Choosing the right type of chicken fencing can be a matter of life and death for your chickens. The type of chicken fence selected should be able to serve the purpose of protecting your chicken, while at the same time controlling their movements.
Sometimes a combination of different chicken fencing materials is used, taking advantage of the pros in each of the materials.
The aim of this article is to help you choose the right kind of fencing not only for chicken runs but also for chicken coops, tractors, and gardens. You do not want chickens destroying your vegetable in one day.
There are various options available for chicken fencing. The most common are poultry netting(chicken wire), hardware cloth, chain link, safety fence, electric poultry fence, and bird netting. All these chicken fencings come with different strengths with pros and cons.
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Poultry netting is also known as chicken wire netting or chicken wire mesh is one of the most popular chicken fencings.
Easily bendable, poultry netting is made of thin galvanized steel or stainless steel wires. Chicken wire contains diagonal holes, making a mesh. It is sold in rolls. It comes in different gauges and different sizes of holes.
Originally meant to fence in chicken has been used for other purposes such as fencing gardens. This is to prevent small animals such as rabbits, chickens, cats, rats, and rodents from destroying plants.
Chicken wire can also be used to create cages around small plants so as to protect them from being eaten by animals.
Though very popular chicken wire by itself is not great at keeping predators away. A raccoon, fox, or dog can tear through it easily. This is why most designs make use of a combination of chicken wire and other materials to make chicken coops and chicken runs predator-proof.
Poultry Netting Sizes
When buying chicken wire, you look at the size, which includes the width, length, gauge, and mesh size. An example will be 5 ft. (width) x 150 ft. (length) 20-Gauge Poultry Netting with 2 in. Mesh size
Let us look at the width, length, gauge and mesh size in detail
Poultry Netting Gauges
Poultry netting comes with different gauges. Gauges are the thickness of the wire. The gauges renege from 19 to 22, with 19 being 1mm thick galvanized wire and 22 is 0.7mm thick wires.
Poultry Netting mesh size
Poultry netting is available in different sizes. Chicken wire mesh size refers to the diameter of the diagonal holes. The biggest is 2 inches (5 cm), followed by 1 inch (2.5cm) and lastly ½ inch(1.3 cm).
Poultry Netting Length
Poultry netting comes in rolls of varying lengths. You can measure the area you need to fence before purchasing. This will save you the hustle of having to join the wires. The most common lengths are 25 feet, 50 feet, 100 feet, and 150 feet.
Poultry Netting Width
The width of poultry netting also referred to as the height of poultry netting is the vertical length of the roll. The most common sizes are 2 ft., 3 ft., 4 ft., 5 ft. and 6 ft.
Hardware Cloth (Rabbit Cage Wire)
A hardware cloth is a study mesh wire, of between 19 gauge to 23 gauge, with square or rectangular spaces of ¼ inch to ½ inch. In some instances, some manufacturers make hardware cloth with larger mesh up to 4 inches.
Made of stronger wires than chicken wire, hardware cloth is used to fence chicken coop and rabbit cages in order to keep predators out.
Hardware cloth is sold in rolls online and in stores. It is made of galvanized, stainless steel, or welded wire.
Due to the process of galvanization, the squares of galvanized hardware cloth might not be shaped evenly. This might be a concern, especially if you are looking at aesthetics. However, this does not make the galvanized hardware cloth inferior to the other types of hardware cloth when it comes to protecting your chickens from hungry predators.
The best hardware cloth for chicken coops and chicken runs is the ones with small spacing and smaller gauge. Typically this would be ¼ inch 19 gauge hardware cloth. Remember when it comes to gauges, the strongest wire is the one with the smallest gauge.
A point of note is that it is advisable to dig in the hardware cloth at a depth of 12 inches to 18 inches so as to deter predators like raccoons and foxes. These predators dig around the chicken coop or run so as to find their way in.
Chain Link Fencing.
Made of twisted interlocking wires woven into diamond shaped mesh, chain link fencing has been used overtime for various purposes, including fencing in chickens. The wires of chain link fencing are coated with PVC or galvanized so as to increase durability.
Chain Link fencing is sold in rolls or panels. The panels can be joined together to form a fence of any size.
A point of note is that when using chain link fencing, you will need to cover the bottom part with hardware cloth, so as to deter predators from reaching in and grabbing your chicken. This will also deter small chicks from getting out of the enclosure through the chain link mesh. Digging in the fence a few inches below ground will help deter predators that dig in.
I have covered my chain link fencing with hardware cloth all through, in order to prevent small predators like rats and snakes from getting into the chicken coop.