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    Chicken Fencing 101

    Authored by Carol J. Alexander

    Whether you handpicked your chicks from Tractor Supply’s Chick Days or the neighbor gave you a few culled hens, you want the best protection for your flock. And nothing keeps your birds safe and healthy like proper fencing. The type of fencing you need depends on the chicken’s housing, the lay of the land, and the predators in your area. This guide will walk you through planning, choosing and building a fence for your chickens.

    Planning your chicken fence

    Before running out to buy all the things, ask yourself a few questions about your property and your birds.

    Do I want a permanent fence attached to the coop or a temporary run that I can move every few days?

    For a permanent fence, you can use heavier materials. However, a temporary run should be lightweight, with posts that come out of the ground easily.

    Will the type of fencing I’m thinking about keep my chickens in?

    Large fence openings allow chickens to get through. Even chicks can escape through some small openings.

    Will the type of fencing I’m thinking about keep predators out?

    Small animals like raccoons and possums are amazingly strong. You want electric fencing or something strong enough that predators cannot tear through.

    What can I afford to spend?

    Some fencing options will incur more upfront costs. But in the long run, they’re worth it. No matter what your budget is, there are options to choose from.

    Once you have the answers to these questions, it’s time to compare materials. Following are the best options for building a chicken run fence.

    Chicken fencing options

    Typically, property owners erect fencing to keep their chickens in. Whether a permanent or temporary run, the fence’s job is to keep the chickens in a safe area. But sometimes, chicken keepers want to free-range their birds. Without allowing them free-range of the garden or flower beds. In those instances, the job of the chicken fencing is to keep the chickens out. For either purpose, here are your options.

    Permanent chicken fencing

    The following materials are best suited to a permanent fence around a chicken yard or garden.

    Chain link

    Chain link is heavy, sturdy, and lasts a long time. No predator is going to tear through it. But the openings are large enough for chicks or weasels to squeeze through. And it’s expensive. So, unless you have some leftover from another job or have an old dog kennel that’s not being used, chain link isn’t the best option for a chicken fence.

    Welded wire

    Welded wire fencing has horizontal and vertical wires configured in a grid pattern to form small openings. The intersections of the wires are welded together. Typically, the openings are 2x4 inches. But you can get it with smaller openings. Welded wire with 1x1 inch or less is ideally suited for chicken runs. And, because it’s sturdy, it’s a formidable fence around the garden. 

    Movable chicken fencing

    The following options are best suited if you want a temporary run you plan to move around the property.

    Chicken wire

    Woven of thin wire into hexagonal shapes, chicken wire is one of the least secure options for your birds. Chicks can get through the openings, and predators can tear it with ease. However, if you want to move your hens or large meat birds around the pasture during the day when predators sleep, chicken wire is lightweight and affordable. 

    Poultry mesh

    Also called garden or animal netting, this option is made of lightweight plastic. The small grid of poultry mesh keeps hens and chicks in their run or out of the garden. It’s easy to roll up when moving from one location to another. It’s also UV protected and won’t rust or corrode. Although like chicken wire, it’s not secure against predators. 

    Electric netting

    Electric poultry netting is a mesh with conductive strands that form a grid pattern. Though thin and lightweight, the electric charge keeps predators of all shapes and sizes on the outside. And smaller openings at the bottom keep chicks on the inside. When powered with a solar charger, electric netting is safe to use in the back forty.

    How to build a chicken run

    Step-by-step instructions for building a chicken run will vary depending on whether it’s a portable enclosure or a permanent run. It’ll also depend on the type of material you use. But, no matter what kind of run you’re building, remember the following points.

    • Use materials suited for the job. You don’t want to use T-posts and welded wire for a chicken run you want to move a couple of times a week. It will be too heavy and time-consuming. Instead, choose lightweight wire or mesh and fiberglass step-in posts.
    • Always attach a skirt along the bottom of the fence. Use zip ties to secure eight to 12 inches of chicken wire or hardware cloth the entire length. Bend it into an L-shape and bury it in the ground. The skirt will prevent predators from digging under. 
    • Also, if you share your neck of the woods with birds of prey, even the strongest fence won’t keep them out. To protect your birds from overhead predators, stretch bird netting across the top of your run.

    Check out our latest fencing and gate catalog, where you’ll find all the necessary supplies for installing a secure fence for your feathered friends.


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