What’s the Best Kind of Chicken Wire Fencing?


Organizing and constructing your chicken coop can be one of the most stressful projects at your home. But it’s one of the most crucial first steps to ensuring your chickens’ livelihood. The fencing that your chicken coop has is important because it’s responsible for not only keeping your chickens and other birds inside of the fence, but it also helps to keep foxes and other predators out throughout the day and at nighttime. Even more, it even helps to keep pests out from trying to consume your chicken feed, like rats, mice and other animals.

Given the responsibilities of chicken wire fencing, it’s vital that you have one able to effectively get the job done. There are different kinds of chicken wire fencing on the market that you have to choose from, so it’s important that you do your research and install the best one for your particular circumstances. This guide will help you to figure out what the best kind of chicken wire fencing is for you by discussing the characteristics of two main types: chicken wire and hardware cloth fencing.

chicken wire fencing

by Jennifer Behm – Chicken farmer| Last Updated 09/09/2020

What You’ll Need to Follow This Tutorial

  • Chicken coop or free-range area
  • Measuring tape
  • Wooden fence posts or a frame
  • Snips
  • Galvanized staples
  • Pneumatic staple gun

Wire mesh vs Hardware cloth – instructions

Step 1: Become Familiar with the Different Types of Chicken Wire Fencing

chicken wire mesh

Before you do anything else, you should first familiarize yourself with the different types of chicken wire fencing that are available to you on the market. Each of the fencing types delivers various effects, so you’ll want to think about all of your options before deciding on just one.

Perhaps the most common type of fencing for chickens is the chicken wire. It’s produced with a thin wire material that has been woven together, and it resembles hexagon shapes in between the wires. It tends to be cheaper than other types of fencing, since it’s thinner and easier for production companies to produce. On the downside, chicken wire fencing doesn’t have any extra coating to protect against rusting from occurring over time.

Even though it tends to rust more easily, it’s still useful for many different purposes. Many people use it if they have a daytime yard for chickens that can be easily monitored from inside your house. It’s also suitable for separating chickens that are already enclosed within a coop, since chickens tend to not try and break through the wire fencing. It’s also used by many to provide underground protection to keep predators from digging under the coop to get the chickens (1).

chicken coop wire

Other than chicken wire fence, you also have the ability to use hardware cloth, or chicken wire mesh. Chicken wire mesh can either be made from a plastic or a steel material. Plastic hardware cloth is produced by melting plastic wires together and cooling them into the structure of a mesh fence. It’s not as durable as steel wire, but it’s definitely cheaper and can provide sufficient support for keeping chickens within enclosed areas similarly to chicken wire fence. Plastic hardware cloth is also great for providing protection for your chicken run from above, preventing hawks and other large predators from swooping down to attack your chickens.

Perhaps the most durable and the best wire for chicken run is galvanized hardware cloth. Galvanized hardware cloth is essentially steel wire that’s been add rust-proof by hot-dipping it into zinc. Not only is it more durable in its rust-proof qualities, but it’s also stiffer and not as easy to bend as wire fence. That being said, the chances of predators tearing through the fence are slim to none, so it’s the best wire for chicken run (1).

galvanized vs chicken wire fencing

Step 2: Consider What You Need Chicken Wire Fencing For

hardware cloth

After you’ve become more familiar with your fencing option, you’ll want to think about why you need chicken wire fencing to begin with. What will you be using it for? Given its versatile construction, it can virtually be used for anything on a farm or around your house. Many people often use fencing for enclosing chickens in a run or in a coop.

But you can also use it for underground protection around the chicken coop, or you can use it for separating certain chickens from others. It’s also great if you’re trying to structure an already-enclosed chicken coop into different parts. You can more easily decide what type of fencing will be the best for you if you think about what exactly you plan on using the fencing for, as some fencing is more suited for different uses.

Step 3: Measure The Coop Or Free-Range Area

measure in between fence posts for chicken coop

Once you’ve decided what you need chicken wire fencing for, it’s important that you start measuring the spaces that you’ll be using the fence. If you’re planning on using the fence to go around the entire enclosed chicken coop, then you’ll want to measure the entire perimeter that you plan on installing it. You can more easily do this by placing posts to help frame out the picture of where exactly you want the fence to be placed.

If you’re planning on using the chicken wire fencing for underground protection, then you’ll want to measure the area of the bottom of the coop where the fence will ultimately be placed. If you want to install the fencing throughout the yard or inside the coop to separate some chicken from each other, you’ll want to place posts at the corners of where you want to install the fence and then measure between those posts. Lastly, if you want the fencing inside of the coop to structure it into separate rooms for egg-laying practices, then you’ll want to measure in between the walls and figure out the spacing of where the fencing will work the best.

Measuring the exact area of where you plan to put the fencing can help you to figure out how much fencing you’ll need and whether you’ll be able to choose one type of fencing over the other based on financial factors.

Step 4: Consider the Number of Chickens You Have and Their Size

different sized chickens

It may be sufficient for you to think about how many chickens you’re trying to enclose as well as their size and how old they are. If you only have a small number of chickens and want to keep them inside a barrier, then you can get away with using a less sturdy type of chicken wire fencing, since they will likely remain within the fence and calmly interact with each other.

On the other hand, if you have a larger number of chickens in one area, then you may want to think about using a more durable and protective type of chicken wire fencing. With many chickens in one space at one time, there’s a higher likelihood that all of them will follow one if it starts running around. And when you have multiple chickens running around at the same time, there’s always a risk that they will run through the fencing or get hurt on the fencing.

Even more, if you have a larger number of chickens in one area, there’s a greater chance of predators trying to get in through the fence just to get one. Since there are many chickens, the predators think that they have a greater chance of successfully getting one of them. With a sturdier and more durable fence around your chickens, you don’t have to worry about any predators getting into the coop.

Step 5: Examine the Area

flat land for chicken run installation

Before you choose a certain type of fence and then install it, you’ll want to examine the area that you plan on putting the fence. Think about the way in which the land in the area is structured and what types of predators/pests you have to deal with. Also, think about the type of weather in the area.

If the land has more bumps, hills or is produced with a grainy soil, then you may want to install a more durable king of chicken wire fencing. You’ll be able to provide more protection from predators jumping over the fence and using the bumps to their advantage. Also, trying to install thin wire fencing may be easier in bumpy areas, but the fencing may not be able to withstand the risk of predators pushing the fence over in the grainy soil.

If you live in an area that has a larger amount of sun, then you can get away with installing a wire fence that’s thinner and easier to assemble. But if you live in a location that has a larger amount of rain, then you’ll want a galvanized hardware cloth fencing or some other fence that offers rust-proof protection. Other than that, you may want to consider installing a roof over the chicken coop.

As for the predators and pests, if you live in an area that’s known to have a larger amount of raccoons, foxes or wolves, then you should purchase a steel or galvanized steel fence to provide more protection. But if you’re located more in the city regions where there’s not much wildlife, then a thinner chicken wire fence may be more suitable for you (2).

Step 6: Purchase, Measure and Cut Your Fence

After you’ve considered all factors and have chosen the fence material that you want, you’ll want to then purchase the right amount of that fence to then install in your yard. You can typically purchase most fencing material by the roll, and each roll varies in its length and width. Fencing rolls range in size anywhere from three to six feet wide by anywhere from five to 100 feet long.

You’ve already installed the fence posts in when you measured the area previously, so all you have to do now is cut the fencing material into these measurements that you’ve already made. It’s easiest to measure and cut the fence material in a different area so that you don’t confuse certain parts for others. But you’ll want to measure and cut all of your pieces before installing any of them. Try to remain organized throughout this process (2).

Step 7: Shape and Attach the Fence

Once you’ve measured and cut all of your fencing material, you’ll then want to shape the material and then attach it to the fencing posts. Whether you’ve purchased chicken wire fencing or hardware cloth, you should be able to bend it and make it keep the same shape. To attach chicken wire to the wood fence posts, you’re most recommended to use staples and a staple gun. But you should make sure the staples are galvanized to prevent them rusting and falling out. And you’ll also want to use a pneumatic stable gun (3).

Pro Tips

  • 1. If you’re using galvanized hardware cloth, attach the fencing to the wooden fence posts using galvanized staples and a pneumatic staple gun.
  • 2. When attaching the fence to the post, staple the top portion of the fence wire first and then work your way down the wire.
  • 3. If you’re using fencing for underground protection, extend the wire at least 3ft beyond the coop’s perimeter to ensure full protection.


Overall, choosing and installing the right kind of chicken wire fencing can be a difficult and confusing process. But when you have the right guidance, it’s well-worth the extra effort to ensuring your chickens have the protection that they need. It’s important that you have the right kind of fencing for your chickens to keep them successfully enclosed within the area and safe from predators and pests. I hope you liked this tutorial, and you’re encouraged to share it if you found it helpful.

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