Choosing the Right Fencing for Your Poultry

by Lauren R

Published May 7, 2024

It’s springtime and we’re all building or making improvements to our coops and homesteads. Today, let’s talk about something absolutely crucial for the safety and well-being of our flocks: fencing. As any seasoned chicken keeper knows, the right fencing can mean the difference between peaceful clucks and disaster.

So, let’s explore some of the most common fencing options for your chicken coop:

Poultry Netting/Chicken Wire:

The classic hexagonal poultry netting. It’s like the vanilla ice cream of fencing – simple, ubiquitous, but not exactly thrilling. While it’s great for keeping chickens contained within a designated area (or out of your garden), it’s about as effective at repelling predators as a cardboard castle. Sure, it’s inexpensive and comes in galvanized steel or plastic, but unless your neighborhood predators are more interested in egg salad sandwiches than fresh chicken dinners, you might want to look elsewhere for predator protection.

Poultry Netting, Chicken Wire, Poultry Mesh Fencing for chickens
Chain Link Fence Poultry fencing Meyer Hatchery

Chain Link Fencing:

Now we’re talking. Chain link fencing provides a sturdy base structure, but let’s not get too comfortable just yet. While it can keep your chickens from staging a coop break, it still needs a little reinforcement to fend off crafty critters like raccoons and weasels. Think of it as the first line of defense in your coop’s security detail, but you would need to add another layer of protection to truly keep your flock safe.

Field Fencing with chickens behind it Green Queens from meyer hatchery
Field Fencing Splash Orpington DIY Pallet Chicken coop chicken fencing with Meyer Hatchery

Field Fencing:

For those with larger flocks or sprawling coops, field fencing might be worth considering for a large run. It’s tall, it’s sturdy, but let’s be real – it’s not exactly predator-proof. Field fencing usually comes in rolls and is relatively straightforward to install. Think of it as more of a gentle suggestion to would-be intruders rather than an impenetrable barrier. I have had foxes make their way through field fencing and coyotes will climb right over. In combination with other predator protection or hardware cloth, it could still solve your fencing needs, though. It can also work well if you don’t have many issues with daytime predators and have your birds closed in the coop at night.

Cattle Panels or Hog Panels:

Now we’re getting into serious territory. These bad boys are strong, durable, and ready to wrangle whatever comes their way. Whether you’re corralling cattle or containing chickens, these panels can take a beating. Many poultry owners use them in run setups or in hoop coops. Just remember to line them with some trusty hardware cloth for added security because the gaps here will still let in predators and small chickens can also escape. 

Hog Panel Chicken and Poultry Fencing Meyer Hatchery
Hardware cloth on a poultry brooder meyer hatchery

Hardware Cloth:

If you’re serious about protecting your flock, hardware cloth is your best friend. With options ranging from 1″ to 1/8″ gaps, when used correctly this stuff is like Fort Knox for chickens. Sure, it might cost a bit more upfront, especially for the smaller gaps, but the peace of mind it provides is priceless and it’s durable enough to not need replacing. Hardware cloth is a great option to use to reinforce other options, too, you can use it along the bottom of other fencing and even bury it into the ground. The 1” gaps can still let sneaky critters in, so I definitely recommend going with the ¼” or ⅛” gaps. Just remember, quality and proper installation are still key – no chicken wants to deal with a flimsy fence.

At the end of the day, choosing the right fencing for your chicken coop is all about balance. You want something sturdy enough to keep predators at bay, but flexible enough to fit your budget and needs. So, take your time, do your research, maybe get creative, and remember – a happy chicken is a well-fenced chicken.

Let us know your favorite fencing option in the comments!

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