Poultry mesh vs hardware wire for run??


In the Brooder
10 Years
May 3, 2009
Dayton, Or
My coop is nearly completed and the run is framed. My question is what to use to contain the girls in the run. Some of the really nice coops I've seen have poultry mesh. My farm store suggested hardware wire. Any ideas on this topic??

PS - the hardware wire is ~ $9 per foot; while the poultry mesh is ~ $1.50 per foot.
Chicken wire will keep your girlies IN but won't keep much else OUT. Most dogs, raccoons, etc. will go right through it. Go for the hardware wire. I know it's expensive - my DH about killed me - but you'll sleep better at night. I attached mine with screws and washers, but I know others use fencing staples.
There are two sides to the chickenwire story: people who have not had problems with it yet, and people who have. (The word "yet" is the key in that sentence there).

If you think that chickenwire is good protection, browse the "Predators and Pests" section of BYC and you will see a lot of threads on the theme of "everyone around me only uses chickenwire and never had any problems so I figured it was safe but now all my chickens are lying in pieces all across the lawn".

To me, what matters isn't the number of people who have not had problems, it's the number who HAVE. You do not hear about predators ripping through intact, well-installed hardwarecloth or heavy welded wire mesh of appropriately small size. Whereas, as the "Predators and Pests" forum demonstrates, there are plenty o' instances of predators shredding through chickenwire.

You can make your own decision; from the above, it should be pretty clear what mine is

Good luck,

"....well-installed hardwarecloth or heavy welded wire mesh of appropriately small size."

What size mesh is best? ... 2"x4" ok?

In my opinion, heavy gauge 2x4" mesh is fine, or good quality (not flimsy) chainlink correctly installed. One advantage of both those is that you can often find good-condition secondhand stuff if you hunt around, which helps with finances.

However I would not use either of those without something smaller-mesh on the inside of them for the lower 2-3' of the fence. To prevent chickens from sticking their heads out and predators from sticking grabby parts in. 1/2" hardwarecloth is best, but in my opinion 1/2" chickenwire (NOT the normal common 1" chickenwire) is also just about adequate, as you're only trying to prevent things being poked through and if they manage to break a mesh here or there it doesn't really matter too much.

The above arrangements will not keep out weasels or rats; and may not keep out baby possums. But you know what? Pretty much nothing will (weasels and rats anyhow), because all it takes is ONE one-inch gap and they're in.

Whatever fencing wire you buy, make sure it is GALVANIZED. Those pricing cheap hardwarecloth, make sure of that before buying. Non-galvanized will not last long...

Good luck, have fun,


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