Run Materials? Chicken Wire vs Hardware Cloth

countrygirl86

Songster
5 Years
Apr 4, 2014
125
13
106
I know chicken wire is not good for securing from predators. I plan on covering all openings to the coop with hardware cloth. But I am wondering if using chicken wire for the run would be a good idea or not. Obviously the chickens will be locked in the coop at night and only in the run during the day. We live in a very open country area. I think the most common predators in my area are cats, dogs, fox, and raccoon. I want to keep costs to a minimum. The run will be 12'x20' and 7' tall. I plan on enclosing the top as well so using that much hardware cloth would be quite costly. Any input?
 

azelgin

Songster
12 Years
Jan 18, 2008
1,277
50
193
S.E. AZ
I'll get yelled at by other members,
for exposing my chickens to all the hungry predators, but, my runs are chicken wire. However, I also run electric fence wire around the runs. I already had the charger, for livestock control, so, it was not an additional cost. So far, so good.
8 years, without a causality.
 

NYcue

Chirping
7 Years
Apr 3, 2012
67
18
96
Raccoons would concern me. My brother had his run with Chicken wire also. A raccoon ate the heads of his chickens somehow through the Chicken wire. But I would also have concerns about mice and the chicken feed.
 

countrygirl86

Songster
5 Years
Apr 4, 2014
125
13
106
I could be wrong but I would not think that raccoon would be a concern during the day. I have heard that they are not out during the day unless something is wrong with them, i.e. rabies. Bulk feed would be kept in the storage area inside the coop in air tight containers (which will be secured with hardware cloth). as far as the feeders I had thought of having two sets. One set inside the coop and one set in the run during the day and brought in at night.
 

enola

Crowing
11 Years
Jan 23, 2009
13,143
1,428
378
Irwin, Pennsylvania (Pittsburg area)
Probably your worst problems in the day time hours will be roaming dogs. A medium size dog can chew through chicken wire. A large dog or coyote will more or less run right through chicken wire.

Electric wire properly set up and maintained will be your friend when using chicken wire.
 
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akelley

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 6, 2013
204
17
83
Conroe, TX
We split the difference and put chicken wire over the whole run, then reinforced the bottom half with hardware cloth. We also have a hot wire around the coop and run. The only intruder so far was a mouse, and the chickens took care of that for me :)
 

cafarmgirl

Crowing
10 Years
Mar 24, 2009
5,523
583
327
California, central valley
I think it really just depends on your situation, the location of your coop/run and what you have for daytime predators, although I don't know that I'd ever feel very secure with chicken wire only. Add some backup in the form of hot wire or hardware cloth. My run is in no way predator proof but it is in a location that has a lot of human activity during the daytime so wild predators are not an issue during the day. Birds are locked in a secure coop at night. The run is made of chain link dog run panels, covered with shade cloth and has a hot wire around the outside near the base which works perfectly to deter dogs.
 

Irishhenman

Songster
6 Years
Jul 2, 2013
583
47
113
Ireland
Maybe try chain link for the run, it is a little more expensive than chicken wire (not near as expensive as hardware cloth though) but it is much stronger wire. I personally have chicken wire runs (2" and 1") and I have not had any problems for years.
 

azelgin

Songster
12 Years
Jan 18, 2008
1,277
50
193
S.E. AZ
Its surprising how the attitude towards using a hot wire for protection has changed around here. I started using it when I first built my coop and runs, back in 2006. When joined her in 2008 and I suggested it to others, I always got the story of it won't work, the electricity will go out, the charger will fail, the wire will break, a determined predator will rip right through it, animals will test it all the time, animals will dig under, etc. . . . .
Now, I notice three out of four posts recommending it.
Hmmm, things have changed while I was away.
 

jlmissouri

Chirping
7 Years
Sep 22, 2012
39
15
79
Missouri
I have only used chicken wire. I have not had anything go through it. If you get the heavy gauge 1" chicken wire the average dog isn't going to run through it, or chew through it. If it does I am glad it is eating my chickens and not coming after me.
 
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