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Wonderful FREE /CHEAP alternatives to HARDWARE CLOTH, & more!!!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by SpeckledHills, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 25, 2008
    Passing along a resourceful idea for options that may be useful in some instances--

    Free or cheap alternatives to hardware cloth / wire:

    WIRE SHELVES from an old

    These are often FREE or very cheap and offer good, strong protection for window & ventilation openings!


    If you ask your local used appliance store, they are likely to cheerfully give you for FREE the shelves from appliances (esp. fridges & freezers) that they are about to send to recycling. If you think it would be good, you could also offer them $5 for a batch. Or bring them some cookies.

    You can check with a landfill.
    With fridges & freezers, there is a chance the landfill may have a contract with a recycler where they have to give them everything. If the landfill does give you permission, open closed frig doors only with EXTREME caution because fridges dumped with food in them will billow out mold & rot. You DON'T want to retrieve those shelves.
    With ovens, a landfill may be willing to give you the shelves.

    Some may have these shelves or other similar things that they would gladly sell you for probably a buck.

    Call & find out if they will sell you some for maybe 50 cents to $2 each. Some recycling companies' operating licenses forbid them from re-selling anything they've taken in as recycling material, but it may be worth checking.
    • Spray painting wire black makes it easier to see through--for both you & the chickens! Silver & white reflect light and are difficult to see past.
    • It is best if at least two opposite sides of a shelf can be against wood for solid fastening.

    • Heavy fencing staples or bent-over nails.
    • Strips of trim boards screwed through the ends sections of wire shelves into solid wood structures.

    • The wide spacing of oven shelf wires can allow through rodents & small predators. You may want to use these only for barriers INSIDE a coop.
    • Mini frig shelves can be somewhat bendable.
    • Large predators with big claws--such as cougars & bears--may be able to get a good grip on shelves (esp. from ovens), and pull hard and possibly dislodge them.
    Free or cheap alternatives to WINDOWS:


    If you know someone you want to pass these ideas along to, you can also refer them to my site PoultryPedia.com for easy look-up, because I'm also adding a "Tips for Chicken Coops" page with these on there.

    Anyone else that has found other useful alternatives to hardware cloth / wire, please add them to this thread so we can know about them, too!

    Wishing everyone happy, safe & cheap window-ing!
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  2. Cargo

    Cargo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2010
    Farmington, NM
    Great tips!

    I also like to use clear rolled vinyl for windows. Just like they use for Jeep soft top windows.
    Not free, but very easy to work with and lasts years and years.
  3. 3forfree

    3forfree Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2010
    essexville, michigan
    Don't forget pallets for building material. They're free too.
  4. Hawkeye95

    Hawkeye95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I used the wire grate off my old BBQ grill for the top of my brooder. For my mini coop that I built out of old lumber-- I used a flat picture-frame for a flip out "glass window" for light and ventilation. Just have to be sure to seal and paint it and caulk it.
  5. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 25, 2008
    Great thrifty ideas!

    Anyone else have more to share for chicken coops on the cheap?? Or unusual but very helpful coop materials??
  6. coberdor

    coberdor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2008
    Norton, Ohio
    I get all my roofing materials from old truck bedliners. You can find many of them on craigslist. They cut up really easy with a demolition saw. They are UV protected since they are in the back of pickup trucks. You can use the sides for the bottom of nest boxes and awnings over windows.

    I also contace line-X spray on liners for trucks near my house. I call every other week and have picked up some 6 of them to cut up and use. I covered a whole pen with these, pluse made some small coops and tractors.
  7. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 25, 2008
    OK--We've GOT to see pictures of these!!! :fl :pop
  8. wilbilt

    wilbilt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 20, 2012
    Nor Cal
    Old C-band satellite dishes are generally 10'-12' in diameter and can be used as a roof over a circular structure. Some are solid (usually fiberglass) and others are made with aluminum ribs and expanded mesh, which provides a "shade cloth" effect in filtering sunlight.

    A solid dish could be used as a roof for a coop and a mesh dish could cover a run while providing ventilation and protection from predators. I built a "greenhouse" using a mesh dish mounted on poles. I wrapped plastic sheeting around the poles and tacked it on. The mesh top kept it from getting too hot inside while the plastic shielded young plants from the cold and wind. The sun eventually destroyed the plastic and I am now considering covering it in wire and using it to expand my run as it is right next to my coop.

    There used to be a lot of these dishes free for the asking as people were switching from the "big dish" systems to the smaller units as used by Dish Net and DirecTV.

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