Chicken Fencing – Which One Should You Choose

chicken fencing

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 the outside world that is your yard. 

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 keep local predators out?

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 ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? 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 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 definitely 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. 

chicken fencing chicken wire

2. Hardware Cloth (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 familiar 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 a little better at night knowing their fencing is quite sturdy.

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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…and will probably give up easier. 

Chainlink fence is going to 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!

chainlink fencing

4. Safety 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 blaze 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 just want to move your chooks to a specific area to hunt and peck for a while, this kind of 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. In fact, I tried using this fencing once, and my hens started perching on it and eventually it sagged. 

safety fence

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 you can opt for a snazzy solar-powered source for your fence. If you go with solar power, the electric fence can easily be moved about so your flock can feast on a fresh area of grass every day. 

A word of caution: if you have chickens that are known for their flying abilities, make sure your poultry fencing is tall enough to keep your aviators inside.

chicken poultry electric fencing

6. Aviary Netting

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All this talk about predators and fencing capabilities, but no mention of those aerial predators, like hawks and owls. Surely there’s fencing to protect your flock from the top!

And, yes, it is called aviary netting. You’ve most likely seen this netting at the zoo, high above the animals. 

Aviary netting is precisely what it sounds like…it’s a fine net that protects its residents from aerial attacks, and keeps birds of flight contained. 

If you want to go all out on your run, add some aviary netting to ensure your chickens stay in, and those hungry predators stay out! Aviary netting also works very good for quail.

aviary chicken netting

Extra 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. Make sure to use sturdy framing materials, like wood, to hold your fencing tightly in place. 

And anchor your fencing with strong corner posts that are settled deep underground, so the tension of the fencing does not collapse your run. 

2. Bury Your Fencing

See above! Make sure to not only bury your corner posts, but also the fencing itself. Predators can dig under, or even squeeze, under most above-ground fencing, so to ensure you are keeping out the coyotes and foxes, bury your fence about 6 inches underground.

hole in fence

3. Maintain and Upgrade Your Fencing

Fencing should always be checked regularly for wear and tear. Determined predators can do a number on flimsy fencing, and any new openings should be repaired 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!

Most of these fencing options will work to keep your chickens safe…with some tweaking and additions. Some fences will work better than others, and some will only last one season. So, depending on your budget, your birds, and your local predators, any of the fences mentioned above should allow you to sleep at night knowing your chickens are safe. 

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