer into the ground. I could then either cover it with strands of wire to keep the hawks out or just overlay the top with more plastic fencing somehow. I have also clipped their wings, so it doesn't even need to be that high.

    Anyone have any better ideas for some type of minimal fencing that only a hawk deterrent requirement?

    I also feel the need to add that I'm not excited about keeping them in a run. I'd almost rather get chickens that are better at protecting themselves than cooping them up in an enclosed area that not only stresses them, it stresses me because now I have a big dirt pit in the backyard. Letting them roam our big yard was working great till this happened.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2016
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It sounds like you are talking about a perimeter fence, not something overhead. A perimeter fence will not stop a hawk, you need something overhead. I don’t know how big an area you are talking about but you are right, it can be pretty light-weight if it’s only about keeping chicken sin and hawks out. You don’t say where you are so I don’t know if snow or ice could be a problem with something light. Wet snow or freezing rain can bring down covers. Wind can be a problem too.

    With your back problems it’s hard to come up with something easy to erect if you are doing it yourself. The wider it is the harder it is to cover it, the longer the span the heavier the bracing on top has to be keep from sagging or breaking. I really like to be able to walk in a run and not hit my head. It’s just so much more convenient.

    I’m also considering that this might be a migratory problem, not a permanent problem. You might just need something temporary.

    It would really help to know how big you are talking about but my thoughts run to not setting any fence posts since that is hard on your back. My first thought is to build a hoop-coop type run. I’m not talking about getting the 16’ long cattle panels, those are way too heavy and awkward. Use PVC pipe to form an arch. Cover that with bird netting or deer netting. That should keep chickens in and hawks out. You’ll have to brace the ends so they don’t spread out and find a way to keep the hoops standing instead of just falling over, but that’s the lightest construction I can think of.

    Another possibility I don’t like as much would be to build a frame that sits on the ground, no posts, out of 2”x2” wood and cover that with netting. You are going to be limited on span with 2x2’s but it’s lightweight construction. You may need to brace either of these against wind.

    One more possibility. Set the T-posts like you are talking about (driving them sounds hard on the back) and cover that with bird or deer netting. You might need to go a little taller depending in width because you will get sag. Or maybe you can span it with 2x2’s or even 2x4’s to hold the netting up. I’d attach everything with zip ties.

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