What wire shoud I use to back my fence?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Dorte, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. Dorte

    Dorte Songster

    Apr 27, 2010
    I am currently building a wooden lattice fence that will be part of my run. The lower part (2') is solid wood that only a bear would be able to break though (and luckily we don't have that sort of guests around here). The upper part (4') is a heavy duty lattice fence that is 1" thick. The openings in the lattice are about 2"x2".

    My first thought was to cover the whole thing in hardware cloth, but $$$ made me rethink.... I'd like your thoughts on what wire to buy.
    I'll separate my question into two areas:

    1) Behind lattice fencing.
    Depending on my mood I am oscillating between not thinking I need any wire behind this area to thinking that only hardware cloth will do the job.... It is 2' above the ground, so grabbing heads through the holes is not much of a problem.

    2) I am concerned about the top of the run. I have seen raccoons and opossums use our wooden fence as a high way to avoid canine predators, so I am pretty sure they'd be able to scale the fence and enter the run. A net will of course not help much against this type of animals. I hate to have to put hardware cloth or even welded wire over the whole run, but I don't see much alternative. Is there a smarter solution that I am not thinking of? If not, how small does the apertures in the welded wire need to be?

    Thank you!
  2. buildingmyark

    buildingmyark Songster

    May 2, 2010
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    How big will your run be? Maybe you could put corrigated fiberglas panels over the top, it would also give them some protection from the elements as well as hawks, and climbing critters. I would think just hardware cloth 1/2" openings behind lattice panels would be good enough.
  4. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    It depends on how you plan to manage your flock and use your run. Some people build secure coops and plan on locking their chickens up in it every night without fail, so they build their runs to withstand the typical daytime predator, which usually doesn't include raccoons. In our suburban fenced backyard, the most likely daytime predators are neighborhood cats (a danger to our bantams, but not to standard, full grown hens) and hawks. You may have other likely predators to consider, depending on your area.

    You can keep hawks out of your run by putting even a lightweight barrier over the top of your run: deer netting, chicken wire, etc. As you correctly point out, this kind of covering does nothing to keep out raccoons.

    Other people try to make their run as secure as possible from even night time predators. For that you need the heavier welded wire over the whole run, including the roof. Many people use the wire with the larger openings and reinforce it with something solid or with smaller openings anywhere reach through predation is a potential risk (include any place where the roosts come close to the wire).

    Don't forget to consider what can get into your run from the bottom by digging under your fence! You can put an apron or skirt of wire flat on the ground, extending out from the perimeter and attached to the fence. Stake it down with landscaping staples, or weight it with rocks, or cover it with dirt, gravel, etc. A digging predator usually tries to dig in right at the base of the fence, hits the wire, but doesn't think about backing up a couple of feet and digging from there.

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