Wire choice to keep predators OUT!


9 Years
Feb 23, 2010
Huntsville, Alabama
Will chicken wire keep hawks out? doesn't seem like it... and I was planning on lining the bottom of the coop with 1/2" hardware cloth and the run with 2x4 welded wire so no critters can get in seeing as I'm building a mobile coop/ tractor I can't bury wire. Do you think the chickens will injure themselves scratching in between the 2x4? I just want my chicks to be as safe as possible!
yeah itl ceep howks owt but not some smart coons and rats can chew the wire but other than that ur good

ETA: the coons stick there paws throu and try too pull the chickens throu but ive never had problems with em
Ok overhead for hawks. Forget hardware cloth for bottom. Poop will pile up and clog it and you will have a stinking mess. If it was not too far from house or barn, I would install a fence charger and put a hot wire about 4" from ground and another about 12" up from ground. Hook it up each time you move it. Have to remember to drive a metal stake into the ground for grounding the unit each time you move it tho. A piece about 3 ft long is ok. Just make a drop cord out of a 100 or 250 ft piece of #14 house wire for cheapest extra-long drop cord.
Thanks for all the suggestions so far!

and gism that's all well and good except for the part where my very curious Great Dane pup would probably electrocute herself.

Anyone have a suggestion for what size wire under the coop then? Since it'll clog up with poop...
The welded wire (which I have on my coop) has really big openings. Predators can easily reach through. I would would either add hardware cloth around the bottom 2 ft. or so, or just do the whole thing in it. You can always do a skirt along the bottom of your tractor to help prevent digging predators...
Run- With the welded wire it would only be attached to the the bottom of the run and for the top and sides I was planning on using chicken wire but someone said it would be better to use hardware cloth on the upper part so they'd be protected from digging predators during the day while they are allowed in the run at night they will be securely locked in the coop

Coop- And if you read earlier posts I said I was planning on using hardware cloth on the bottom of the coop so nothing could borough in at night but them someone posed the problem that their poop might get stuck in the cloth so I'm at a loss what to put underneath that now...

I don't know what to do now! Argh!
LOL...okay, I think we're experiencing a communications issue. So your coop (little house area) will not have a wooden floor???? If it doesn't have a wooden floor, then hardware cloth would probably be your safest best (alhtough I can see poop getting smooshed in there). If it does have a plywood or other floor, then you could add hardware cloth tacked under that (might prevent mice and such from chewing through the wood).

As for the run...welded wire on the bottom (floor) should be fine...allows grass through...they can still scratch. I think a lot of tractor users don't put a "floor" in the run area... Chicken wire is generally reserved for the tops of coops, since it will deter hawks and such. By upper parts, do you mean sides??? Whatever you use on the sides, I'd use hardware cloth on the lower 18"-24" section. If a dog wanted a chicken lunch badly enough, it could get through chicken wire, and most welded wire openings are fairly large (think paw or snout trying to get in). Hence total or partial hardware cloth on the sides....if you're looking at safety issues. Hope that's more than clear as mud...lol.
What I understand you are wanting to do is build a movable run for a few chickens to be in during the day. At night you would lock them in a coop. That way they can get the green stuff, seeds, and creepy crawlies during the day and be safe in the coop at night. I could easily be wrong. I'll admit to being a little confused when you talk about hardware cloth on the upper part so they'd be protected from digging predators during the day.

For the movable run, I think your biggest risk during the day is probably dogs or hawks. Raccoons and foxes can be out during the day, usually just at dawn or dusk, so they are still a risk. I don't know the size you are planning for the movable run, especially how tall you are making it. I'd suggest hardware cloth for the sides since it is strong enough to keep dogs and raccoons from getting through it and the holes are small enough to keep raccoons from reaching through. You can use hardware cloth for the bottom two feet of the sides and use welded wire the rest of the way up. Or you can use welded wire (I'm thinking of the 2" x 4" welded wire) for the sides and line the bottom two feet of the sides with chicken wire or hardware cloth to keep the raccoons from reaching through.

For the top, I'd suggest either welded wire or hardware cloth. If it is tall enough a dog cannot jump on it, you might be OK with chicken wire, but a raccoon can climb up there and get through. I have seen a report on this forum where a hawk dove through chicken wire, probably did not see it. You could always weave ribbon or something through the chicken wire to make it visible to a hawk, but I'd suggest the welded wire. I'm thinking this run is not going to be too big since it is movable and you may have enough welded wire on the roll left over to do this.

I would not put wire on the bottom of the run. It will interfere with the chickens scratching and could hurt their feet. If the chickens are in the run when you are moving it, you really have a big chance of hurting their feet. I'd go with aprons to keep things from digging under. Aprons directly attached to the run could make it real hard to move the run, so, depending on size, I'd consider making some removable aprons. Maybe attach 18" to 24" of hardwire cloth or welded wire to a 2x4, put nails or lag bolts in the bottom member of the run side (assume 2"x4 bottom of the run) and leave them sticking up a bit, then drill holes in your apron to match the nails or lag bolts. Or what might be easier, drill holes in the 2x4 on the apron and the bottom member of the run and drop 5" nails in to act as pins.

I don't know how big a coop or what style you are talking about. They do like to scratch in the litter. You can bury welded wire under several inches of dirt, then cover that with litter, and they should be OK. It will eventually rust and you won't know when your protection has rusted away. Depending on the size, you can always make the floor solid wood. For my 8' x 12' coop, I put an apron of welded wire around it and feel pretty comfortable about anything digging in.

If I have misinterpretted what you are trying to do, please correct me.

Good luck!!!

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