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Fencing for Chickens: How to Pick the Right Fences


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Owning a farm is actually a lot harder than it seems simply because there are so many aspects to it that most people don’t even realize until it’s too late.

You feel like you’ve done everything right up until you eventually garner enough experience for you to realize the fact that you could have saved so much money and made your life so much easier from the get go.

Luckily however, considering how much information there is online, you can end up avoiding making these mistakes for yourself by simply following in on the footsteps of everyone else, which is what we’re here to help you with.

Since we’ve been in the industry for such a long time now, we’ve actually managed to experience everything there is to go through as far as farming goes, and we’re more than ready to help share the knowledge around with you.

chicken fencing
Italo Melo / pexels.com

With that being said, for today’s guide we have decided to focus solely on one of the key aspects of farming that is not talked about enough, and that is chicken fencing.

Most people usually end up skipping over this part simply because they feel like it’s basic stuff that they can just gloss over and do automatically when the time comes for it, but again, as is the case with most farming related stuff, it’s not that simple.

After all, chicken fencing can really save your produce, and if you’re not careful you can even end up losing everything you’ve been working for in a matter of minutes, all because you couldn’t be bothered to invest a little more time and effort into picking the right fencing for your chickens.

But alas, since you’re here, chances are that you know just how important fencing is for your chicken and you want to learn everything there is to it. If so, you’ve come to the right place, so let’s start this guide off properly with the first aspect we’d like to discuss over here:

Why Do You Need a Fence for Your Chicken?

chicken coop fence
The Brewers / unsplash.com

Let’s just get this out of the way, essentially, the main reason that you’ll ever want to put money into a fence for your chicken is because you’ll want to protect them against any other predators while also keeping them in an enclosed space so that they don’t run off and get lost.

Because this is the main reason as to why you’ll want to spend money on a fence, you need to remember that the aesthetics part of it should always come second.

What we mean by this is that a lot of people choose pretty fences over practical ones, and we honestly don’t support that in the slightest. As long as the fence is doing its job right you can go for a prettier or more aesthetic looking fence but you should never prioritize that over its practicality.

Why Do You Need a Fence for Your Chicken
Jan Kraus / unsplash.com

So, what you need to look into first and foremost will always be the construction of the fence. We always recommend going for a solid material that can be easily installed. We also recommend hiring someone to install it for you, just so that you can get it done perfectly.

When it comes to the pricing of it all you should already know by now that it all varies from model to model. In order to get everyone on board however we will try to simplify everything by saying that some of these products are expensive while others are quite affordable.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s instead focus on the real meat of the problem, aka the different aspects of each fence that you can go into when getting a fence for your chicken:

Hardware Cloth or Not?

Hardware Cloth chicken fence
Amagabeli Hardware Cloth Fence

If you’ve just gotten into the chicken farming industry then chances are you’ve heard all of the big shots on the field talk about this little-known secret that goes by hardware cloth.

Most of the people that own a fence made up of hardware cloth will tell you that it’s worth every single penny that they spent on it, and they’ll also talk all day and night about how great of an addition to their security it has become.

But what they don’t tell you is the fact that it works like a charm, but that it also costs you the equivalent of a sports car.

While that may very well be an overestimation, let’s just say that price wise you will find it way up there to the point where if you’ve ever looked at your budget twice before purchasing anything else related to the chicken coop then chances are you should be looking elsewhere for your fencing.

Foxivo Hardware Cloth Wire metal mesh
Foxivo Hardware Cloth Wire metal mesh

But alas, if you can afford it then we highly recommend going for it because it is the best material you can use for your fence and that’s a fact. On top of that it’s also very versatile, since you can use it both around your chicken coop and on the coop windows as well.

Make sure that you use it to secure the gaps that are left around your coop so that your chicken can’t peck at them and force them to become bigger problems in the future.

The funniest part about that is the fact that in actuality, while we do say that hardware cloth is a major part of the fence itself, it actually has less to do with the fence’s foundation and more so with just securing the gaps in your fence.

Hardware Cloth Fencing on Amazon

But before we can get into that however we should probably get into the more important part of the fence, aka the defense system of it all, starting off with:

Should You Get an Electric Fence?

RentACoop Poultry Netting Electric Fence
RentACoop Poultry Netting Electric Fence

This is an age-old question that most farmers ask themselves at least once when constructing their chicken coop and for good reason too.

The truth is that electric fencing has a very wide array of sizes and shapes, and we won’t even get into the budgets all that much here but just keep that in mind as well since that might very well deter you from buying one model over the other easily.

We personally believe that the very best fencing that you can go for is honestly the electric net fencing, bonus points if it is a portable one that comes with the fence, so that it is a perfect match for it in the first place.

The fact that it comes with the fence also means that it will be a lot easier to install and it can end up saving you a lot of money too on the long run since you won’t have to get the perfect measurements to make sure that there aren’t too many gaps in-between everything.

But just because electric fencing is great against predators you need to remember that it is not full-proof. Sure, it’s better to have an electric fence than to not have one, but keep in mind that it also comes with a fair share of problems too.

Tenax 090786 Poultry Fence
Tenax 090786 Poultry Fence

For example, while it can be extremely good against foxes and coyotes, certain creatures such as the weasels or any other predator that is small enough to slide underneath the fence will be able to get past your fence in no time. On top of that, actually taking care of an electric fence can be quite annoying on the long run since you will need to constantly take all of the weeds out from around the perimeter.

Let’s not forget the fact that you will also need to fiddle with it so that it doesn’t fall over and essentially allow every predator to walk through with ease.

Any power outage can also lead to your chicken being fully exposed to any dangers as well, and it will also take a chunk of your budget as well to have the electricity running day and night endlessly.

We recommend going for a solar-powered system if you want to save on those bills, but if you’re fine with going all out for it we do recommend installing a good quality generator close to the fence to make it a lot harder to mess up and stop working.

Lastly, while there are definitely some options out there that are very pleasing to look at, for the most part, electric fences are not exactly what we would refer to as aesthetic. They’re actually incredibly dull and because of this a lot of people end up not going for them to begin with.

Electric Poultry Netting on Amazon

Should You Get a Chain-Link Fence?

MTB 20GA Galvanized Hexagonal Poultry Netting Chicken Wire
MTB 20GA Galvanized Hexagonal Poultry Netting Chicken Wire

The best part about a chain-link fence is definitely the practicality of it all. If you live in a suburban area, you will need one in order to make sure that no stray dogs or cats will run into your coop and start attacking your chickens.

The reason as to why it’s better against dogs for example is the fact that most electric fences are not enough to actually deter a hungry dog from attacking your chicken. The voltage will not be enough and on top of that they will easily jump over it.

But a chain-link fence will do wonders for you as you’ll be able erect it high enough for most dogs to not be able to jump over.

The only real issue with it is the fact that it tends to be a lot more expensive of an option than most other fences you could go for out there. Now, if you can shill out the extra money, we do recommend it, but if not then definitely look into the next option as that one might be more fitting for you overall.

Chain Link Chicken Wire on Amazon

Should You Get a Wooden Chain Fence?

Wooden Chicken coop Chain Fence
Wooden Chicken coop Chain Fence / somerzby.com.au

Let’s be honest here, when constructing your chicken fence, chances are that you instantly thought about using wood to make it and for good reason too.

First and foremost, it’s actually quite cheap to use wood to build your fence. As opposed to most any other option there is out there this is by far the most affordable one that you can go for.

Second of all, aesthetically speaking this is one of the best options as well since you can be really creative with your fence.

Third of all, this is a great option for you since it is extremely effective against dogs, raccoons or most any other predators out there, as long as you make sure that the wood itself is sturdy enough and as long as you don’t forget to cover any possible holes in it.

The only real problem that comes with wood fencing is most definitely the fact that it will tend to cost you a lot to have it look the most aesthetically pleasing and you might need help when installing it too since wooden fences often times need a lot of work to be properly put down.

You will also need to take the time to clean it regularly and wash it down every now and then since the wooden fence will always be more aesthetically pleasing that all the other options and you’ll want to maintain that.

Should You Get a Safety Fence?

Houseables Plastic Mesh Fence
Houseables Plastic Mesh Fence

Now that we’re done with our personal favorite choice we should get down and dirty and talk about our least favorite option out there as well.

We’re talking about the safety fences, aka the least protective fences around and by far the cheapest ones your money could buy.

The safety fence is that one small and flimsy fence that you’ll often times see around private construction areas. They are not good at keeping anything out unless that person or creature actually gets scared of the neon color that it has and chooses to stay away from it.

Other than that though, the massive holes inside coupled with the flimsy plastic built of it all makes this the least secure way of keeping your chickens safe.

It is a good alternative however if you just want to have something and you don’t have any money to pull out for a proper fence, so if you literally can’t shill out any more money then this might be the better choice for you.

But we still recommend against it since it is nowhere near safe enough to keep anything out, especially if that predator has seen, heard or smelled your chicken already.

Safety Fences on Amazon

Should You Get Aviary Netting for Your Coop?

ZL Aviary Netting
ZL Aviary Netting

While a fence in itself is a great addition to your chicken coop, we cannot forget about the fact that not all predators are going to be affected by a tall fence that surrounds your flightless birds.

In order to make sure that none of these aerial predators can get to your precious chicken you will need to invest into an aviary netting system for sure.

In case you didn’t realize this so far, an aviary netting system is essentially just netting that will keep any aerial predators from swooping in uninvited. In most cases, an aviary netting system is a must, so definitely invest in one if you see a lot of unwanted flying attention around your coop.

Aviary Netting on Amazon

Additional Tips for Chicken Fencing

Tips for Chicken Fencing
Nighthawk Shoots / pexels.com

Now that you know which type of fencing you’re going to go for it’s about time that we talked about everything else that you need to keep in mind when going for the perfect fence for you and your coop.

First and foremost, you need to remember to frame your fencing, so when you go for the fence itself just remember to get high-quality framing materials such as wood to keep it all steady enough for you to do your magic properly.

Second of all, you should consider burying your fence since this will help make it all the more secure on the long run by also keeping away predators that could easily dig underneath your fence to get to your chicken. We recommend going for around 6 inches underground just for good measure.

Last but not least, remember to never be satisfied as far as your fencing goes and always try to improve upon it. For as good as wooden fencing can be, you can always do better so every year or so try to add more to it just to always be sure that no unwanted guests can barge in on your chickens.


Fencing for Chickens
Annie Theby / unsplash.com

When it comes to your chicken fence there are definitely a lot of options to choose from, but just keep in mind that most of these depend heavily on your budget, your preferences and of course, whichever suits your farm the most.

While we personally prefer using wood for our fencing you may very well not have the budget to go for this so you might prefer to go for a safety fence instead. That’s still a great option so you shouldn’t feel bad about it.

Regardless of what you choose, as long as you’re happy with it that’s literally all that matters. Thank you for reading this far and we hope that this was helpful for you.

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About Leah Shelton

Involved in the “green” arena for over 20 years, Leah has worn many hats due to her diverse experience and knowledge in the field. In addition to writing for Agronomag, she’s also a sustainability consultant with a unique perspective on eco-friendly farming practices. Learn more about Agronomag's Editorial Process.

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