Choosing your chickens’ fencing is not to be taken lightly. It should last for a long time and protect your chickens from wandering, and the many predators in your yard are the outside world.
When you select your chicken fencing, there are a few things you should take into consideration to make sure your new fence is serving its purpose.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Will the fencing keep my chickens in?
- Will it stay local predators out?
- How long will it last, or is it temporary?
- How will the fencing incorporate into my chicken coop build?
Alright, let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used poultry fencing options:
1. Chicken Fencing – Chicken Wire
If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Chicken wire (or poultry netting) has been around for ages! And that’s because it works.
It’s made from galvanized steel and is “braided” into those all-too-familiar hexagonal gaps.
You may look at the chicken wire and think, hmm, that’s a little flimsy-looking. But the sturdiness of your fencing has a lot more to do with the frame you use rather than the fencing itself.
I like chicken wire because it’s lightweight and easy to move about if needed.
The small “openings” in good ‘ole chicken wire are too small for most chicken predators to sneak into and too small for your chooks to squeeze out of.
The price point for this classic chicken fence has been, and probably always will be, quite reasonable.
2. Hardware Cloth Chicken Fencing (Rabbit Cage Wire)
If you want to up your predator-proofing game a notch, then nix the chicken wire and go for hardware cloth–it’s just another name for your typical rabbit-type fencing.
Usually, hardware cloth is galvanized, stainless-steel, welded-wire that is a tick thicker than regular chicken wire.
Instead of the regular hexagons, hardware cloth is typically shaped as squares or rectangles.
Because hardware cloth is a tad strong, and usually you can opt for smaller holes, smaller predators will have difficulty entering your coop or grabbing through the wire and pulling out their meal.
Many chicken lovers opt for hardware cloth over the classic poultry fencing because they can sleep better at night knowing their fencing is quite sturdy.
The Best Chicken Hardware Cloth
Premium Galvanized Hardware Cloth
- The most secure netting to prevent predators attacking your chickens
- Solid and durable with a galvanized finish to prevent rust
- 1/2″ gaps to keep predators such as raccoons, snakes, and rats out
3. Chainlink Chicken Fencing
If you want something a little heftier, maybe because you have large predators in your area, consider a chainlink fence rather than chicken wire.
Bears, for example, can rip down the thin poultry netting, but when faced with a thick chainlink fence, they will have a much harder time getting into your coop. It will probably give up easier.
Chainlink fence will run you a few more bucks than traditional poultry netting because of the sturdy quality and materials used in its construction.
With that being said, if you have lots of hungry predators drooling over your chickens, it will be worth it!
4. Safety Chicken Fence
Safety fences are those flimsy fences you often see around construction sites or playgrounds. They are usually made of plastic with large holes in them.
They are often blazing orange in color, but they also come in earth tones.
Some people get away with using safety fences for their chickens, but be warned, they don’t hold up for long, and they are not effective for keeping predators out.
If you are in a pinch or want to move your chooks to a specific area to hunt and peck for a while, this fencing might make for an excellent temporary containment system.
But not much more than that.
Let’s just put it this way, if it’s plastic, don’t expect it to protect your chooks or keep them in. I tried using this fencing once, and my hens started perching on it, and eventually, it sagged.
5. Electric Poultry Fencing
I’m a huge fan of electric fencing. Usually, it’s inexpensive and reliable. Most critters only need to get zapped once to know not to try it again.
We use electric fencing for our steers, and when we want to move them to fresh pasture, it takes a lot of coaxing to reassure them the fence has been moved.
With chickens, however, electric fencing serves one primary purpose, and that is to keep predators out of your chicken run.
Yes, your chickens will get zapped if they touch the fencing, and it will teach them to stay away, but more importantly, it keeps the meanies out.
You can purchase electric poultry fencing that plugs into an outlet or opt for a flashy solar-powered source for your fence.
If you go with solar power, you can quickly move about the electric fence so your flock can feast on a fresh area of grass every day.
A word of caution: if you have chickens known for their flying abilities, make sure your poultry fencing is tall enough to keep your aviators inside.
6. Aviary Netting
The Best Plastic Chicken Netting
YARDGARD – Plastic Poultry Netting
- Extremely lightweight, making it easy to cut and fit in place
- Made with plastic making it durable and long-lasting
- It is available in either black or green
All this talks about predators and fencing capabilities, but no mention of those aerial predators, like hawks and owls.
Indeed there’s fencing to protect your flock from the top!
And, yes, it is called aviary netting. You’ve most likely seen this netting high above the animals at the zoo.
Aviary netting is precisely what it sounds like.
It’s a fine net that protects its residents from aerial attacks and keeps birds of the flight contained.
If you want to go all out on your run, add aviary netting to ensure your chickens stay in, and those hungry predators stay out! Aviary netting also works very well for quail.
Extra Chicken Fencing Considerations
Now that you’ve got the scoop on some of the most common types of poultry fencing, there are a few extra pointers I want to give you:
1. Frame Your Fencing
As I hinted before, your actual fencing material is only as good as the frame you use to construct your coop.
Use sturdy framing materials like wood to hold your fencing tightly.
And anchor your fencing with strong corner posts that are deep underground, so the tension of the fencing does not collapse your run.
2. Bury Your Fencing
See above! Make sure not only to bury your corner posts, but also the fencing itself.
Predators can dig under or squeeze under most above-ground fencing, so to ensure you are keeping out the coyotes and foxes, bury your fence about 6 inches underground.
3. Maintain and Upgrade Your Fencing
You should always check fencing regularly for wear and tear. Determined predators can do a number on flimsy fencing, and you should repair any new openings immediately.
If you can’t afford some of the higher-quality fencing mentioned here, start with what you can afford, and upgrade as time goes on.
Hey, maybe you can start saving by selling some of your fresh eggs!
With some tweaking and additions, most of these fencing options will work to keep your chickens safe.
Some fences will work better than others, and some will only last one season.
So, depending on your budget, birds, and local predators, any of the fences mentioned above should allow you to sleep at night knowing your chickens are safe.
|Premium Galvanized Hardware Cloth||Galvanized Steel||
|YARDGARD – Premium Chicken Wire||Zinc-Coated Steel||
|YARDGARD – Plastic Poultry Netting||Plastic Mesh||
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