Chicken Fencing Basics
Keeping chickens in your backyard is so much fun. While they are cute and make great pets, they have zero ability to protect themselves. Installing the correct type of chicken fencing is ESSENTIAL if you want to keep your chickens alive. Chickens, while normally very hearty animals, are not able to protect themselves from chicken predators that see your hens as their next meal! They are pretty low maintenance animals but they do need a secure place to sleep, lay their eggs and scratch around during the day.
There are a variety of chicken fences that you can use to protect your chickens in their chicken run. The most common type of fencing that you will find is poultry fencing. The biggest advantage of poultry fencing is that the mesh has very small openings so it is difficult for predators to reach through and grab your chickens. One the other hand, it is not as strong as some of the other wiring that is available. I’ve seen poultry fencing that was stretched and /or chewed through by determined chicken predators like raccoons.
Welded Mesh Fencing
Another type of chicken fencing that I love to use is welded mesh fence. I have found this fencing to be much sturdier and it stands up to attacks by predators much better. This type of fencing is strong and I think it looks good. It is also long lasting. But, it will need to be stretched securely and
Chain Link Fencing
I would have never thought to use chain link fencing to keep my chickens safe but it actually works very well. It is too strong for any type of animal to stretch or chew threw and it is long lasting. You can buy it is convenient panels that you just have to secure together so it is easy to use and no stretching is required. You do have to be careful to properly secure the panels together so that there are no large gaps that could allow a small predator to get through. If you have chicks, you will need to install some type of small mesh wiring along the bottom to keep them contained until they get too big to run through the holes. Although, of you use it to fence off a chicken run and it isn’t covered on the top, this type of fencing does little to stop cats or animals that are adept at climbing from entering your yard.
I protect my chicken flock by installing chicken fencing in layers. I use the welded mesh fence on the interior framing of my runs and place a second layer of poultry fencing on the outside framing. This may sound like overkill but I have lost a lot of chickens over the years and I hate going out in the mornings to find chickens maimed, dead or missing. I recommend installing a wire apron along the bottom to make sure that predators can’t dig under the wiring.
Chicken fencing is not complicated to install but be sure that you install the correct type of fence for your chickens because their lives depend on it!