Chicken Wire For Coops: Buyer’s Guide

Chicken Wire For Coops: Buyer’s Guide

Anyone who handles pet chickens knows how important chicken wire (also known as poultry wire), mesh, and netting are to keeping your flock well managed and cared for.


While we love our hens and think of them as part of the family, the truth is the rest of the animal kingdom views our fluffy butts as an easy meal or a toy to be played with.


It’s important to protect your chickens from predators – and that’s where a solid run built out of chicken wire comes in.


If you’re just starting out with backyard chickens or are building a new coop, this article is your guide to choosing the best poultry wire possible for your flock.


If you’re building a coop, chicken tractor, or run, then this is the best ¼ inch chicken wire we recommend:


What is chicken wire used for?

Chicken wire is a mesh made of of wire strands, and it’s used to keep hens inside their run. Without it, you might find chicken poop on your porch constantly, or a constant influx of predators trying to make a meal out of your pets. Chicken wire is made of thin, flexible, galvanized steel wire with hexagonal gaps. It’s relatively cheap and easy to work with, which makes it so attractive for coops. Sometimes it’s coated in plastic.


How much does a chicken wire fence cost?

The price for different types varies depending on the brand and the desired wire sizes. Cheap chicken wire is relatively easy to find, and you’ll pay roughly $.50 to $3.50 per foot, depending on how small the hexagonal holes are. Big box stores like Home Depot or Tractor Supply have 50 feet of ½ inch chicken wire on sale for less than $30. This is a small price to pay to ensure your fluffy butts are tucked in safely at night!


Basically, when it comes to chicken wire, you’ll pay for how tight the weave is (whether there’s ¼-inch holes or 2 inch holes) and the length. The longer the roll, the more it’ll cost.


You might be looking at all your choices and wondering “How much is chicken wire that’ll do the job right” – there are lots of options after all.


Most flock owners will want to go with chicken wire that has ½ inch holes – this is small enough that it’ll be tough for most predators to get through. It’ll also be stronger, and less likely to be bent out of shape.


Where can I buy chicken wire?

There are many places where you can buy chicken wire for sale, like your local hardware or poultry store, and most especially online. With simple searches like “chicken wire Tractor Supply” or “chicken wire Lowes,” you’ll find an array to choose from for your coop.


And don’t leave out the chicken wire Ace Hardware has that has a multitude of uses for all types of poultry!


Now with chicken wire, Amazon has lots of high-quality options, and these are some of the best we found on that marketplace:


What size is chicken wire?

Chicken wire comes in several sizes. Small chicken wire is ½ inch (that’s the size of the holes) while larger options come in sizes of 1 inch or 2 inch varieties. It’s also available in various gauges –  19 gauge to 22 gauge. The larger the gauge of galvanized wire, the stronger it is. It also comes in various lengths, from 10 feet to hundreds of feet.


How do you set up chicken wire?

Setting up chicken wire is fairly simple and all you need is a little bit of help and these tools to get the job done:

  • Wire cutters
  • Stapler
  • Tape measure

If you search online you’ll find many informative videos showing you how to set-up and install chicken wire. Most videos show you the entire roll of wire being straightened out; if you have a large area that’s a great idea, but what if you don’t need that much?

Simply unroll the wire to just beyond the desired length, hold the loose end down with something heavy so it doesn’t curl back up. At your chosen length, use your wire cutters to cut a piece about 2 inches longer than needed.

Once cut, fold in the cut edge about 1 inch at either end careful to avoid sharp edges. Then apply to the top of your frame and staple all along the top ensuring the wire is straight and firmly in place. Now do the same for the bottom edge pulling the wire taut. Once you have top and bottom done do the same for both sides while remembering to always pull the wire taut.

You will want to use an industrial stapler – not the same type of staples you use for paper. The stronger and thicker the staple, the less likely a predator can rip it down.

At the corners, you’ll want to trim the wire instead of turning the corner – this ensures the chicken wire won’t buckle and lay weirdly.


How do you nail down chicken wire?

If you don’t want to use staples, you can use nails to secure your chicken wire. Simply nail a 1×2 piece of lumber over the top of the chicken wire panel. Then fasten it to the post with galvanized nails or wood screws of the appropriate size.


Note that this is more difficult and less secure than stapling the wire.


You can also simply bend nails over the chicken wire to secure it. Hammer the nails into the wood part way, then hammer them so they’re bent and securely keeping the wire in place. Just know that this looks ugly and is more labor intensive than simply stapling the poultry mesh into place.


How do you keep chicken wire in the ground?

To keep your chicken wire firmly in the ground, simply place a few heavy rocks on the wire at the bottom of the trench and toss soil back into the hole. While not strictly necessary when building a coop, it’s a good idea to bury chicken wire in the ground to keep out predators. You can either bury it perpendicular to the ground or horizontally.


How far apart should fence posts be for chicken wire?

It’s best to space poles for fencing no more than 8 feet apart.


Does galvanized chicken wire rust?

Not typically. Galvanized chicken wire is usually rust and corrode resistant, especially if it’s been coated in plastic. You’ll find that your coop run will stay shiny and fresh looking for years!


What staples for chicken wire are best?

Poultry staples (not the kind made for staple guns) are best to secure your galvanized hardware cloth.


Is chicken wire predator proof? Can predators get through chicken wire?

It depends on the predator and the size of the holes. It also depends how securely the wire was attached to the wood run. If installed correctly, chicken wire should keep out most predators, even very aggressive ones like coyotes. It’s important to remember to always bury chicken wire to keep out predators that dig (like dogs and foxes). However, if it’s not been properly installed and a hungry bear wants to get to your flock, you’re likely out of luck. Predator attacks are one of the top reasons chickens stop laying eggs, or lay abnormal eggs.


Can raccoons get through chicken wire?

If it’s not securely attached, raccoons will try to pry it off or bend it enough so that they can squeeze through. They’re also great at sticking their fingers through chicken wire. In some cases, you might find raccoons can rip it apart. If this happens, then it’s better to go with hardware cloth, which is tougher and comes with ¼ in holes.


Can a fox chew and climb through chicken wire?

A nimble predator like the fox can scramble over a 6ft fence, jump up to 3ft, and dig under it. If foxes are an issue in your area, consider using hardware cloth instead.


Can skunks chew through chicken wire?

Just like foxes and raccoons, skunks can chew through chicken wire. Be sure to bury the fences at least 6 inches in the ground to avoid this. If you find skunks keep getting into your coop, then switch to hardware cloth fencing. Another thing to consider is choosing a chicken feeder and waterer that’s inaccessible to raccoons and skunks. 


When was chicken wire invented?

The chicken wire was invented in 1844 British ironmonger Charles Barnard, son of a farmer, Barnard wanted to help his father by finding a way to keep wayward chickens from fleeing the coop. He based his design on cloth weaving machines and soon established his firm Bishop & Barnard.


What is stronger than chicken wire?

The hardware cloth is considerably stronger than chicken wire because it is a wire mesh that consists of either woven or welded wires in a square or rectangular grid. It’s available in galvanized, stainless steel and bare steel. It is manufactured from a stronger gauge metal than chicken wire.

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Those Sneaky Chicks! Confessions From The Coop (TM)

Those Sneaky Chicks! Confessions From The Coop (TM)

Well, it finally happened.


We finally had a chillier than normal (read: in the 60s F), which tells me that soon, the dang mosquitoes will go back in hiding for another 6 months.


I started putting the finishing touches on the duckling coop (they’re WAY happier to be out of that tractor and near a big pool of water for splashing), and in the video, all you see is Larry and I swatting at mosquitoes, LOL!


The video of what we have so far is almost complete – hopefully, it gives you some inspiration. The building, that is – not the mosquito swatting.


We’ve completed most of the repairs on the main run and the duckling run – which means roofs are next!


The duckling run has a high fence, and the wire extends about 1 foot into the floor of the pen to deter predators, so I don’t need to worry about a full roof for them – just a secure shelter where they can sleep and stay safe.


Up next is the shelter – for now, they’ll come into the coop at night, but very soon (meaning, after I buy some 2x4s, lol) there will be a run in for them.


When they’re full grown, we can easily expand the run to accommodate them.


I’m dying to see what their final feathers will look like – the tail feathers are just starting to peek through. I think we might have a couple that feather out black.


Won’t that be fun?


The chicken run definitely needs a roof. The fence is 8 feet high, but the hens can fly 8 feet. And get mauled by roosters, dogs, or whatever critter is passing by.


So, I’ll be getting some simple trusses, then adding chicken wire on the top. Part of it will be open to the sun and part will have a solid roof so they can get out of the rain and sun.


Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it?


I’m pretty sure we have predators still running around – I think my next product review will be those predator lights.


Speaking of predators, for 2 days, one of my chicks went missing.


They’re in the coop full time because they’re too big for any of the tractors and too small to free range while we redo the run (yes, for the 3rd time – Dahlia the goat got loose and rubbed against the wire, pretty much tearing it to shreds).


I looked and looked – and by looked, I mean I searched every nook and cranny of that coop. Then I realized the wire we have over one of the doors is loose.


I figured a skunk got him, but the next day I looked again, and he was STILL missing. So, I gave him up for lost.


Then yesterday evening, he reappeared in the coop – there’s no way he left then returned, because that loose wire was easy for a skunk to wiggle in and out of, but not so obvious for a chick to wiggle out and then BACK IN to the coop.


So, I have no idea where this chick was hiding, but clearly, he is far cleverer than I am!


backyard chicken


That’s it for this week! Hope you enjoyed these photos!


What Chicken Wire Is Best For A Coop?

What Chicken Wire Is Best For A Coop?

Deciding what chicken wire you’ll put on your coop is a pretty important part of backyard chicken ownership.

While we see our fluffy butts as cute feathered pets, the sad truth is the rest of the animal kingdom sees your chickens as dinner. So, we have to take steps to protect our hens, and that means choosing chicken wire that’ll keep predators OUT and your flock IN. There are lots of different types of chicken wire, and in this article, we’ll discuss:

  • ½ inch & 1 inch chicken wire
  • ½ inch hardware cloth for backyard chickens
  • ¼ inch hardware cloth
  • Screens

And the advantages and disadvantages of each. We’ll also talk about poultry netting versus wire, and plastic versus metal and coated metal. The type of chicken wire you’ll use on your coop depends on a few factors, including:

  • Your budget
  • Predators in your area
  • The age of your chickens
  • Aesthetics (yes, this is important!)

So, get ready for an in depth look at each type of chicken wire out there!

What length and width chicken wire should you buy?

The answer to this question will vary from situation to situation. We discuss specific hole sizes below, but it’s also important to consider the length and width of the chicken wire you buy.

For example, we’re redoing the fencing on my coop right now. The posts are 4 feet away from each other. We’ve purchased 1-inch chicken wire that’s 48” wide and 150’ long to ensure we have enough to make panels for the entire run. If your fence posts are closer together,  or wider apart, then you’ll have to consider that spacing before deciding on which chicken wire will work for your coop.

While we usually install fencing horizontally, in the case of chicken wire and chicken coops, it’s best to install the wire itself vertically. You want your chicken run to be tall enough to keep your flock in, and you don’t want any gaps between the wire that predators can get through. When installed horizontally, a 48” tall fence will require a second layer so the fence is tall enough. Avoid this scenario!

Chicken wire ½ inch – 1 inch

When you think of chicken wire, you probably think of the wire fencing with hexagonal openings. This is traditional chicken wire, and it has advantages and disadvantages.

What Chicken Wire Is Best For A Coop

While it comes in various sizes, for chickens, the ½ inch or 1 inch variety are best. Chickens, especially young ones or smaller bantam varieties, such as Cochins, silkies, ameraucana bantams, or brahma chicks, might be able to fit through larger holes, or predators might be able to get through. Also, pests such as rats might fit through larger holes. Half and one inch chicken wire is easy to cut (an important consideration) and install – you can use staples or screws with washers to attach it to fence posts.

However, you should remember that this type of chicken wire is thin and easily pulled apart by predators. In our area, we don’t have a lot of carnivores trying to kill our hens, so it works well for us. But for readers who live near bears, or have very aggressive neighborhood dogs, or who have wily raccoons, this type of wire can lead to some sad situations.

Another consideration, especially if you have chicks, is they can become tangled in chicken wire, and get a wing caught. I’ve dealt with this situation a few times – we’ve had to unwind the chick from the wire to set it free. Don’t ask me how they manage to get stuck – chickens be chickens!

But yes, this can happen – so it’s something to think about. That being said, this type of chicken wire is relatively inexpensive, and is easily found in longer rolls at big box stores.

Hardware cloth ½ & ¼ inch

Hardware cloth is usually what experienced backyard chicken owners use when building their coops. It’s very sturdy and, when installed correctly, is harder for predators and neighborhood dogs to rip through. It also doesn’t stretch out of shape like chicken wire, so predators can’t maneuver through it as easily.

You can buy hardware cloth with larger openings, but typically, the half and ¼ inch sizes are best. These sizes are impossible for backyard chickens to fit through – so they’ll remain in your coop – and most predators can’t fit their fingers/paws through the holes.

Raccoons in particular like reaching through chicken wire to grab a free meal. Hardware cloth makes it harder for them to grab a pullet’s leg and rip her apart. It’s also harder for predators to get a grip on the wire and rip it off.

Hardware cloth also looks better aesthetically than the other options on this list, although it can be pretty expensive, especially if you need wider pieces or you have a large run for your backyard chickens.

What Chicken Wire Is Best For A Coop

Metal – Coated vs. Uncoated

You might notice that chicken wire comes in 2 different varieties (other than size) – coated and uncoated. Coated chicken wire just contains an extra layer of plastic on the outside. It’s typically green, but I’ve seen it in other colors as well.

While coated chicken wire certainly isn’t necessary, it can look better and, if your chicks get stuck between holes, it can make it easier to free them and less painful for the chicken.

It’s also a little easier to install because you won’t have to grab thin wire for the entire installation. It tends to be a bit more expensive, so your budget will dictate whether coated or uncoated chicken wire is for you.


Another unconventional option are screens – yep, the same screens you probably have on the windows in your house. This is a great option if BUGS are a big issue in your area. Nothing is worse than a fly or gnat infestation – and they CAN harm your flock! Screens are typically made of wire, and they’re pretty easy to install, although fixing them (should they get torn) is a bit of a pain in the butt.

If your chickens are active and like to bicker, or if you have other pets such as cats, you might find screens don’t last very long and you’ll be replacing them pretty frequently. They also won’t stand up to most predators – so if your neighbors dogs like to make a meal out of your flock, then screens are best avoided. They also tend to be a bit expensive, so it’s important to compare the costs to the other chicken wire options in this article.

Poultry netting

Another option available is poultry netting, which is plastic fencing that looks like hardware cloth, but is made of plastic. This type of chicken wire is good for keeping your hens out of your garden, but provides little protection against a predator, since its easily ripped off. It can also look pretty ugly – especially if you get orange poultry netting! It’s best to stick to traditional chicken wire or hardware cloth.

Hopefully this article gives you some ideas about which chicken wire is best for a coop. There’s plenty of options, and your choice will be specific to your own situation!