Wire for Run


In the Brooder
Feb 14, 2018
In the process of building a new coop and run, most of the run will be covered but also some that is uncovered. On the perimeter I am hoping to put up 2x4 welded wire with 1/2” hardware cloth 3-4’ up on the bottom. Has anyone does this. Any success? Any pictures?

If I could let you in my head you could see the plans, by covered I am referring to a solid roof. The rest of the run would be covered with wire.

Any comments on using 6’ 2x3 welded wire with 1/2 hardware cloth 3’ feet up?
2x3 wire might be OK up high, as you're aware probably, raccoons for instance will work in pairs, one will scare the chickens into a corner, the other will be waiting in the corner ready to reach through the wire, to pull off the chickens' heads as they crowd into the corner against the wire, trying to get away from the first raccoon. That's just one example, with one predator. Then there are possums, skunks, rats, and maybe weasels depending on your particular location that might represent a threat coming through 2x3 wire if they can climb up to it.

All that being said, for simple peace of mind, I think it's better to just go ahead and use half-inch hardware cloth from the git-go on all open wire areas. It'll be much easier to add that now while building, rather than later. Half inch hardware cloth is the gold standard in keeping out predators.

On my 8'x16' hoop chicken tractor that's what I did, and I rest easy knowing it's absolutely predator-proof at night when they're roosting. My entire structure is cattle panel with hardware cloth over it, even under the sheet roofing. That may not have been necessary, but again, I never have to worry about a predator gaining entrance to the tractor. Here's a couple of photos:

2018-03-23 05.02.41.jpg

2018-02-03 14.18.47.jpg
2018-02-06 15.17.11.jpg

So a couple of things.

The best price I've seen on half-inch hardware cloth is $58 for a 4 foot by 50-foot roll, 16 gauge wire (the higher the gauge, the thinner the wire). That was from Agri-Supply an hour from my house. Other than that on the same size roll, Walmart has free in-store pickup for $61 a roll, and Amazon has free delivery for $61 a roll.

If you want a very strong substrate for your hardware cloth, 16 foot by 50-inch cattle fence panels from Tractor Supply are cheap and strong, and easy to wire tie, or zip tie your hardware cloth to. Zip ties should be outdoor rated. The panels are around $22 each, I built my whole tractor with cattle panels as the first layer of wire, with the hardware cloth zip tied over the cattle panels.

The holes on the cattle panel vary a little bit from top to bottom, but the largest holes are 6x8. Obviously, any predator could stroll right through that size opening, and a chicken could step right through too, but it's thick wire and does make a great base for the hardware cloth. Of course, you could use a wooden frame to mount the hardware cloth too], but your open span of hardware cloth would be much larger than with the cattle panel.

If you build a covered, predator proof hoop structure like mine, you don't need a coop at all. A coop is a far less desirable habitat for your birds than an open, airy run. Your birds will prefer to roost in the run.

If that's the route you go, it's important to orient an open wire, short side to the south, which is never closed (providing great ventilation), with the ability to seal off the north, east, and west sides during winter. Break that seal in the other seasons with an open window or wire on the east and west sides, to create cooling cross ventilation. I use clear roofing panels to seal my open wire on my east and west sides during winter.

Sealing three sides creates a still cushion of air in the run, that is draft free, and is fine for the chickens, even in extreme cold, I got down to minus 5 this past winter.

On a structure with the south face always open, it's important to keep the structure a rectangular shape, which preserves the still cushion of air. Shapes like 6x10, 8x12, 8x16, or 10x20.

Most hoop structures are 8 feet wide and 6 feet tall. The length is anything you want, just keep adding more panels for more length. The beauty of hoops is how easy they are to construct, and you're automatically creating a covered predator proof run, if properly constructed.

Space is important. You should allow at least ten square feet per bird in your run, more is always appreciated by your birds.

If I were you, I wouldn't consider 2x4 wire predator proof in any application, only half inch hardware cloth. As such, I wouldn't use 2x4 wire.

Good luck with your project!
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