Keep your chickens safe: The best fencing strategy!


The first thing and most important thing you have to remember when you have chickens is that:

Everything loves chicken.

Dogs, birds of prey, foxes, skunks, raccoons: if it eats meat it will eat your chickens when given the opportunity. Can you blame them? Chicken is pretty tasty: BBQ chicken, rotisserie chicken, baked chicken, fried chicken.

When building an area for your chickens just keep in mind that old farmers saying: Make your fences horse high and pig tight! This saying is even more important when you have chickens.

A lot of people lately are all about free ranging chickens and there’s nothing wrong with free ranged chickens. However, you need to know your predator load and be able to keep your chickens safe. For example, if you have bears, a portable chicken tractor is not going to hold up to a bear unless you have a strong enough electric fence — maybe. Bears are a very strong animal.


Keeping your chickens safe and healthy is crucial for their well-being. Wild animals as small as a mouse can carry diseases that could contaminate your flock. Diseases like the bird flu, newcastle disease, infectious bronchitis, etc, can be introduced to your flock from exposure to wildlife.

My area went through a quarantine for the highly infection avian flu. Thankfully, my flock did not get exposed.

Your coop and fencing setup is not just a containment measure for your birds but also a biosecurity measure.


So, let’s talk fencing.

Chicken Wire

Chicken wire, also known as poultry netting, offers various strengths and benefits in a wide range of applications. Chicken wire is a lightweight, woven galvanized steel mesh that is easy to handle, carry, and install. It can be easily cut with wire cutters and shaped according to specific needs. Its flexibility allows for quick and hassle-free installation in various settings. Compared to other fencing types chicken wire is often times more affordable. It’s a great choice for a first initial layer for a chicken run. The thin metal wire can over time bend, break, and rust, which doesn’t make it a great long term solution.

Chicken wire is a deterrent. Determined predators such as raccoons, foxes, or larger animals may be able to pull a part the light weight mesh. And smaller critters like small snakes and mice can squeeze through.

Hardware Cloth

While both chicken wire and hardware cloth can be made out of galvanized steel, hardware cloth is typically uses a higher gauge wire and is a bit more durable. Hardware cloth comes with a smaller mesh size helping to deter the smaller critters.

Hardware cloth can be welded. From my experience welded fencing does not last the test of time. The weld just break apart. If you can get woven fencing that is more often the better choice.


It is best to combine both the hardware cloth and the chicken wire. Use the chicken wire as a roof and upper part of the fencing for your run and take it all the way to the ground. Layer the bottom 3-4 ft with hardware cloth. Dig down and out away from your run. Dig down 2 feet and about 3-4 ft around the entire perimeter of your run and line it hardware cloth. Be sure the attach to the bottom of your fencing.

Chicken Tractor

A chicken tractor is a portable coop that allows chickens to graze on fresh grass while also protecting them from predators. Chicken tractors allows your chickens to have access to fresh grass and bugs which are part of their natural diet. This adds to there health and helps to keep your feed costs down.

Chicken tractors, also, allows for portable fertilization of your land. As you move your tractor around, the chickens will fertilize and cultivate the land. Keep in mind chickens are super hard on grass and growing things since they like to scrape at the ground.

Although a chicken tractor offers some protection against predators, it may not be as secure as a fully enclosed coop. Predators like raccoons or foxes can dig under or pry open the tractor, posing a threat to the chickens.

You will need to move the tractor regularly to ensure that chickens have access to fresh grass and avoid overgrazing. This can be time-consuming and may require more effort compared to maintaining a stationary coop.

The best fencing strategy for chicken runs involves a combination of ensuring security, providing ample space, and protecting from potential predators. Additionally, adding a roof or overhead netting helps to prevent aerial attacks. Regularly inspecting and maintaining the fence is crucial to ensure the safety and well-being of the chickens.

Happy Homesteading!


P.S. If you love to hear about all my homesteading adventures then checkout my other posts.

NOTE: This site provides general educational information on various topics on this website as a public service please see the Site Disclaimer for more information: Site Disclaimer. View the Privacy Policy to see what information this site collects. Some posts have affiliate links. If you click one and make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. See the Affiliate Marking for more information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.